№ 1, 2023
The Soviet Past Theme in the Electoral Campaigns in Post-Soviet Russia
The article is devoted to the analysis of the place of the Soviet past in the inter-party discussion and the influence of this theme on the choice of the Russian electorate in the electoral campaigns of 1993—2021. According to the author’s conclusion, despite the moderate number of issues related to this topic, and their rather modest share in the general agenda of the campaigns, they formed confrontations that strongly correlated with the divisions within the major political dimensions and issue domain divisions and resonated in the mass political consciousness.
The 1993—2011 campaigns were about one confrontation — “communists vs. anti-communists (liberals)”. In 2016—2021 this confrontation was supplemented by a cleavage along the “conservatives — liberals” line, which manifested in the special position of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, that adjoined the liberals on some aspects of the Soviet past theme, and communists — on other aspects. In 1993 and 1995 the confrontation between communists and anti-communists (liberals) on the issues of the Soviet past successfully competed with political dimensions and issue domain divisions for the role of the “political face” of the first, or the main, electoral cleavage. In 1999, this confrontation moved from the first electoral cleavage to the second, within which it continued to successfully contend with the cleavage between Soviet traditionalists and modernists in the systemic issue domain. In 2003, it also withstood competition with the divisions between adherents of market and supporters of planned economy in the socio-economic issue domain and Soviet traditionalists and modernists in the systemic one, but in 2007— 2016 it lost such ability, although it retained a background presence in the political space.
In 2021, the theme of the Soviet past experienced some sort of renaissance, with not only communists and liberals, but also other political forces, including the “party of power”, starting to actively appeal to this topic. The influence of the confrontations around the theme of the Soviet past on electoral divisions also increased, however, only when regions with a voter turnout of more than 60% were excluded from the analysis. In this case, the confrontation between communists and liberals on the subject of the Soviet past determined “the face” of the second electoral cleavage, and the special position of the Liberal Democratic Party — of the third one.
№ 3, 2022
The Soviet Past Theme in the 2021 Duma Campaign
The article is devoted to the theme of the Soviet past in the 2021 Duma elections. The author shows that, in comparison with 2016, the relevance of this topic has not decreased, but has in fact increased. While in the previous Duma elections the confrontations on the issues of the Soviet past dissolved into broader cleavages, this time they manifested themselves very clearly.
The author documents the change in the structure of the confrontations on the issues of the Soviet past. If a year earlier such confrontations ran along the lines of “Communists vs. Anti-Communists” and “Liberals vs. Statists”, in 2021 they rather went along the lines of “Defenders of the Soviet period vs. its Critics” and “Reds vs. Whites”, with communists surpassing liberals and assuming the leading role in such confrontations. The author explains this shift by the growing importance of the topic of the Soviet past in the interparty discussion, because it is the communists who are its main promoters and beneficiaries.
The article reveals that the confrontation “Defenders of the Soviet period vs. its Critics” quite convincingly explains the second electoral cleavage. In one of the models, it even displaces the general confrontation between liberals and conservatives in the worldview issues.
The use of an alternative methodology based on a double factor analysis allowed the author to detect the opposition “Communists vs. Liberals”, as well as an additional one associated with the special position of the Liberal Democratic Party on the issues of the Soviet past. These confrontations colored a number of electoral cleavages, including some of those that otherwise would be impossible to interpret politically.
The author interprets an increase in the importance of the Soviet past in the mass consciousness as the evidence that the process of “Left vs. Right” confrontation shifting from the socio-economic area to the socio-cultural one, which is typical for the European and North American democracies, has partially affected Russia.
№ 3, 2020
Recommendations of the Organization of American States Observation Missions and Development of Electoral Standards
Although by the beginning of the twenty-FIRST century, the institution of elections has become an integral part of the political system of almost all countries of the world, it does not always guarantee true control of society over the formation and operation of power, often being a decoration designed to legitimize an autocratic regime. In order to fill this institution with real content, standards are required to distinguish real elections from simulated ones. And here the question naturally arises: what influences the formation of such standards to a greater extent — a priori attitudes or practice?
In search of an answer to this question, the author refers to the experience of the Organization of American States (OAS). The subject of his research is the relationship between the recommendations of the OAS observation missions and its guidelines on various aspects of the electoral process. His analysis shows that the recommendations of the observation missions significantly influenced the structure and content of the guidelines on the methodology of election observation, media, and campaign finance, as well as the international electoral standard TS 17582. On the contrary, the guidelines for integrating a gender perspective into OAS observation missions and for the participation of indigenous and African-American people in elections mostly formulate General guidelines that should be used as a basis for making recommendations. In many ways, this also applies to the guidelines on the use of digital technologies in the electoral process. Rather, it dictates the guidelines and guidelines for electoral law, but it has little influence on the recommendations in the field of electoral justice, as well as the organization of political and legal systems, which are mostly empirical in nature and have little correlation with the topics of the guide.
According to the author, the experience of Latin American countries clearly demonstrates that a positive answer to the fundamental question of whether society should control power does not mark the end, but only the beginning of a long process of working out procedures and standards that guarantee the democratic nature of elections. And in the course of this process, there is a great risk of turning on the wrong path, leading to a dead-end or turning into trampling on the spot.
Korgunyuk Yu. G.
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