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Lecture Notes

Political Science
Course Code
Lucan Way

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Russia and ethnic violence Competitive Authoritarianism under Boris Yeltsin 1991-
Conflict between President and parliament
Yeltsin decides to focus on economy not political reform
oLeaves the old Soviet parliament that was created in 1990, in
which you had unclear division of power between government and
oYeltsin incredibly popular end of 1991
oKeeps old Soviet parliament
oKeeps old constitution
Unclear division of power between President and
Potential for conflict rooted in constitution
oRadical economic reform 1992
Prices suddenly deregulated
Economic collapse
Parl leader Khasbulatov vs. Yeltsin
Conflict over economic policy
Parliament taken over by radicals
Khasbulatov changes constitution
Khasbulatov seeks to impeach Yeltsin
1993 October crisis
September 21 Decree 1400
Closed down parliament
Vice President Rutskoy, Khasbulatov hole up in White House
October 2-3 opposition storms TV station, mayors office
Real civil war about to take place
Bombing of parliament
Imposition of super-presidential constitution
Gave enormous powers to the presidentry
1994-1999 Competitive Authoritarian Rule
Elections were competitive but highly unfair
Continued Economic crisis
1996: Yeltsin beats Communist Gennady Zyuganov
Media abuse during election
oHide Yeltsin heart attack before 2nd round
Serious fraud
But dynamic independent media in between elections
Vladimir Gusinsky and NTV

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NTV funded by main Gas company Gazprom
Transition to Putin
Yeltsin very ill
Keeps in charge by hiring and firing Prime Ministers
Putin selected PM
Summer 1999
Yeltsin resigns Dec. 99
Putin elected President March 2000
Reason for selection
KGB background
Russia under Putin
Putin cracks down on private media
Uses Gazprom to take over independent NTV
Harasses business leaders who support opposition
Mikhail Khodorkovsky
But remains extremely popular
High oil pricesà strong government revenues, payment of pensions
Why democracy failed in Russia?
Constitutional design
1.Yeltsin leaves old constitution with unclear parl-pres relations
--> Conflict with parliament
2.Conflict --> imposition of super-presidential constitution
-->Superpresidential constitution makes it easier for Putin to
concentrate power
Constitution ignored in any case
Other sources of conflict economic crisis
Why democracy fail?
oIncrease in oil prices helps Putins popularity
oOil wealth used to buy off supporters
oConcentration of wealth makes it easier for government to take
over NTV
Legacies of totalitarianism:
Weak rule of law
Weak civil society
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