Abstracts 3, 2008

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Russian Polity

Leonid Bliakher


The article makes an attempt to reveal hidden mechanisms that form the basis of the “nostalgic” mood overwhelming the majority of spheres and aspects of social life in modern Russia. In order to find out why the country that effectuated such a mighty heave towards the West in the 1990s turned back to the “sweet embrace” of the past and rejected era, L.Blyakher analyzes the specificity of Russian political space. He searches for the roots of such specificity in the principle of organization and substantial characteristics of the Russian Center. According to his findings, what played a decisive role in the country’s history was the fact that in Russia, unlike Europe, secular and spiritual spheres were merged in the face of the Ruler who, being endued with the supreme secular power and at the same time having sacred religious status, was the main mediator between proximal reality and the sphere of the transcendental. The study of the Russian political space itself is preceded by a brief analysis of the processes that determined structural features of the political space of Europe and the states at the world’s periphery.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-7-29

Alexander Galkin


Believing that innovative development is a “categorical imperative” for states oriented at the maintenance and strengthening of their positions in the world community, A.Galkin makes a detailed analysis of the obstacles that prevent Russia from joining this path: from the deficit of highly qualified labour force and lamentable state of Russian science to the specificity of Russian elite’s consciousness and particular features of mass perception. The article proves convincingly that the country’s transition to innovative development requires such placement of strategic priorities that would differ from the one that follows from relevant official statements. In order for the innovative development to become a reality, a minefield of problems should be cleared, and there should be established the necessary social and political institutes capable of securing the success of undertaken efforts.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-30-44

Political Theories

Georgy Satarov


Exploitation of chaos in social order is natural and inevitable due to the all-pervading role of fortuity inherent in the nature of things. This role is so fundamental that chaos constitutes the basis of sociality in the same way as the order. But although chaos penetrates human existence at all its levels, the humanity maintains it and reproduces unconsciously, camouflaging and covering such activity. Striving to explain this peculiarity of social existence, G.Satarov studies the phenomenon of fear of the scientific thought before the chaos, analyzes the role of chaos in the physical world and social life, and, taking as examples the institutes of fortunetelling, game and elections, reveals the mechanisms (“legends of cover”) allowing to camouflage the genuine mission of institutes that generate chaos.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-45-66

Mikhail Ilyin


The article makes an attempt to look at the state from some unobvious perspectives and offer an interpretation of key aspects of its nature, that is statehood. The analysis of conceptual structures of the notions “state” and “statehood” allows the author to reveal several “natures”, or substances of the phenomenon of world politics that is generally called a state. Having shown that these substances are logically connected in the form of Aristotle’s entelechy M.Ilyin establishes the “formula of statehood”. The author considers this “formula” as purely preliminary and requiring critical analysis and empirical testing.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-67-78


Leonid Fishman


The article is devoted to the criticism of today’s popular alarmist moods with respect to the future of Russian political science. Arguing with the authors that draw a strict connection between the appearance and development of political science with the evolution of democracy, L.Fishman proves that political science appears not as a result of the establishment of democratic institutes, but following the entrance of masses into the arena of public politics. He believes that in modern conditions the “decline of democracy” does not mean the “sunset” of political science, because there remain power relations the study of which can inspire political scientists, and the multiplicity of paradigms that political science borrows from other disciplines always leaves a possibility to withdraw into those fields of study that do not pose a direct threat to the regime but at the same time serve as potential suppliers of concepts and methods for political science itself.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-79-88

Boris Stepanov


On the basis of an approach combining elements of political, literature and sociological studies B.Stepanov analyzes A.Prokhanov’s novel “Mister Hexogen” as a form of ideological search, and tries to find out how the novel identifies value lacunas and what it offers to fill them in. Seeing Prokhanov’s novel as a sort of a symptom reflecting such features of public consciousness of the 2000s as sacralization of power, simulative nature of politics and its mediatization, vagueness and indistinctness of political oppositions and the strive for constructing a holistic ideology that turns into an eclectic combination of prepared ideologies of various origin, the author not only analyzes the literature construct constituted by a symbolic work of Prokhanov as chief editor of the “Zavtra” newspaper, but also considers the assessment this construct gets from representatives of various interpretative communities.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-89-104

Democracy and Democratization

Boris Makarenko


The article undertakes a comparative analysis of the successes that post-communist states achieved in the field of state construction, societies’ modernization and democratization. The comparison is based on two groups of criteria: (1) political and institutional parameters (presence or absence of violations or threats to nation’s integrity, precedents of power change through democratic elections and the nature of institutional order established in the process of post-communist development, including the configuration of checks and balances system, as well as party and electoral systems); (2) competent international ratings (Freedom House’s annual ratings “Freedom in the World”; democracy index of the “Economist” journal; index of democracy’s institutional grounds developed by a group of researchers from the MGIMO University; Transformation index of the Bertelsmann Foundation, etc.).

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-105-124

Cis Terra Incognita: political processes in former Soviet Republics

Kirill Koktysh


The article presents a comparative study of ontological bases of Russian and Belarusian regimes. Having made a detailed analysis of values and world views of Russian and Belarusian power elites, K.Koktysh comes to a conclusion that with all its asymmetry (monetary context as the world view basis in Russia and public and political one in Belarus) they are quite symmetrical at the level of macro-constructs. In both cases we see a certain symbiosis of mutually controversial logics of decision-making and decision-legitimation, but the logic of legitimization of a decision rejects in essence the logic of making such a decision, and therefore its use will inevitably lead to an erosion of the very system of decision-making. According to the author, such situation manifests that both countries equally have not finished the “transition”, they are passing the inter-project stage, and the range of failure options of the “transition” as such has enlarged due to the fact that a number of more favorable scenarios have been missed.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-125-137

Igor Zadorin


Based on the analysis of data received from public opinion polls conducted by the “Eurasian monitor” in 2005–2007, I.Zadorin comes to a conclusion that new integration perception points of the former USSR population are just being developed. The article proves convincingly that the choice of one or another vector of integration (or autonomous development without joining alliances and unions) is to a great extent influenced by the current economic situation in a state (its deterioration results in a much greater disposition for integration), as well as economic successes and/or failures of major centers of gravitation – Russia and the European Union. According to the author, the process of sovereignization at the post-soviet space has not yet exhausted itself, and juxtaposing it with the process of integration means that the latter will be threatened with discredit and deception. New integration that is not based on a common past should be thoroughly prepared and argued for, because its expediency is no longer evident to the population and requires explanations and proves.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-138-153


Fuad Aleskerov, Andrey Kravchenko


The article presents the experience of using mathematical methods in analyzing the influence of separate fractions in State Dumas of the Russian empire. The article is divided into three sections. The first one contains brief information on the composition and activities of the Dumas before the revolution; the second studies the distribution of influence in four State Dumas; the third presents an analysis of the 3rd Duma’s activities, which includes the assessment of a coordination of positions between separate fractions, the assessment of fractions’ influence considering and not considering the parliament’s coalition structure, as well as the construction of a so called political map that shows positions of each separate deputy and a fraction as a whole. The results obtained by the authors very well correlate with the historic realities and at the same time allow to define more precisely the established perceptions of the distribution of powers in the first Russian parliament.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-154-173

Book Review

Yury Korgunyuk

THE SECRETS OF PARTIES PROSPERITY (When Parties Prosper: the Uses of Electoral Success / Ed. by K. Lawson and P.Merkl. Boulder, L.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2007)

The monograph reviewed by Yu.Korgunyuk distinctly stands out among multiple publications on political parties’ problems. The preparation of the monograph that focused both on parties and on their interaction involved researchers from about fifteen states. Yu.Korgunyuk sequentially analyzes specific chapters of the monograph and makes a number of judgments on the prospects of party-political system in general. In his opinion, to speak about the end of parties is a serious exaggeration. Parties are still key players at the political arena and will remain such in the foreseeable future.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-174-184

Ivan Timofeev

MODELS AND CONCEPTS OF SOVEREIGNTY: COMPETITION IN SPACE AND TIME (Sovereignty. Transformation of Notions and Practices / Ed. by M.V.Ilyin and I.V.Kudryashova. M.: Publishing House of MGIMO(U) MID of Russia, 2008)

I.Timofeev believes that the main merit of the collective monograph under review is the unity of axiomatic basis and methodological coordinates. All articles included in the book are based in one or another way on the assumption of multi-variance of sovereignty, the existence of different types of sovereign statehood that cannot be examined by means of a single analytical model. The comparison of sovereignties here is not of a global character, but of a matrix, network nature, where each cell covers a specific cluster of typologically similar sovereigns. Another essential aspect, according to I.Timofeev, is the authors’ methodological flexibility, their ability to go beyond the analytical models used, and reflect not only on the reality, but also on the models of its perception.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-50-3-185-194