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Post-Communist Political Development in Russia Jennifer Neufeld PS5293.

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1 Post-Communist Political Development in Russia Jennifer Neufeld PS5293

2 Introduction  Russia’s contemporary political order is the product of radical changes in the institutional framework since the late 1980s  post-Communist political revolution has been turbulent and inconclusive  move towards democracy is neither decisive or irreversible  much uncertainty  democracy after a period of authoritarianism  consolidation of Russia’s constitutional framework  social change  distribution of political power  Putin

3 Origins and Structure of Russia’s Political Institutions n transition in Russia different than C/E Europe nations n no negotiated political agreement for the dismantlement of the Soviet system, or “pact” providing for democratization n Gorbachev and Yeltsin –utilized electoral democracy to mobilize mass support, counterweight to Communist party apparatus; transfer base of operations to the executive presidency n Glasnost - “openness” –widening of political rights and civil liberties n attempted coup August 1991

4 Outcomes of the Russian Transition n new constitutional order n national politics no longer dominated by Communist and democrats struggle n glasnost policy contributed to social and ideological change n creation of a strong Presidency n constitution is a hybrid of presidential and parliamentary forms n a “presidential republic”

5 Social Change and Political Pluralism n dismantling of old political and economic controls in Russian society since 1989 has substantially changed the organization and expression of social interests –widening of political freedom and civic associations –mass media; “check” on government power n end of state planning –rising poverty and inequality –inflation, rising prices, declining commodity production –privatization of state assets –high unemployment, layoffs n social change; realization of collective interests produced new array of social cleavages in Russia

6 Toward Democratic Pluralism n tendency to focus on Soviet legacy n trends: organized crime, corruption, public cynicism about politics, confusion of public and private interests n change in the way social interests are expressed n Russian politics have grown competitive and uncertain n many development theorists once thought social modernization drove the development of political regimes; now there is recognition that well-constructed institutions can provide elites with sufficient incentives to resolve their differences and achieve their goals by democratic means

7 The Presidential Elections and the Evolution of Russia’s Political System n a future for democracy or return to the past? n peaceful transfer of power has signaled a new rule-of-law era –the election of a new head of state will not be sufficient to solve the complicated problems of the nation’s political development –new president will establish a new political framework –balance of forces capable and wanting to implement constitutional reform –establish a strong executive political apparatus of vertical governance, rejuvenating the institutional relationship between the president and legislative power [Ryabov]

8 The Presidential Elections and the Evolution of Russia’s Political System - cont’d. n Russia’s difficulties in reforming its political system stems from the legitimacy crisis of the Russian authorities n economic reform subordinate to consolidating power n existing power system impedes the establishment of an effective vertical presidency in Russia [Ryabov]. n if consolidation of power is successful –then work on institutional details –changes in Russia’s political landscape –evolving into a single party system –most probably the establishment of a “guided democracy”

9 Works Cited n Remington, Thomas F., “Democratization and the New Political Order in Russia,” in Democratic changes and authoritarian reactions in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova, eds. Karen Dawisha and Bruce Parrott (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 69-129. n Ryabov, Andrey, “The Presidential Elections and the Evolution of Russia’s Political System,” Briefing Papers 2/2 (Carnegie Moscow Center, January 2000).

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