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Chapter Twelve Politics in Russia Comparative Politics Today, 9/e

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter Twelve Politics in Russia Comparative Politics Today, 9/e"— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter Twelve Politics in Russia Comparative Politics Today, 9/e
Almond, Powell, Dalton & Strøm Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Longman © 2008


3 Country Bio: Russia Population: Territory: Year of Independence:
142.4 million Territory: 6.593 sq. miles Year of Independence: 1991 Year of Current Constitution: 1993 Head of State: President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin Head of Government: Premier Mikhail Efimovich Fradkov Language: Russian, other languages of ethnic nationalities Religion: Russian Orthodox 70-80%; Other Christian 1-2%; Muslim 8-9%; Buddhist 0.6%; Jewish 0.3%

4 Background: Rebuilding the Russian State
Sustainability of Russia’s great power status is tenuous. Putin’s policies Diminishing the realm of free association outside the state “resource curse” High levels of corruption, low accountability, and low investment in human capital Severe demographic crisis Mortality rates, particularly among adult males Low birthrates Net loss of close to a million people per year Grave threat to Russia’s national security and economic viability

5 Current Policy Challenges
Putin elected March 2000 Undertook a steady effort to rebuild state power Attacked the power of the so-called oligarchs Weakened the independence of the chief executives of the country’s regions (the governors) establishing new federal districts overseen by presidentially appointed representatives Secured power to dismiss governors for violations of the law Removing them as ex-officio members of the upper chamber of the parliament High levels of support early for his “managed democracy”

6 Current Policy Challenges
But now referenced by some as “sovereign democracy” Chain of command Accountability May conflict with state sovereignty

7 Current Policy Challenges
Only partially successful in achieving his goals Role of oil has helped Some of his actions (suppression of the independent media and the state’s takeover of the assets of the oil company Yukos) have discouraged business investment and fueled capital flight. Reliance on intimidation/removal of rivals End result: has undercut democratic checks and balances on central power; over-centralization

8 Historical Legacies The Tsarist Regime
The Communist Revolution and the Soviet Order Lenin Stalin Mikhail Gorbachev Glasnost Political institutions of the transition period: Demise of the USSR Political institutions of the transition period: Russia


10 The Contemporary Constitutional Order
1993 constitution combined elements of presidentialism and parliamentarism Separation of executive, legislative, and judicial branches Federal division of power between the central and regional levels of government Gave the president wide power


12 The Contemporary Constitutional Order: The Presidency
President appoints the prime minister and the rest of government Has the right to issue presidential decrees, which have the force of law Prime minister primarily responsible for economic and social policy President directly oversees the ministries and other bodies concerned with coercion, law enforcement, and state security

13 The Contemporary Constitutional Order: The Presidency
President can dissolve parliament or dismiss the government Head of state and commander of chief Security Council – chaired by the president Formulates policy in foreign & defense areas and more State Council – heads of regional governments Public Chamber- created by Putin in 2005 Made up of 126 members from selected civic, sports, artistic, and other NGOS Purpose to deliberate on matters of public policy May, along with other “councils” diminish the role of Parliament

14 The Contemporary Constitutional Order: The Government
Refers to the senior echelon of leadership in the executive branch Charged with formulating the main lines of national policy Especially economic and social Corresponds to the Cabinet in Western parliamentary systems Not a party government President Putin appoint Fradko, a relatively obscure figure as prime minister

15 The Contemporary Constitutional Order: The Parliament
Federal Assembly is bicameral Lower house: State Duma Upper house: Federation Council Legislation originates in the Duma Federal Council can then only pass it, reject it, or reject it and call for the formation of an agreement commission to iron out differences. If the Duma rejects the upper house’s changes, it can override the Federation Council by a two-thirds vote and send the bill directly to the president.


17 The Contemporary Constitutional Order: The Parliament
When the bill has cleared parliament, it goes to the president for signature. If the president refuses to sign the bill, it returns to the Duma. The Duma may pass it with his amendments or it may override the president’s veto with a two-thirds vote. The Federation Council must then also approve the bill, by a simple majority if it approves the president’s amendments or by a two-thirds vote if it chooses to override the president. Legislative elections Pro-Putin party: United Russia

18 The Contemporary Constitutional Order: The Parliament
Committees Federal Council: designed as an instrument of federalism Executive-legislative relations Yeltsin years Putin: power shifted away from parliament

19 The Contemporary Constitutional Order: The Constitutional Court
1993 Constitution provides for judicial review by the Constitutional Court Under Putin, the court has taken care to avoid crossing the president. Putin wishes to move the seat of the Court to St. Petersburg. Goal to marginalize it politically Central Government and regions Ethnic republic guard their special status Chechnia-independence Beslan 20 other ethnic republics; accord with Russia Municipalities

20 Russian Political Culture in the Post-Soviet Period
Produce of centuries of autocratic rule Rapid, but uneven improvement in education and living standards Exposure to Western standards of political life Result: contradictory bundle of values in contemporary political culture Sturdy core of democratic values Firm belief in the need for a strong state Disillusionment with democratization and market reform in Russia Support individual rights, but less so for unpopular minorities Nostalgia for the old order and aspirations for a better future Surveys suggest the citizens have little faith in the current political system Putin



23 Russian Political Culture in the Post-Soviet Period
Political socialization Education Ideological content has changed Church Mass media Overall, much less subject to direct state control than it was in the Soviet era

24 Political Participation
The importance of social capital Scare in Russia Participation in civic activity has been extremely limited. Weakness of intermediate associations Since the late 1980s, political participation, apart from voting, has seen a brief, intense surge followed by a protracted ebb. Not psychologically disengaged or socially isolated Half the Russian population reports reading national newspapers regularly or sometimes and discussing problems of the country with friends. Vote in high proportions Prize the right not to participate Shattering of expectations for change



27 Political Participation
Elite recruitment Refers to the institutional processes in a society by which people gain access to positions of influence and responsibility Soviet regime: Communist Party, nomenklatura Today, mixture of career types

28 Interest Articulation: Between Statism and Pluralism
NGOs Elements of corporatism Three examples of associational groups The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs The League of Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia New Sectors of Interest Many new associations More collective action by business and other sectors More open bargaining over the details of policy

29 Parties and the Aggregation of Interests
Elections and party development The 1989 and 1990 elections The 1993 and 1995 elections The 1996 presidential election The 1999 election Putin and the 2000 presidential race The 2003 and 2004 elections Party strategies and the social bases of party support Evolution of the party system Hampered by institutional factors such as the powerful presidency Sponsoring shadow leftist or nationalist parties to divide the opposition







36 The Politics of Economic Reform: The Dual Transition
Stabilization Shock therapy From communism to capitalism Heavy commitment of resources to military production in the Soviet Union complicated the task of reform; so does the size of the country

37 The Politics of Economic Reform: The Dual Transition
Privatization “Loans for shares” Consequences of privatization Unsustainable debt trap No strong institutional framework to support it; no real market economy in place Social conditions Small minority became wealthy in the 1990s Most people suffered a net decline Unemployment



40 Rule Adjudication: Toward the Rule of Law
Gorbachev’s goal: make the Soviet Union a law-governed state The Procuracy Comparable to the system of federal and state prosecuting attorneys in the United States Has more wide-ranging responsibilities and is organized as a centralized hierarchy headed by the procurator-general

41 Rule Adjudication: Toward the Rule of Law
The Judiciary Bench has been relatively week Lip service to judicial independence Unitary hierarchy: all courts of general jurisdiction are federal courts Commercial courts Supreme Commercial Court is both the highest appellate court for its system of courts as well as the source of instruction and direction to lower commercial courts. Judges nominated by the president and confirmed by the Federation Council Ministry of Justice oversees the court system; lacks any direct authority over the procuracy

42 Rule Adjudication: Toward the Rule of Law
The Bar “Advocates” Comparable to defense attorneys in the U.S. Role has expanded considerably with the spread of the market economy Constitutional Adjudication Court established for constitutional review of the official acts of government Again, challenge of presidential authority Under Putin, the court has not issued any rulings restricting the president’s power.

43 Rule Adjudication: Toward the Rule of Law
Obstacles to the Rule of Law Abuse of legal institutions by political authorities Corruption Bribery

44 Russia and the International Community
Russia has not fully embraced integration into the international community. Expanded military presence in several former Soviet republics Chechnia Post-communist transition has been difficult and incomplete.

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