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RUSSIAN CIVIL SOCIETY Sameer, Victoria, Jimmy, Michael.

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Presentation on theme: "RUSSIAN CIVIL SOCIETY Sameer, Victoria, Jimmy, Michael."— Presentation transcript:

1 RUSSIAN CIVIL SOCIETY Sameer, Victoria, Jimmy, Michael

2 An Introduction:  Has a relatively underdeveloped civil society  Most Russians don’t attend church regularly, belong to sports or recreational clubs, cultural groups, charity organizations, or labour unions  Appears to be growing slowly after glasnost  Before 1917 revolution, little civil society existed due to low economic development, feudalism, and authoritarianism  First independent group may have been fan club of Moscow soccer team (1987)  After 1991 (Soviet Union fell) civil society grew  Soviet authorities said that only the party could represent people’s interests  State-sponsored organisations appeared in a state corporatist arrangement with gov’t in control  Foreign NGO’s have been forcibly closed by authorities, others left because of inability to work

3  Upward trend of civil society groups suppressed by government by use of tactics to weaken them, ex. investigating income sources, police harassment, etc  Some features of Russian Civil Society  Civil society activists today are “a strong minority of citizens” who have minimal support  Foreign funding has had a positive effect in many areas (for example, it helped open up dialogue on many issues like feminism, domestic violence and others)  Mafia-type groupings have had a powerful and negative effect at all levels in Russia – even “co-opting the role of civil society”  The millionaires or “oligarchs” that emerged during the 1990s preferred not to work through formal or wider business associations; hence they contributed little to civil society development. Statism is the belief that a government should control either economic or social policy; opposite of libertarianism; statism can refer to capitalism, socialism, and interventionalism

4 Russia’s Interest Group System  Soviet-imposed atheism weakened role of religion, but Orthodox Christianity has recently reclaimed role in public life  Other religious groups emerged; Islam, Buddhism, New Age  Russian gov’t has turned towards nationalism and emphasized Orthodox Christianity as what makes Russia unique  In 1997, Russian gov’t placed restrictions on ability of religious groups to build seminaries or educational programs, but they still function, regardless of the difficulties  Other Russia; strongest opponent to government  Opposition to current gov’t; brings together individuals united by opposition to current political system  The diversity of membership is slightly problematic, but are still successful in their movement  News coverage is nonexistant, public support is minimal

5 Russian Youth Groups  Putin created handful of youth movements to support gov’t  Largest are Nashi, Youth Guard and Locals  Effort to build following of loyal, patriotic young people, to defuse youthful resistance that could have emerged in the 2008 election  Nashi used mass marches and demonstrations to support Putin, sometimes resorting to harassment  Ex. attacking Estonian and British ambassadors  Closely resembles Komsomol of Communism  Receieves grants and supports from gov’t/ large state-run businesses

6  The political framework conditions for NGOs have changed since Putin took office.  A repressive NGO law was passed in 2006 and attacks on independent organisations and individual activists were reported.  The state made an effort to create a "quasi civil society" that could be governed centrally and was loyal to the government.  The disappointment many Western donor institutions felt about the powerlessness of civil society in Russia, speeded the withdrawal of many Western foundations from Russia.  Activists often find themselves in a hard place, between principles to which they want to remain true, and a survival strategy.

7 How Free are Russia’s Citizens?  According to 2012 Freedom House, Russia was placed into the “not free” category. The situation in Russia continued to deteriorate in the last decade  In the report, Russia is mentioned in the same row as China, Egypt and Venezuela  Domestic violence continues to be a serious problem, and police are often reluctant to intervene in what they regard as internal family matters  Immigrants and ethnic minorities governmental and societal discrimination and harassment  Women have particular difficulty achieving political power  Widespread prostitution trafficking  Freedom Rating: 5.5

8 Finding Loopholes  Artyom Loskutov of Novosibirsk is a performance artist who started a new kind of political protest dubbed a "monstration”  Since anti-Putin gatherings rarely receive permission from the authorities and the participants risk arrest, those who join in "monstrations" often don't say or do anything overtly political.  "Monstrations" have caught on across the country -- leaving local authorities bewildered, but sensing that somehow, they're being made fun of.  pQmQY pQmQY

9  In August 2008, Nadira Isaeva and several other staff of the newspaper were prosecuted under Russia's anti- extremist legislation for having published a series of articles exposing law enforcement officials as perpetrators of torture, abductions, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions. For the last four years, Khimki activists have been trying to prevent a highway being built straight through the last old- growth oak forest in the Moscow region. Local police and unidentified thugs periodically appear to beat them up.

10 Patron-Client Networks  The nomenklatura were people within the Soviet Union who held various key administrative positions in the countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the communist party of each country or region  Analogous with the nomenklatura were patron-client relations  Powerful patrons, such as the members of the Politburo, had many clients  An official in the party or government bureaucracy could not advance in the nomenklatura without the assistance of a patron

11 Media Suppression  Putin relies on Kremlin- controlled TV networks to increase his power, especially in recent elections.  Opponents vanish during campaigns, and Putin all but decides election outcomes  Even the Communist Party, the only remaining opposition party in Parliament, has said that its leaders are kept off TV.

12  Political humor is being exiled from television  Viktor A. Shenderovich had a show that featured puppet caricatures of Russian leaders including Putin. It was canceled in Putin’s first term  When some actors cracked a few mild jokes about Putin and Medvedev at Russia’s equivalent of the Academy Awards in March, they were expunged from the telecast.

13 Comparisons with other Countries  Mexico  Under the PRI, as in Russia, the government’s desire for consensus creates a conflict with emerging civil society  Patron-client relationships rampant in both countries  Nigeria  Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are notably involved in the areas of economic empowerment, anti-corruption and constitutional reform  Few of the Nigerian organizations that USAID supported in the past have demonstrated the power or capacity to influence the national government on par with their civil society counterparts in South Africa, Kenya, or Ghana, but they are slowly garnering more recognition

14 Further Resources  transition/state/the-long-path-to-a-civil-society-the-example-of-russia/ transition/state/the-long-path-to-a-civil-society-the-example-of-russia/  Russian-civil-society-history-today-and-future-prospects.pdf Russian-civil-society-history-today-and-future-prospects.pdf  statism/ statism/  


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