Bliakher L. E.

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  • № 3, 2021

    • Russia, the 1990s: Metamorphoses of the Emerging Polity

      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

  • № 2, 2021

    • Forced Enforcement, or The State in Search of Enforcer

      The article examines a specific situation that is emerging in Russia and is associated with the erosion of the state monopoly of the legitimate use of violence. With the example of a seemingly routine private event that looks like a single failure in the system, the authors show that it represents one of the most significant practices of power holders, the essence of which they define as “forced enforcement” and analyze its origins and possible implications.

      In a gigantic country, the regions of which vary significantly in the level of their socio-economic development, enforcement of rules is associated with costs that exceed the amount of the resulting benefits. Therefore, the state limits its function as an enforcer to the control only over the key industries and does not encroach on the rest. However, under the contemporary conditions this tactic stops working. Since key industries are no longer able to meet the needs of the enlarged state, it begins to extend its control to the new social and economic spheres. The dramatic expansion of the area of application of the enforcement tools and complicated procedures associated with the need to control these tools themselves make them more and more costly. Thus, the task is to make them less costly, while maintaining, or even increasing, the volume of work. The very fact of intentionally setting such an insurmountable task makes the corresponding organs look for non-trivial solutions that are outside the state-imposed rules. Created as “enforcement machines”, they acquire their own mind and interests, and thus their own subjectivity. They no longer enforce the rules, but begin to form them, trying to shift the fulfillment of their functions to citizens and thereby pushing them to search for new enforcers that are not at all connected with the state.

      DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2021-101-2-47-67

      Pages: 47-67