According to the author the public sphere of modern Russian society is still in the initial stage. It is not consolidated at the national level and divided into loosely connected links. It is deformed by the state bureaucracy interests, and its own influence on the state politics is rather limited.
Nevertheless, the public sphere exists and functions, although due to the rise of authoritarian tendencies its prospects are not so bright. That is why it is important for the public policy to be able to defend itself through appropriate institutional instruments.
The author analyzes the Russian environmental community (academic and civil) where during the period of its existence serious value divide has occurred. O. Yanitskiy gives his own classification of the Russian green movement. He designates three value-oriented groups – conservationists, alternativists, traditionalists, civil initiatives, ecopoliticians, ecopatriots and ecotechnocrats.
The article addresses shifts in the value systems of these groups in the context of changes in the Russian society after 1992. Significant attention is paid to the factors conditioning the dynamics of these values and the change in the attitude of each of these groups to the state, market economy, science and local population.
The author states that in the post-soviet territory the vertical factor of integration processes and tendencies changed for the horizontal one. This objectively fits into the dominating tendencies of strengthening of horizontal links under postindustrial society and globalization. However, this by no means fits into the process of power vertical strengthening in Russia.
The author thinks that the law on changing the election of governors into their appointment is hasty and shortsighted. K. Truevtsev predicts the growth of federalist tendencies in the CIS countries, which will inevitably result in the involvement of neighboring states into the Russian orbit. However, in any case this can be only federal Russia and not unitary.
According to the authors, Russia again found itself trapped by the territorial approach both to foreign and domestic policy. And under the conditions of global information, financial and human flows the direct territorial control does not any more work.
In particular, K. Truevtsev writes about possible ways to political legal integration between Russia and such countries as Ukraine and Kazakhstan. One of the ways could be the formation of national parties in these countries. These are the parties, which act as the core of the integration in the European Union.
The article gives the four hypothetical scenarios of the development of events in the post-soviet territory.
The author reviews the development of the institutes of local self-government in Russia since the time of Catherine II. This was the time when the attempt of involving elected officials to local self-government had been successfully realized and brought long term results. Analyzing further steps in this direction the author pays special attention to the time of great reforms of the second half of the XIX-th century (introduction of local councils, municipal reform, etc.)
D. Tikhonov draws attention to the interchange of the periods of political modernization and counter-reforms. In his opinion, informal autonomy existed even in Stalin period, although the principle of democratic centralism is little compatible with the formal autonomy of local self-governments.
The author thinks that the intermunicipal cooperation is an important indicator of the level of the development of the institute of local self-government and of its independence and full value. The motivation to such cooperation is naturally reduced to zero if a local self-government entity is politically and financially dependent on the federal center.
In her article Nina Mironova studies the institutional environment for the intermunicipal cooperation in Russia. Typology and characteristics of municipal associations are given.
Foreign political prospects
The author thinks that the first years after the disintegration of the Soviet Union relations between European Union and Russia developed under the sign of mutual great expectations. They did not always come true, which eventually lead to disappointment and the clash of interests including those related to the quick geopolitical transformation of Europe.
H. Timmerman analyzes the development of relationships between Russia and EU in different areas offering his recommendations in each of them. In his opinion pragmatism and new realism should become the basis of EU-Russian relationships. Such approach will help avoiding exaggerated requirements and fill the gap between the rhetoric and the reality.
The third article out of the series of article on the most important problems of political philosophy addresses its methodological issues. The author distinguishes the three elements, which are of fundamental character, in her opinion, and explain a lot about the difference between liberal, socialist and conservative approaches to political concepts. These are rationalism and antirationalism, the theory of human nature, individualism and collectivism.
The author tries to understand why the image of Grand Duchess Elizabeth is so popular in Russia at the beginning of the XXI-st century. I. Glebova studies what senses and feelings of Russian people it appeals to, what place it is called to hold in their picture of the world. It is noted that the instrumentalization of Saint Elizabeth’s image can be explained by the fact that it fulfills two functions – an uniting function and an identification function. The Grand Duchess is perfect for the symbol of reconciliation and unity. Being the incarnation of the Russian national ideal she is close to the representatives of different walks of the society. I. Glebova pays special attention to the factors, which make the image of Elizabeth appealing and convenient from the point of view of modern Russian power.
The critic thinks that in the light of another reform of the political system publishing of this book is very timely. The monograph prepared at Moscow University successfully combines theoretical and empiric components. The authors focus their attention on the influence of social cultural context on the perception of power in Russia. It is very well analyzed how specific post-soviet politicians and CIS and western political leaders are perceived by the Russian society.
Power elite in the mirror of political elitology. (Power elite of modern Russia in the process of political transformation. / Executive editors: V.G. Ignatov, O.V. Gaman-Golutvina, A.V. Ponedelkov, A.M. Starostin. Rostov-on-Don, Publishing House of North Caucasus Academy of Civil Service, 2004, p. 520. ; The most influential people – 2003. Political and economical elites of russian regions. / Executive editor O.V. Gaman-Golutvina. M., The Institution of Situational Analysis and New Technologies, 2004, 689 p.)
According to the critic during lately elitology has significantly advanced into one of the most dynamically developing fields of Russian political science, another evidence of which is the two monographs under review. The monographs represent most researchers of different scientific schools actively working in elitology. The authors try to make a comprehensive analysis of Russian elite dynamics in different Russian regions and the country at large. The research is focused on the mechanisms and channels of recruiting of political and economic elite, their structure, leadership style and much more.
“Politeia” traditional section gives the chronicle of the main events in Russian political party life in autumn 2004. As usual, the chronicle is supplemented by the analysis of the alignment of political forces in this period. The author considers that the reform of power initiated by President V. Putin signifies a quality shift in the development of the Russian political system and will be of much impact on the party political system.