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Pols241 week11 lec 2 nov.docx

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Queen's University
Political Studies
POLS 241
Dru Lauzon

Pols241 week11 lec 2 nov.19  Russia o Begs a number of questions  1) is it a democracy?  If it is not how far away is it from one?  2) does democracy need institutions of a democratic culture?  3) does democracy need to look like liberal democracy? o 2 arguments  1) Russia is not a democracy  The party associated with Putin, Edinya Rossiya has dominated for 12 years. Russia has essentially been a one party state.  Putin has been head of government since 2000 (wins elections with more than 50% of votes) o He is adored, worshipped and feared o A cult of personality is developing around him o Assumption among Russians is that Putin knows best  He is portrayed as a champion  Has created around him a circle of individuals that represent the state apparatus  Seen to represent the sovereignty of the people. o Has used rule by decree o Has used security apparatus to spy on political opponents to discredit them and attack political opponents through propaganda, nationalism and anti-politics.  Demonstrates: o 1) a disdain for politicians (favor strong leadership of Putin)  Putin has gone after oligarchs( wield a lot of economic power and have criticized Putin’s authoritarian style)  Very few support liberal, adversarial system of democracy/politics.  Putin promised to limit corruption but it continues to run rampant= sign not a functional democracy. Thus it failed to be like us which disqualifies it.  2) Russia is a democracy  On the path to its own model of democracy  True, it doesn’t have a democratic tradition but other countries didn’t either.  Most important element in a democracy is to have a functional state that can impose its authority. o 1990s: Russia did not have this  Everyone employed by state were not paid= everyone doing what they wanted, ie. Stealing stuff.  Thus, the state was essentially in shambles/bankrupt= it was questioned and denied by its citizens in various regions.  Putin has restored the authority of the state o People are getting paid o Government can pay its bills o Law exists (people are constrained by the law)  1) has normal elections since 1993 o No massive scale fraud o If there was fraud it doesn’t affect the election results o 8 parties made it into the Duma o Voter turnout has been between 60-70% (good public/popular participation)- most vote for centre parties like edinya rossiya o Congealed party scene ( parties come back over and over again to dominate parliament.  2) Coalitions are formed on basis of convenience and strategic advances in the duma. o One of the hallmarks of democracy in Europe o Different parties will get together to vote together on certain bills.  3) Politicians are career oriented o Very few don’t want
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