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POLI 212- JANUARY 25.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 212
Hudson Meadwell

JANUARY 25, 2012  Are there earlier branching points (prior to 1945) in European political development that set East and West off on different trajectories?  The obvious earlier turning point is the Russian Revolution, which caused state socialism, which in turn caused the Soviet led bloc on Eastern Europe after 1945.  The Russian Revolution’s ideology was closely connected to Marxism, but it is a revolution inspired by Marx’s political though but occurs on the peripheries of what could be called the political and economic heartland of Europe. The Revolution it inspired occurred in Russia when it was assumed it would occur in Western Europe.  Agrarian economy, relatively late industrializers, and a small industrial proletariat did not seem like fertile ground for this Marxist Revolution. The conjecture is that Revolution is connected to political backwardness in the context of the Russian Revolution.  Pipes Reading: Why does Revolution occur in such a distinctive site? Pipes is treating late Tsarist empires as a patrimonial regime. The main themes of the reading: The argument that the essential quality of Russian politics stems from the identification of political sovereignty and economic ownership. Russia was “a giant royal estate,” which is a way to identify its distinction. Russia belongs to its sovereign. All of this suggests there is no distinction between public and private, state and ruler. In the Russian context, it is impossible to distinguish in theory or practice property belonging to the monarch, property belonging to the state, and property belonging to private citizens. How is this household economy administered politically? Everything in Russia is part of the “household” of the Tsar, and the point he makes is that the administrative apparatus of the state is based in the household administration of the Tsar (again, no distinction between ruler and citizens). This state structure in Russian is in some sense pre-modern→ this is a politically backward way to organize politics in the late 19 century. These features of the Russian regime emerge much earlier than this, but they continue to drive Russian politics into the late 19 century. The contrast is what he takes to be the modal or typically occurring state structure in Western Europe→ the rational-legal state.  Bunce Reading: About how east and west are distinctive well past 1945. About the context of late 19 century Russia→ Russian is a major player in the game of European power politics, after the Congress of Vienna (preserved territorial borders, expression of monarchical solidarity). At the same time, Russia is not as effectively organized in political terms as the dynastic state of Western Europe. Industrial capitalism is maturing in Western Europe, states are rational-legal, states are connected to political regimes which have begun to recognize and entrench the political rights of citizens. Russia was a player, but they contemplated ways in which they could catch up to the modal state that characterized Weste
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