¹ 3, 2019
The dramatic change in the political climate in the United States after the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential elections sparked a heated debate in the intellectual circles about the nature, historical foundations and the future of the American democracy. The discussion centers on the topic of a “suicide of democracy”, with the collapse of the Weimar Republic in Germany being its classic example, and the prospects for the Weimar scenario in the United States.
From the Political Science viewpoint, the content of this discussion is of interest in at least three respects. First, it captures the truly significant changes in the American political system, indicating qualitative, if not irreversible, shifts. Second, it poses a methodological problem of measuring the degree of deformation of the democratic institutions. Third, it allows one to look at the United States in a comparative perspective, drawing on the experience of other countries.
The article analyzes why the image of Weimar America is relevant for the political agenda of the United States, considers various interpretations of the meaning of the current changes, contours and basic parameters of the erosion of democracy and the system of separation of powers, polar assessments of the phenomenon of trumpism, as well as the ideas about the possibility of overcoming the political contradictions faced by one of the oldest democracies in the world. In the conclusion, the author examines the question of the Weimar paradigm of the collapse of democracies and demonstrates the extent to which the above discussed problems are specific to the United States, and to which extent they reflect global trends and can be integrated into the general theory of stability of democratic regimes.
¹ 3, 2018
The article analyzes the contribution of populism, as a phe- nomenon of public sentiments, to the dynamics of the recent constitutional transformations in Eastern Europe, post-Soviet space and Russia. The research shows that in all countries from the above mentioned regions populism gave impetus to the processes of constitutional retraditionalization, which affected different areas such as international and national law, constitutional identity, sovereignty, forms of government, and constitutional justice.
Everywhere the mechanisms of constitutional retraditionalization invoked by populism are associated with the denial of the principles of ideological pluralism and political neutrality of constitutional justice. However, the methods used in different countries vary considerably and cover the entire gamut of technologies of constitutional revision, ranging from the “conservative revolution” through convoking a constituent assembly or holding a national referendum to changing preambles of constitutions, introducing constitutional amendments, judicial interpretation, as well as a wide range of extra-constitutional mechanisms. The choice of a particular technology or a combination of technologies is determined by the level of public support for populist forces and the degree of their control over government institutions.
Populism in Eastern Europe, post-Soviet space and Russia performs different functions. In the first case populism represents a way of accumulating protest against imperfect institutions; in the second case populism is a form of a struggle for establishing rules of the game; in the third case populism performs a function of mobilizing support for the current political regime, or a means of legitimizing it. In Eastern Europe constitutional populism serves as an instrument for achieving power, in the post-Soviet region — for its redistribution, and in Russia — for its preservation. On the basis of these differences, the author identifies three versions of constitutional populism — “democratic” (Eastern Europe), “oligarchic” (post-Soviet region), and “plebiscite”, controlled and directed by power holders themselves (Russia).
¹ 3, 2014
On the basis of the detailed analysis of the process of elaboration and adoption of 1977 Constitution of the USSR, A.Medushevsky reveals special features of the Soviet pseudo-constitutionalism. Having thoroughly considered debates around the most important provisions of the new Basic Law that were designed to answer the key challenges facing the country as a result of the internal transformations as well as changes occurring in the global arena, and their reflection in the content of the final document, he convincingly demonstrates that the formula for the leading role of the Communist Party was the only norm in the Soviet Constitution that actually worked (corresponded to political reality). According to his conclusion, the failure of the political system of the late USSR to implement fully-fledged and timely constitutional modernization is a lesson and a warning for the post-Soviet political elite.
¹ 3, 2013
The previous issue of the journal Politeia presented the review of the book edited by A.Medushevsky Fundamentals of Constitutional Order in Russia: Twenty Years of Development, the author of which, having on the whole positively assessed the work, revealed a set of controversial issues and proposed a number of critical objections. Responding to these comments, Medushevsky analyzes the arguments presented by the reviewer and offers his answers to the questions that were posed.
¹ 2, 2012
Highly appreciating the book by S.V.Vasilyeva as the first attempt in the Russian science of the legal analysis of political opposition, A.Medushevsky at the same time does not share the author’s optimistic belief in the legal norm, especially in the case of the contemporary Russia where the relationship between power and opposition are built in the field of making opportunistic political decisions rather than within law. According to his opinion, under the conditions of trust crisis towards political parties the road to building full-fledged democracy should be found in the transition towards non-party democracy and broad socio-political coalitions that adequately reflect new challenges and tendencies of globalizing world rather than returning to traditional parties with their rigorous and authoritarian structure.
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