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Russian Political Science Mid-Term (1).docx

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University of Waterloo
Political Science
PSCI 100
John Jwarovsky

Russian Political Science Mid-Term (Nov 14) Areas of Change – S.U to Russia  Change in state structure (Russia became one of the successor states to the Soviet Union) o Change in athletic competency (Russia lost Soviet athletes)  Regime change (Russia’s political system is very different to the Soviet Union’s one-party system) o In S.U, citizens forced to vote for one candidate (very few went against approved candidate) o A move towards democracy with Russia (many argue Putin’s rule gravitates towards an authoritative fashion)  Economic change o S.U had a state-controlled economy with a bureaucracy planned economy (didn’t create stimulus) o Towards end of S.U, a very significant move towards a privatized sector with fair and sufficient competition (market type economy) o Privatization process was very messy (allowed oligarchs to grab large sectors of the economies and they exploited the sector to make large profits)  Identity change o In S.U, citizens identified very heavily with the S.U as Soviet citizens (esp. in Russia) o Soviets proud of its accomplishments as a military and scientific power o After collapse, there was an identity vacuum as Russia deteriorated economically and socially (many Russians identify themselves as former Soviets with a lot of nostalgia involved) o 80% of Russian pop. consists of ethnic Russians o Brain Drain: those in professional sectors left Russia in the 90s in search of better employment Legacy of Soviet Union  One state economy in S.U o Private agriculture o Productivity began to plummet (but gave everyone a job) o 1970s: had to import food from aboard (couldn’t provide agriculturally) o Sent pop. to settle the far North with subsidized living (in market economy, idea becomes irrational because it can’t properly support a northern pop) o Also a militarized economy (strong military but other economies were neglected like the consumer economy)  Environmental problems o Industrialization took precedence over environment o Difficult environmental problems (burden on current Russian economy) o Ex: Chechnya  Manipulation of past to further certain elements of politics o Past interpreted in a variety of ways (no objective history) o “useable history” o Russia’s history generally characterized by authoritarianism o Proto-clem (traditions that had the potential to employ more democratic trends)  Novgorod: “veche” tradition/town hall tradition (meeting of citizens to discuss matters and problems)  Dissidents: 1953 (after Stalin’s death), but grew in 1960s – people called for greater democracy and human rights didn’t get very far (persecuted by authorities); movement downplayed  Nostalgia for Soviet past o Putin called the collapse a tragic event Soviet History  Authoritarianism seems to be intricate in Russian history  Tsar(ina) – before 1917 o A large empire – morphed in S.U as a result of Bolshevik Revolution o Fairly backward state o Not well-developed legal traditions (absolute monarchy) th o Change within late 19 century – more development but monarchs resisted change which led to rise of the revolutionary movement  A lot of revolutionary momentum (gained popularity during WW1 because Russian military effort was inefficient and unorganized)  A variety of revolutions but Bolsheviks prevailed in 1917 Revolution and became core of Communist Party (CPSU) Soviet Union – Leaders (Gerontocracy – led by the elderly)  Lenin o Leastr of Bolsheviks o 1 headed S.U o Died in mid-1920s (a period marked by liberalization in some areas of activity – arts and culture, economic pluralism [recuperate a divided S.U], but no political pluralism [one state party via CPSU]) o After death, there was a succession battle  Stalin o Late 1920s-1953 (death) o Left a big imprint on the system o Totalitarianism/ harsh authoritarianism  A guiding, state-supported ideology (Marxism-Leninism)  A single mass party, typically led by a dictator  A system of terror, designed to “atomize society” (one-on-one relationship between individual and state)  A monopoly of the means of coercion (physical force)  A central direction and control of the economy through state planning o Cult-type personality (portrayed himself as the main proponent of Leninism) o Great Purge – cleansing the society of undesirable groups or those that disobeyed Stalin’s administration (affected all sectors of economy) – Golas (concentration camps) o Black humour related to political instability circled around o Engaged in major industrialization under 5-year plans and used forced labour (happens throughout 1930s) and provided an infrastructure that helped the S.U defeat Nazi Germany o U.S.S.R became a superpower (especially with the acquisition of nuclear power equal to that of the U.S)  After Stalin’s death – Khrushchev (1953-1965) o Limited destalinization (no longer used mass terror as a device of control) o Continued repression (more targeted) o Most prisoners under Stalin were allowed to return home in ‘53 o A bit more experimentation of what could be written o Planned economy still o By mid-‘60s: Khrushchev was going too far which threatened S.U and forced to retire in 1965  Brezhnev (1966-1982) o In power till death o Period known as the era of stagnation (a lack of dramatic changes/initiatives in exchange for stabilization) o Less emphasis on destalinization o Economy dependent on exports of natural resources – ‘70s a lot of pipelines were built to sell gas to Western Europe (people started to become more cynical of communism) o Successors: Andropov and Chemenko (both were elderly and died in office) - *elections were meaningless but emphasis on organization to culminate public support (very ritualistic)  S.U did some things quite well in light of its arbitrary past o Provided basic social services o Full employment and expanding education o A superpower with a strong military , but economy didn’t reflect a superpower status (still received international respect)  Leads to nostalgia about S.U  Late ‘60s – early ‘80s: country began to run out of “energy” and vitality o Reflected in state of leadership (Politburo is a senior decision-making body and average age of members was early 70s) o Mid-‘80s: clear something had to change (a younger leader to start) as economic stability was secured but growth remained stagnant o Social stability: a crystallization of social structure (a great deal of social mobility and freedom)  Ex: a peasant could become educated (improvement of social status)  Vast population wasn’t repressed because followed regime’s agenda  60s-70s: social mobility reduced because of stagnation (Elites increasingly pass privileges to elite children) o Political figures began to lose their self-confidence (questioned capacity to rule)  Caused by deaths of last three leaders  Wanted to introduce reforms to make S.U run efficiently  Gorbachev o Selected member of Politburo to lead (one of the youngest members) o Had reforms in attempt to change the system while maintaining system’s basic framework  Engaged in improvisation upon election into office (no coherent plan)  Very stubborn, therefore when encountered resistance, provided him to engage in major reforms (led to collapse) o Major reforms 1985: perestroika (restructuring/reforms of economy and government bureaucracy/introduce free market features to strengthen planning system/plan to achieve the best elements of capitalism and communism, but led to disruption in economy) and glasnost (openness/media pluralism and media critique with re-examination of past/wanted to use change as a tool against opponents by openly critiquing S.U problems/gained a lot of momentum) o 1986: Chernobyl (worst nuclear accident to date)  Release of massive amounts of radiation  Initial attempt to cover up the accident  Contributed to glasnost (authorities had to address it) o Late 1980s: semi-competitive elections at local and ultimately at national level  1990: Soviet Constitution amended (stripped away Soviet Party’s absolute power)  1990: also wanted to respond to calls for decentralization (called for a new agreement to reform federal structure of S.U) – lead to colleagues concerned about autonomy in S.U and therefore, launched a coup in August ’91 *abortive coup+  Leaders were drunk during coup (very disorganized), didn’t arrest opposition leaders  Yeltsin allowed to roam free and organized opposition against coup  Didn’t ensure proper support among ministries (acted as a security apparatus)  Had important consequences for Gorbachev  Yeltsin and Gorbachev butted heads in ‘60s (but Yeltsin, Russian president, protected him and looked like a dramatic figure)  Yeltsin decided to use aftermath of coup to discredit Gorbachev (in fall of ’91, a chaotic situation in Moscow as republics declared independence)  Gorbachev unable to re-establish authority, Yeltsin gained power  Winter ’91 – meeting called by Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus (3 largest republics in S.U) and declared an end to the existence of the S.U (was unconstitutional, but had a fair amount of support without massive opposition)  Yeltsin advocated Commonwealth of Independent States (roughly similar to S.U and its dynamics with a sole military) o Other republics refused CIS, some other republics saw it as a “divorce” mechanism like Ukraine, other republics forced to go with independence (50 new countries emerged from S.U)  Yeltsin did have democratic principles but very impatient and rash in ‘90s o Introduced “shock therapy” – an attempt to rapidly introduce market type policies but infrastructure wasn’t prepared and led to a depression after economic disruption (affected many) Modern Russia  Intolerant to opposition (want special presidential powers) but Duma (parliament) opposed some of Yeltsin’s policies o Oct ’93: dramatic tensions between president and Duma (led to Yeltsin calling on army to put down the Duma) o A brutal, unconstitutional act  Referendum of Dec 1993 – a new constitution past (provided president with significant powers) a.k.a “super presidentialism”  Yeltsin wasn’t a vigorous individual – he was himself aging and had a drinking problem, but managed to win in ’96 and maintain power o Late 90s: needed a new figure but several PM lasted in office for a while (Putin was the last figure to be tried out before Yeltsin)  Putin was a former KGB officer and was a part of its successor (FSB) o Late ’99: Yeltsin resigned as President, PM becomes acting President  Putin used acting presidency to portray himself in a positive light  Yeltsin era: 1990 (late 1991-1999) o Putin era: 2000 (2000-2008) o Medvedev (2008-2012) o Constitution: President can only serve 2 consecutive terms  Medvedev engineered to help Putin run again for President  Yeltsin: Plus Side o Relative media freedom o Few restrictions of NGO activity o Good, generally cooperative relations with West and neighbors o Decentralized authority to regions (Chechnya an exception) o Attempted to make a break with many aspects of Communist past and legacy  Yeltsin: Minus Side o Too much “shock therapy” – even if shock therapy needed, carried out in a very messy way without proper preparation o Poor and often antagonistic relations with legislature (Duma) o Neglect of social welfare issues; impoverished pop o Allowed himself to be used and manipulated by personal entourage (“The Family”) o Severe “image” problems; increasingly discredited at home and aboard o Great growth of corruption, organized crime in Russia (not much in S.U)  Putin: Plus Side (newer order and discipline in contrast to ‘90s) o Russia’s economy revived (even if this revival was largely due to factors beyond Putin’s control); greater emphasis on social welfare issues (although results not always obvious) o Positive personal image; vigorous, discipline, quick on his feet o Fostered restoration of pride in Russia (downplays negatives in S.U) o Russia revived its traditional “great power” role in post-Soviet region o Partial revival of Russia’s role as counter-balance to U.S domination in international affairs  Putin: Negative Side o Growing media restrictions (esp electronic media) o Put in place restrictions on NGOs and their activities o Great reliance on “siloviki” (representative of “power” ministries and agencies) in cadre (personal) appointments [Defense, Internal Affairs, KGB-FSB] o Increasing use of nationalist (sometimes intolerant) rhetoric o Corruption has remained at previous levels (possibly grown) o Has emphasized positive aspects of Soviet legacy, esp those linked to its great power status; reluctant to condemn negative aspects of this legacy o Attempts to revive Russian sphere of interest in “near abroad”, resulting in strained relations and involvement in regional conflicts (e.g. Georgia) o Russia’s gaining prominence on international stage achieved partly by assuming “spoiler role” Putin and Modern Russia  Attribute source of power from Yeltsin’s appointment o Repaid favour by passing a decree which gave amnesty to Yeltsin and his family to any crimes committed during Yeltsin’s presidency o Later became more critical of Yeltsin  Political institutions have a de facto purpose than they do in law (de jure) o Much less important  Political stability based on expectations o Democracies will form new governments if one fails to get the job done o Authoritarians: get locked into a way of doing things that leads to an unresponsive regime  A depressing political reality in Russia (greater than in other liberal democracies) o Not like S.U: legislatures were controlled by one party o Modern: more opportunities to participate in real politics, richer media diversity  Reality: decision-making not focused in Duma or Parliament Constitution  Emerged in 1993  S.U constitution was a paper constitution (no real or legitimate purpose) o Legitimate: lays out rules of political game o S.U constitution detached from Soviet reality (ex: said nothing about one-party) o Modification made in late ‘80s: after collapse, Russia inherited old constitution  Parliament gave Yeltsin special powers (like ability to introduce economic reforms) o Yeltsin demanded even more power, which led to a backlash (Parliament refused to grant more powers): relations degenerated between Parliament and President o Parliament even began the process to impeach Yeltsin – led to a paralysis between Executive and Legislative branches (stalemate brought about constitutional crisis)  Basic element of a liberal democracy: separation of powers o In addition, checks and balances o Three branches: Executive (President), Legislative (Duma and Federal Council made up Federal Assembly), and Judiciary  In a country of change: Executive argues for a stronger executive = emergence of a presidential republic  Constitutional crisis led to a revolt made up of Parliament members trying to push constitutional reform o Yeltsin used force to subordinate legislature (military did not go along with this happily because not used to fighting internal dissent)  After crisis, Yeltsin pushed through new elections in Dec 1993 and a referendum on constitutional reform (only half of the pop voted in referendum) – very murky o Some argue it’s illegitimate because passed after suppression of Parliament  Result: New Parliament granted more powers to President – super presidentialism (great power to Executive) o Interpreted negatively by West, but tried to ignore it because believed alternatives to Yeltsin could be worse (most of Yeltsin’s opponents were senior figures of S.U) o Yeltsin: red-brown coalition (far-left and far-right against Yeltsin) o President now not accountable to how he/she acts (found in many Latin American countries)  Semi-competitive elections, winner (President) acts in whatever it sees fit (delegated democracy – pop votes to delegate power to candidate, then retreats from the political scene)  Yeltsin later o Bypassed Parliament o Issued Presidential decrees (introduced new policies)  Used this instead of submitting bills o Lobbied for Parliament to support policies (easy to do because party structure in Parliament and controlled privileges open to politicians) o Intervened in Chechnya via Presidential decree – informally declared war which was not taken to Parliament for approval  Duma/Federal Council not important because of this (much useful to examine visible elites from behind the scenes who don’t have to be elected) Modern Russia  Duma does not play a big role in legislatures o Major political decisions made without reference to Duma o Duma is not a rubber-stamp body (has influence) o Operates under great restraints (some entrenched in Constitution) o If political parties played a bigger role, Duma could play a more significant role  During 1990s-2000s, developments made to Duma but does not give it a bigger influence over politics o Elites play a big role (court politics – those closest to the President hold considerable influence) o Yeltsin’s court politics: major players were trying to influence Yeltsin while trying to undermine each other  Byzantine-style politics (notorious for backstabbing)  1990s: returns to Kremlinology (Kremlin= a seat of political power/equivalent of Parliament Hill) where a lot of guess work was done in determining the role of elites under Yeltsin (comprised the “Family”)  Convenient if you knew Yeltsin and wanted to sell exports (oligarchs became wealthy because goods sold were given to them a subsidized prices) – usually sold natural resources like oil or timber  Korzhakov o Head of Yeltsin’s bodyguard unit and drinking buddy o Approached by people who wanted to influence Yeltsin (this isn’t illegal because legal code was in constant flux in the 90s)  Putin o Less manipulated by surroundings o Advisors played an important role o Presidential administration also very important (similar to PMO but role is greater)  Determines access to President o Born in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) o Most of advisors from St. Petersburg o Siloviki – “force” institutions (responsible for use of coercion)  Includes Ministries of Defence, International Affairs, and FSB  Many of his entourage are from the Ministries  Might also head state-owned firms o Lost office b/n 2008-2012 to Medvedev  President responsible for foreign policy issues  Prime Minister responsible for domestic issues Party System in Russia  Interest groups articulate interests (interest articulation) o Through NGOs  Political parties engage in a process of interest aggregation (combining demands of various groups into party programs) o Ideally, political parties give voters limited, but diverse choices and ensure accountability of public officials o Serve as a link between voters and states/world of politics  Party “Families” (groupings of political parties):  1. Communist Party Successors o KPRF – Communist Party of Russian Federation (leader: Zyuvanov) o Large voting base (diminishing over time) made-up of those nostalgic of Soviet period, therefore rapidly aging voters o Support base: those who experienced economic downturn in ‘90s o Based eroded by Putin’s reform of economy, health care, education o Promotes nationalism (Russian Orthodox Church linked with nationalism) o Doesn’t openly oppose Putin-allies because he promotes nationalism  2. Nationalism Parties o LDPR – Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (headed by Zhirinovski) o Appeals to a protest vote (ex: unemployed males) o Does fairly well on political scene o Sign of a less than healthy political system o Usually supports Putin and party of power (Putin’s party)  3. Liberal Democratic Type Parties o Yaibloko – social democratic (similar to NDP) o Right Cause – slightly on the right political spectrum o Haven’t been particularly successful (don’t receive a large percentage of votes) because:  Status quo parties have tried to marginalize LD parties (ex: sabotaged election campaigns)  Administrative resources used to marginalize LD parties o Leaders know English quite well and well-educated (framed a pro-Western by opponents) o Typically leaders are ineffectual intellectuals (don’t promote politics at grassroots level, messages centered in Moscow) o Removed from common socioeconomic issues in Russia (don’t present coherent programs) o Two sources of weaknesses: internal (ineffectual leaders and vague party programs) and external (marginalization by state bureaucrats)  4. Parties of Power o 2000 onwards: United Russia (was “Unity”) o Prior to 2000: Yeltsin attempted to establish parties of power but failed o A large major party to represent interests of President and his entourage o U.R identifies itself with Putin o Characteristics of U.R:  Centrist (appeals to wide range of opinions)  Youth-wing (Nashi)  Elaborate bureaucracy  Quite a bit of financing (informal) o Dominant parties around the world – LDP (Japan), PRI (Mexico) o Leaders can form successful coalitions (unlike LD parties) Elections  Soviet Union o Bogus – voting turnout= 99.6% (99.98% supported one-party in elections)  Russia o Semi competitive structure (some room for opportunities) o Elections a proponent of representative democracy  Many flaws in democracy (unavoidable) but holding elections representative of voters interests is a norm that legitimizes the state’s authority  Includes some kind of legislature to cement legitimate authority (even if acts purely as a rubber stamp body) o A variety of lesser/greater efforts by parties to manipulate political process in order to change/maintain status quo  Could be used to persuade vote o Use of many dirty tricks  However, most elections includes dirty trick campaigns (in Canada – Robo Call Scandal)  Distinguishes from other countries: creativity and impact of political manipulation o Problems of engaging in manipulation  More legitimate elections= fairly transparent electoral process and allowance of effective monitoring of elections, therefore less manipulation (more from behind the scenes)  Significant manipulation can only take place with heavy bias and without effective monitors and a pop unaware of manipulation/apathetic  Contacted certain countries in Asia (seen as allies) – had them monitor elections, therefore received immediate approval  Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – more legitimate monitors in Europe o Rent a crowd phenomenon  Discredit opponents by hiring people to support an opponent and then act analogous to norms/standards o Undermining tactics:  Kompromat: compromising information of a particular candidate (sometimes artificially setup and used to spoil reputation of an individual)  Black p.r (try to defame someone)  Administrative resources  Local gov’t officials given instructions to make life difficult for opposition candidates (such as difficulty in finding halls to gather, difficult to hold large rallies)  Ex: penalize businesses that finance opposition, confuse voters with candidates of the same name (esp. elderly voters)  Political technologies  Strategists: political technologists/spin doctors  Whenever a problem re-emerges, tries to put a positive face on an issue  Russia: prevent problems and being proactive in politics while making sure opposition parties receives as little publicity as possible  Use of newspapers and mass media to spread elections  Most receive info from T.V, not internet (therefore controlling t.v stations= big influence on public approval of candidates)  Establish new parties to drain public support from opposition (“pocket party” – tends to support regime in office)  Long-term strategy  Ex: LDPR and A Just Russia o Putin  Popular b/c revived economy after depression in 90s  Would have won w/o dirty tactics, but used them to ensure power (shows there’s a certain sense of insecurity among elites) Construction of Power Vertical (coincides with the fact that Putin maintains power via pocket parties while ensuring United Russia remained the party in power)  To be on top: must have a lot of percentage of vote above opponents to safeguard elite status (need to maintain vertical of power via tactics)  End result of tactics: o High level of political apathy in countryside – vote for politicians reflecting status quo o Middle class: general distrust of politics and growing unhappiness or large amounts of manipulation o Play on Russian words to mean something different (ex: Demokratia [direct democracy]/shitocracy) o Led to fair amount of demonstrators in Moscow (but comes and goes) Civil Society (individuals/groups in society that are independent from government and businesses that try to advocate or articulate a specific interest or concern)  United Russia wants to continue dominance via methods o Too dominant for status quo to change o Oppositions can combat dominance (take advantage of opportunities)  All different forms of autonomous, organized activities (includes NGOS) in pursuit of a common aim outside the formal control of government o Grassroots participation in politics/society o Creates linkages among citizens o Not only political  May attract people with intentions of going into political realm o A healthy civil society is healthy as a whole for political process  In S.U, one party voiced grassroots concerns, not vice-versa in current Russia/healthy civil society o However, not all forms of citizen participation is useful/healthy (exclusion of groups with anti-social intentions) o Ex: Komsamol: only organization allowed to organize a rock concert; all religious communities needed state approval or could not exist (but didn’t out rightly ban all religious activities) o Under Stalin: no one went against top-down control, but after death (1953), many dissidents emerged esp in the ‘60s (dissidents were intellectuals who began to criticize state and policies and incurred a variety of sanctions as a result of speaking out)  Dissidents usually charged with anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda (very vague interpretation)  Rarely managed to develop large support group  Sallharov: placed under house arrest, later released by Gorbachev o Under Gorbachev: allowance of organization  Popular: ecological organizations in light of Chernobyl (Green mov’t)  Rapid development of public associations representing diverse interests (not effective, but a developing civil society)  How individual gains power in the state (via fathering in a civil society’s autonomous institutions)  Seen as empowering individuals  A buzzer word – seen almost as a pancea (the answer to all kinds of problems) o ‘90s: a great deal of emphasis on protecting democratization of post-U.S.S.R states o Seen as an important aspect of democracies  Democracies usually dominated by those with money and effort to devote time to certain activities, but are not the representative of society as a large (not many groups and individuals have that sort of effort, money, and skills)  Ethnicities compete heavily in civil societies to pursue their own interests  Businesses will provide funds to groups pursuing social issues (not always the case in every society b/c sometimes funding is based on divisions) Russia’s Civil Society  After collapse: economic downturn o Percentage of NGOs had to turn to West for funding b/c there wasn’t enough money  A variety of NGOs became dependant on foreign funding and their agendas were dictated by those providing the funds  Civil society enthusiasts thought the civil society only encompassed noble actions and significant actors (in reality, the civil society is very ‘messy’ – a lot of diverse ideologies and agendas among NGOs and other organizations) o Public good vs self-interest (low-energy cost)  Ex: free trade vs job security (conflicting views)  Activity engaged in private ends (not all are pursuing the public good) o Proliferation of interest groups= middle class and elites have a lot of influence on policy outcomes favouring the rich  Shouldn’t be seen as an alternative to the state o Ideal: healthy civil society= well-functioning legal framework (voice for minority NGOs and fair representation of all public views)  NGOs used as a way of passing views down to grassroots instead of vice versa (atomized civil society – many were afraid to assemble to discuss issues till mid-late ‘60s and became known as dissidents) o Mid-‘80s onwards: increased support in civil society under Gorbachev and his ‘glasnost’ – semi-open media to publicize NGOs and grassroots’ views (support for NGOs)  1990s in light of economic downturn: many had to survive, therefore could not place efforts and money in NGOs (an equivalent to the Great Depression or worse) o Survival strategies: immigration, scavenging (ex: selling mass produced metal), having a plot of land used to harvest and feed animals, professionalism (used NGOs to receive funds) Putin’s Civil Society  Framework/opportunities for a healthier civil society = better because a stable economy, stable governance, growth of middle class (those with the effort, skills, and money needed to develop NGOs’ activity) o However, a change in gov’t priorities and on how they viewed NGOs  ‘90s: NGOs ignored (not helped nor hampered with little or no effective control of NGO activity)  Yeltsin: did not have a tendency to control society  Putin seen as a control freak (insists on controlling environment) o Promised to restore order (that’s how he came into office) – disorder vs order o Installing order will affect NGO activity (shift to supporting NGOs that supported state policies and priorities)  Ex: early 2000s – Rose Revolution (Georgia) and 2004 – Orange Revolution (Ukraine)  In both cases, authoritarian rulers overthrown through Democratic elections – Georgia (Saakashvil) and Ukraine (Yushenko)  These developments seen as a real threat (somehow a gov’t was replaced by democracy)  After 2004: increased NGO restrictions on their activities (ex: difficult registration process that persuaded NGOs to dissolve themselves) in addition to the creation of ‘fake’ NGOs meant to promote gov’t interests (known as GONGO – Gov’t Organized NGO)  Ex of GONGO: Nashi (means Our People) was a semi official youth group (youths integral to national revolutions) that served gov’t interests to a certain extent  Genuine NGO that addresses problems of military: Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers (problems suffered by conscripts via health and hazing) o Setup by women with sons who served in the military o Pressures gov’t to improve situation within military Emergence of Super Presidentialism  Can’t reify political science (many concepts and problems) o Ex: Civil Society may house intolerant groups o NGOs become dependent on domestic/foreign support (may eschew an agenda) o NGOs become manipulated by political authorities (may setup intentionally to promote a gov’t agenda)  Ex: GONGO, Nashi o Majority of pop is quite passive, thus not involved in political process  Good reflection of this is voter turnout in elections (declined over time)  A willingness to participate= provides an equal civil society o Some groups are not funded, but still assemble to fund public goals o Khimki Forrest – example of a group protest o Noize MC – Russian rapper critical of current regime o Blue Bucket Brigade Mov’t  Belarus o An effective, oppressive apparatus o Known as the only true European dictatorship o Sensitive to anything that looks like a protest Super Presidentialism  a great deal of authority in President’s hands  a result of ’93 Constitutional Crisis o conflict b/n President and Duma= ended with Yeltsin attacking members of the Duma followed by a referendum that shifted the balance of power in favour of the President  Putin and associates keen to maintain democratic principles (like elections) to show they have overwhelming support (genuinely popular among Russians) o Polls show he has a majority support from pop  Consensus that Russia moved towards authoritarianism under Putin (domestically and foreign) o Ex: 2012 – new regulations introduced concerning demonstrations with heavy fines on individuals who organize/participate in unauthorized demonstrations (must apply for gov’t’s permission)  Permission can readily be denied  Authoritarianism in Russia o “managed democracy” o “sovereign democracy” – underscores Russian democracy (a specific democratic practice distinctive from Western democracy) o Semi-authoritarian state o Competitive authoritarianism o In politics - political authority concentrated in a small group, centralized power maintained via: political oppression, diminishing of political challengers, and mass mobilization to organize people around regime  Justifications for Russian authoritarianism (difficult to maintain) o A particular country – always had a strong tradition of authoritarianism (pop. used to this and readily cooperative with regime) – historical precedents o Internal/external threats  Terrorism, rebellions, foreign threats  Ex: Putin uses U.S as a country to fear o Modernization via all means possible – Stalin o Recovering from a period of disorder – Putin after Yeltsin o All-wise, all-knowing leader (cult personality)  How regimes maintain themselves over time (difficult to maintain) o An ideology that inspires the pop  Ex: Marxism/Leninism (claimed to provide answers to a wide variety of questions) o Delivering certain goods to a pop  Ex: Putin ensured the pop of large received benefits and provided some improvement in social services, living standards o Maintain siege mentality (belief that invasions is a constant threat)  Real or imagined threats  Problems in Russia o Long term growth rate unsustainable
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