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Poli Sci 2300 - Russia

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 2300X
Peter Arthur

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October 27, 2010
Russia seen dramatic changes over the past few decades
Russia was the dominant member of USSR for 70 years
1991 – dissoloution of the USSR but its influence (political and economic) on
modern Russia still visible
Politically, key challenge is to build a multi-party democracy
Economically, the foremost challenge is making the transition from centrally
planned (geared toward military) economy to free market (geared toward
Political Culture
Authoritarian culture
oTsarist autocracy, Leninist elite, Stalinist totalitarianism, Yeltsan/Putin -
Strong leadership
oPolitical patrimonialism (have strong political leaders – father figures to
the citizens, give the impression they understand the interests of the
people but don’t actually care, don’t take care of the citizens)
Closed politics
oPolitical decisions without public input
Collectivist society
oSociety is group oriented
Fear of chaos
oPreoccupied with national security and fear of foreign invasion
Political System
“The most dangerous time is when a bad government begins to reform itself.” –
Alexis de Tocqueville
After the dissolution of USSR, Russia had to rethink their old assumptions as a
From one party rule and central economic planning to open competitive political
and economic system
Reformed as an independent state with the collapse of communist rule in 1991,
current constitution in effect since 1993
New constitution created a federal republic, a bicameral Federal Assembly,
complex high court system and 83 local government districts
President, either chamber, or group of 20% of deputies of either chamber can
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