¹ 4, 2017
The article is devoted to the analysis of two contradictory tendencies in the Duma of the last convocation documented by the author. The first is about change in the composition of the deputy corps, due to the addition of the majoritarian component as well as a number of other reasons — ranging from hopes for a low turnout to new prohibitions and restrictions in the legislation. The second tendency is related to change in the work style of the Lower House of the Federal Assembly. In addition to reducing its scandalousness and getting rid of a “crazy printer” reputation, the Duma’s as well as individual parliamentary factions’ leadership attempts to streamline and fully centralize the legislative process. While the first trend implies an increase in the deputies’ political independence, the second trend assumes an even greater reduction in their influence on the decisions made by the Duma. After considering possible consequences of the deve- lopment of these tendencies, A.Kynev concludes that if the Kremlin en- counters new difficulties and the Russian authoritarian model starts eroding, the “sleeping potential” of the current Duma may wake up and then it will startle us.
¹ 3, 2017
A.Kynev analyzes the results of Duma elections in 1993—2016 to show that the Russian model of mandates’ distribution within party lists leads to a significant distortion of regional representation in favor of the regions with the least competitive elections. Such model also stipulates the replacement of party competition with competition between regions and transforms elections into the battle of administrative resources, which encourages local governments to engage in election fraud. This results in even lower level of party competition as well as diminishes parties’ influence in general. According to Kynev, only radical reform of electoral model can fix the status quo. Electoral system should guarantee that territories obtain an adequate representation in parliament in proportion to the number of voters in these territories.
¹ 2, 2015
On the basis of the analysis of a wide range of research questions related to the internal structure of the Russian parties and their electoral activity, A.Kynev comes to the conclusion that, of the accepted in modern democracies mechanisms aimed at the development of inner-party democracy, Russia, in fact, makes use only of a variation in primaries. According to his conclusion, the country finds itself in a paradoxical situation: parties formally exist, but even in case of successful elections, under the conditions of the complete domination of the executive branch their impact on the decision-making process is extremely weak. This also results in the initial inability of parties to fulfill their pre-election programs, voters’ frustration with all parties, and little interest in the inner life of parties from both ordinary citizens and elites. In general, by their internal structure Russian parties resemble other Russian political institutions that are characterized by exaggerated authority of the executive bodies and weakness of control mechanisms as such.
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