Abstracts 3, 2021

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Political theories

I. D. Loshkariov

Protean Power Concept in International Relations: Origins and Prospects

Keywords: Protean power, constructivism, uncertainty, international relations

In contrast to the representatives of other directions in International Relations Science, constructivists have long distanced themselves from the notion of power, but in the 2000s and 2010s, due to the increasing interest in conceptualizing this phenomenon, the first attempts of the constructivist interpretation of the concept of power started to emerge. Such interpretations received their fullest expression in the concept of Protean power, developed by a group of researchers under the informal leadership of Peter Katzenstein.

The article analyzes the main features of the Protean power, as well as the emerging practices. The author shows that this type of power is less associated with specific actors and their intentions than other types of power, since it is aimed at overcoming uncertainty under the conditions when it is impossible to calculate risks. This formulation of the question allows one to reconsider the role of the creativity principle in international interactions and provide it with a higher ontological status.

According to the author’s conclusion, the concept of Protean power continues the line of revising the ontological foundations of the studies of world politics, which has emerged within constructivism in the last decade. Similarly to some other constructivist concepts, this concept implies a holistic interpretation of the phenomenon of power in international relations and reflects the desire to move away from the classical (Newtonian) worldview. Although today it provides many reasons for criticism and, perhaps, needs further elaboration and reinterpretation, its contribution to the scientific discussion of the ontology of power in international interactions is beyond doubt. Protean power is paving the way that allows bypassing the neo-positivist consensus that has so far set the tone in the International Relations Science.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2021-102-3-6-21

Pages: 6-21

M. V.Kharkevich

In Search of Refutation of Rodriks Impossibility Theorem

Keywords: globalization, democracy, state sovereignty, communicative rationality, instrumental rationality, cosmopolitanism, world politics

The article is devoted to the analysis of the so called impossibility theorem, according to which democracy, state sovereignty and globalization are mutually exclusive and cannot function to the full extent when present simultaneously. This theorem, elaborated in 2011 by Dani Rodrik, a famous economist from Harvard University, poses a fundamental problem about the prospects of the global scalability of political institutions of the nation-state. Is it in principle possible to globalize executive, legislative and judicial branches of power, civil society, and democracy, or is it necessary to limit globalization in order to preserve democracy and nation-state? Rodrik’s conclusions, in essence, make one give up hopes to create global democratic order against the background of global capitalism.

On the basis of the Stanford School of Sociological Institutionalism and the reconstruction of the historical materialism by Jürgen Habermas, the author refutes Rodrik’s theorem. The author’s analysis shows that not only is it possible to build democratic order at the global level, but also that it already exists in the form of the world culture that includes such norms as electoral democracy, nation-state, civil society and other institutions of Modernity. The world culture reproduces fundamental social values, playing the role of social integration for the humanity, while global capitalism provides for its material reproduction, playing the role of system integration. However, since globalization is a more dynamic process than the development of the world culture, between material and ideational universalism arises a gap, which in its turn is fraught with various kinds of political and economic crises.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2021-102-3-22-39

Pages: 22-39


S. I.Kaspe

The Nineties: Establishment of Polity

Keywords: Russian polity, nineties, legitimacy, presidency, federalism, freedom of association, freedom of religion, open borders

In the 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR, was established the Russian polity, which continues to exist to this day. In this paper polity is understood as a macro-social community, united by a certain political order i.e., by a stable set of institutions and actors, as well as normative standards for organizing their interactions, both formal and informal. Establishment is understood as a series of events that establish these most fundamental frameworks for political action, as well as a repertoire of its scenarios, behavioral stereotypes, strategies, and tactics.

The negative myth about the nineties, which has dominated the Russian public discourse in the recent years, describes the 1990s as a time of catastrophe and degradation. It certainly has its reasons, but this myth almost completely ignores the fact that the same decade was also a time of creation. Thus, the current state of Russia cannot be understood without paying attention to the circumstances of its establishment.

The article describes some of the key features of the modern Russian polity that emerged in the 1990s — the “main takeaway” of the constituent era. They are the following: the electoral legitimacy of the supreme political power; non-partisan presidency; capitalism as the economic foundation of the political order; federalism as a principle of territorial organization of political space; freedom of association; freedom of religion; open borders. This list is not exhaustive: there are other elements of the design of the Russian polity that can claim the status of constitutive ones. However, a radical change in all these institutions together or in any one of them individually would mean another re-establishment of the political community as a whole.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2021-102-3-40-71

Pages: 40-71

L. E. Bliakher

Russia, the 1990s: Metamorphoses of the Emerging Polity

Keywords: polity, constituent era, transcendental foundations, chaos, communication-quest, Russian power, 1990s

The article attempts to examine the era of the 1990s through the prism of communication in the system “center — regions”. The author interprets the epoch itself as a special, chaotic state of affairs. The political structures and instruments inherited by the new Russia from the Soviet times did not disappear, but lost their foundation (which corresponded to the model of Russian power described by Yuri Pivovarov), transformed into the mode of an autonomous drift along unauthorized trajectories. The new foundation (“the path of civilized countries”) came into conflict with the structures and instruments themselves. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that the rejection of that foundation deprived the political center of its legitimacy, since it was perceived and legitimized as a driver of the transition from socialism into the world of “civilized countries”. The article shows that it was the space of dialogue (bargaining) between the center and the regions that combined the principles of the Russian power and a new legitimizing foundation stemming from the “civilized countries”

The author identifies three stages of such a dialogue. During the first stage, there was no adaptation, and the dialogue ended with a violent confrontation. As a result, two parallel realities emerged — the reality of legal norms and declarations and the reality of survival. The second stage, labeled by the author as “taming Europe”, witnessed democratic procedures uniting with the practices of the Russian power and recreation of the distributive economy at the regional level. At the same time, the dual legitimacy of the regional rulers — from the regional community and from the federal center — bound the country’s territory much stronger than enforcement agencies or future “spiritual staples”. The last stage, which is usually considered to take place after the 1990s, is associated with the transfer of practices that have developed in the regions to the center. However, according to the author’s conclusion, this is not the end of the constituent era and the formation of the polity, but a continuation of the quest.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2021-102-3-72-98

Pages: 72-98

Religion and Politics

A. V.Makarkin

Orthodoxy and Liberalism in Russian Politics

Keywords: Christian liberalism, Orthodoxy in Russia, Christian democracy, Christian politics

Russia, in contrast to other modern Orthodox European count ries, has never experienced struggle for church autocephaly and the formation of political pluralism simultaneously, which naturally brought the church and liberals closer together. The distinguishing feature of the Russian liberalism is its late, or “catch up”, development. In the 19th century, libera lism no longer needed a religious approval; the appeal to the Holy Scriptures looked archaic. Another Russian distinguishing feature — divergence of secu lar and spiritual traditions — is also very important. After the emergence of the dualistic monarchy in Russia (1906—1917), religious topics were no lon ger a taboo, but Christian liberalism as an influential trend failed to develop. The attempts of combining liberal and Christian ideas in the pre-revolutiona ry Russian politics faced a number of problems. The results in practice were modest either due to the lack of the electoral demand, or due to the blocking of specific initiatives at the state and church levels. The promotion of liberal va lues contradicted Ortho dox tenets, and the target electoral group — the lower clergy — heavily depended on the episcopate. In the post-Soviet Russia, in contrast to the count ries in Central Europe, Christian politics, including its liberal version, did not revive. At the end of the day, all such projects have remained marginal. The episcopate focuses on cooperation with the authorities, and there is little support for liberal ideas among the faithful. The future might see a gradual strengthening of liberal tendencies within the church, but at the same time, the Russian version of Christian democracy remains extreme ly unlikely.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2021-102-3-99-124

Pages: 99-124

H. R.Jabbarinasir

Factors of Transformation of Political Islam in World Politics: Origins of Violence and Terrorism

Keywords: political Islam, extremism, terrorism, violence, world politics

The article studies factors of transformation of political Islam and reasons for its “tightening” in the modern context. On the basis of the ideas of social constructivism, the author traces the main milestones in the evolution of political Islam and the formation of its radical branches that orient towards violence and terrorism. The article examines nine mega-events that ultimately determined the specifics of the modern union of Islam and poli tics — the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Islamic revolution in Iran, the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the September 11 attacks (2001), the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the “Arab Spring”, and the establishment of political Islam with a “Turkish face”. The author demonstrates that after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Islam began to gradually transform from the social phenomenon into the world-political factor. Initially, this tendency was observed in the intellectual and ideological spheres, but then penetrated practical politics.

The article identifies four models of modern political Islam — Shiite, Salafi-jihadist, Takfirist-jihadist and moderate political Islam. According to the author’s conclusion, the attitude towards violence within these models is largely determined by the peculiarities of the formation, geographic ambitions and goals of the respective branches. The Shiite branch of political Islam that has established in Iran justifies violence for solving defensive tasks and appeals mainly to the categories of justice and protection of the oppressed. Salafijihadist and Takfirist groups, in essence, see violence as a key instrument for implementing the commandments of Allah and rebuilding the world on the principles of Sharia. The moderate political Islam (as shown by analyzing the case of Turkey) completely rejects violence, and religion remains largely a social phenomenon, although it is used for political purposes, in particular, to attract the electorate. On the basis of his analysis, the author comes to the conclusion that the idea of violence as an inherent element of political Islam is erroneous, but at the same time he points out risks of the increasing significance of this factor.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2021-102-3-125-146

Pages: 125-146


Yu. G.Korgunyuk

Political Dimensions and Issue Divisions: Method for Determining Interaction

Keywords: cleavage theory, political parties, issue dimensions, mass consciousness, regional assemblies’ elections, post-Soviet Russia

The article presents and justifies a method for determining the content of political dimensions. Political dimensions are calculated via factor analysis of party positions on popular political issues that are on the agenda. In addition, the author proposes to conduct a factor analysis of parties’ positions on specific issue domains — domestic politics, socio-economic policy, and systemic area. Factor loadings of the parties’ specific issue divisions are used as independent variables for building a regression model, whereas factor loadings of the same parties’ general issue divisions are used as a dependent variable. Such models allow the author to calculate the specific weight of this and the other specific issue division within each of the political dimensions and thus determine the content of the latter.

The application of the method to the analysis of the national discussion demonstrated that, in the late autumn of 2020, the first issue dimension was characterized by the confrontation between “hawks” and “doves” in the international affairs (systemic issue domain) and, additionally, the authorities vs. opposition competition in the socio-economic sphere; the second dimension — by the authorities vs. opposition competition in the domestic politics, coupled with the confrontation between “hawks” and “doves” in the foreign policy and the struggle between communists and liberals in the socio-economic sphere; the third one — by the confrontation between liberals and loyalists in the domestic politics and between authorities and Soviet traditionalists in the systemic sphere.

The application of the method to analyzing the results of the regional assemblies’ elections (2016—2020) allowed the author to conclude that the increase in the number of participating parties not only broadened dimensionality of the political space, but also increased the variety of issue divisions. The author also documented the change in the structure of the dominant specific issue divisions within the political dimensions, as well as the erosion of the political picture and the authorities vs. opposition confrontation coming to the forefront almost in every sphere.

The analysis shows that, on average, voters perceived political dimensions as independent political cleavages in only a third of the cases. The complex composition of these dimensions indicates an increase in the polyvariance of the mass political consciousness; however, this tendency is compensated by the prevalence of easier-to-perceive forms — the confrontation between the authorities and opposition in the political and socio-economic spheres.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2021-102-3-147-171

Pages: 147-171

A. S.Akhremenko, A. P.Ch.Petrov, D. K.Stukal, S. A.Zheglov, M. V.Khavronenko

What Bots Can (and Cant) Do? (Model of Protest and Counter-Protest Political Mobilization)

Keywords: bots, automated accounts, social media, political protest, political mobilization, agent-based modeling, spiral of silence

Despite the increasing interest among scholars in the effect of Internet bots, or automated social media accounts, on the processes of political communication and mobilization in the online sphere, the extent of bots’ effectiveness and the specific mechanisms of their use remain largely understudied. The deficit of the overarching conceptual understanding and concrete results is arguably due to researchers’ aspiration to solve a problem in the empirical way, without attempting to combine data analysis with mathematical and computational modeling.

Having analyzed the existing models on the topic, the authors offer their own model that is based on the spiral-of-silence theory. The key features of the model that set it apart from the existing ones are the following: a) taking into account differences in the types of motivation and costs associated with expressing protest and loyalist sentiments; b) including “partner effect” into the spiral-ofsilence mechanism; c) employing a neurological decision-ma king scheme according to which the same stimulus can prompt action and be a deterrent.

On the basis of a series of computational experiments with the model, the authors demonstrate that bots are more effective in mobilizing opposition members when an individual motivated for political participation refrains from it because his local social community does not share his views. In this case, the emergence of a like-minded partner bot can destroy the spiral of silence created by this community and encourage this individual to openly express his position. On the contrary, when mobilizing loyalists, bots are most effective in relation to poorly motivated individuals.

The model elaborated by the authors not only allows us to evaluate bots’ effects in a new way, but it also sheds light on how people make decisions in the framework of political communication and mobilization in social networks.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2021-102-3-172-194

Pages: 172-194