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A quarter of a century has passed since the Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted in 1993, yet the issue of the results and the prospects for constitutional transformation has not disappeared from the political agenda. For some, the Constitution signifies an ultimate break up with the communist past and a legal foundation for the advancement of the Russian society toward democracy and the rule of law; for the others, it is exactly the Constitution that is the culprit for the authoritarian trend that has prevailed, and for the sustained stagnation in Russia’s economic, social and political development.
The author of this paper is in the middle of these extreme viewpoints. He believes that the Constitution has truly played a pivotal role in Russia’s move toward democracy by establishing the basic principles of civil society and the rule of law, and in this respect, it remains of everlasting and paramount importance. Nevertheless, that does not mean that it should be utterly inaccessible for changes, especially given the elapsed time and the negative experience of the authoritarian transformation of the political regime, the amendments that were introduced between 2008 and 2014, and the current objectives of the democratic movement. The rationale for changes is to return to the constitutional principles, reaffirm their initial democratic meaning by rejecting the excessive concentration of the Presidential power, the results of counter-reforms and the adulteration through legislative and regulatory compliance practices.
Control over the security services is a key ingredient of political survival in authoritarian regimes. This is particularly true during periods of leadership succession and high political uncertainty. In this paper, we compare the strategy used by Vladimir Putin towards the siloviki – the Russian security services – with that employed by Xi Jinping towards the Chinese security services. We find that in both countries, the security services have been significantly strengthened in recent years, while at the same time extensive anti-corruption campaigns have been used to eliminate key officials within the security structures. We argue that both developments can be seen as elements of a strategy to increase control over the public, while eliminating potential competition from regime insiders, in view of a deteriorating economic situation, and the constitutional (or quasi-constitutional) term limits faced by Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping in 2024 and 2022, respectively.
In this article, we scrutinize a policy area in which the Russian government has had to react to negative publicity in the last few years, namely, the doping scandal surrounding the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. This scandal uncovered important aspects of Russia’s vulnerability in the global sports milieu, yet so far, it has remained almost unnoticed in the literature on mega sports events in Russia. Our analysis is premised on the convergence of two types and techniques of control and regulation: anatomopolitics, which presupposes, in Michel Foucault’s interpretation of the term, measures of control over individual bodies, and biopolitics, which refers to policy practices that target and concern the entire population. Their conflation in the Russian context results in a controversial effect: it strengthens relations of hegemony yet also exposes the sovereign power to the regulations of global sports organizations.
The chapter analyses the process of discursive construction of the image of “liberalism” in post-Soviet Russia. The author sticks at the reputation approach, i.e. considers as “liberals” the politicians and pubic intellectuals who call themselves this way or are regarded as such by their contemporaries. Analyzing the texts of the “liberals” and their critics the author argues that the current crisis of liberalism in Russia is partly a consequence of the form in which it was invented in the 1990s. Liberalism in Russia is associated with the Westernism, obsession with the market economic reforms, paternalist approach to the illiberal majority, criticism of the authoritarian regime and renunciation of imperial ambitions. In the context of political and ideological shifts of the 2000s and the 2010s this combination of ideas facilitated a development of the negative image of liberalism and its political marginalization.
Although many scholars have analyzed the role played by the siloviki in Russian politics, they usually focus on the presence of siloviki in the federal elite or the pressure they exerted on business. In this article, we use new data on the appointments of regional governors and the heads of regional departments of the Federal Security Service (ufsb), as well as data on regional economic growth from 2005 to 2017, to examine how decisions by the Kremlin with respect to the appointment of key regional siloviki have affected economic development in Russian regions. We find that regions where the governor-siloviki relationship has been stable over time also display higher rates of growth. We then investigate whether regional fsb heads are specifically appointed to start investigations on regional governors, but do not find a statistically significant relationship. Finally, we show how a number of newly appointed political heavyweights among Russia’s governor corps have been given their “own” silovik to support them in their region.
Der Zusammenhang zwischen den Begriffen Recht und Gerechtigkeit ist ein zentraler Bestandteil politischer Debatten in Zeiten radikaler sozialer Veränderungen. Das Recht wird in der modernen Wissenschaft als spezifische Form sozialer Organisation definiert und tritt als Wert, Norm und Fakt in Erscheinung. Eine komplexe Betrachtung des Rechts als mehrdimensionales Phänomen ist nur unter Berücksichtigung aller dieser drei konkurrierenden Parameter möglich.Im folgenden Beitrag werden aus der Position der Kognitionstheorie die grundlegenden Parameter von Recht und Gerechtigkeit bei der Lösung von Schlüsselproblemen des gesellschaftlichen Umbaus in der Übergangsperiode
In this chapter we aim to consider the interdependence between total factor productivity, economic welfare, and political institutions using BRICS as an empirical example. While relationships between each pair of factors have already been subject to scientific inquiry, we attempt to look at the productivity-institutions nexus in conjunction with economic development. We utilize nonparametric methods (data envelopment analysis) to estimate productivity levels for a large sample of countries and investigate the mutual relationships between productivity, GDP, and institutions for every year in the sample, as well as look into possible connections between dynamics of the three factors. We also analyze productivity trajectories of the BRICS countries in order to gain further insight into how capital-labor ratios might affect further economic development given each country’s institutional context. We show that levels of institutional development are a significant predictor for per capita GDP levels, as well as TFP levels. However, our tests for differences in TFP and growth remain inconclusive.
The Historical Varieties of Democracy dataset (Historical V-Dem) contains about 260 indicators, both factual and
evaluative, describing various aspects of political regimes and state institutions. The dataset covers 91 polities globally – including most large, sovereign states, as well as some semi-sovereign entities and large colonies – from 1789 to 1920 for many cases. The majority of the indicators come from the Varieties of Democracy dataset, which covers 1900 to the present – together these two datasets cover the bulk of ‘modern history’. Historical V-Dem also includes several new indicators, covering features that are pertinent for 19th-century polities. We describe the data, coding process, and different strategies employed in Historical V-Dem to cope with issues of reliability and validity and ensure intertemporal and cross-country comparability. To illustrate the potential uses of the dataset we describe patterns of democratization in the ‘long 19th century’. Finally, we investigate how interstate war relates to subsequent democratization.
In this paper, we propose an agent-based model of protest participation. We take into account latent factors, such as individual anger with the system and group belief in the protest's success, as well as the risk of repression. We run a number of experimental simulations and look at distributions of protester numbers under various initial conditions.
The systematic investigation of the Russian revolutionary tradition in comparative, historical, and functional perspective provides the possibility to understand its impact on the creation of the modern world and contemporary social and political system. The article discusses the meaning, formation and evolution of the Soviet Project –the concept and practice of social and legal reorganization in Russia inspired by Marxist philosophical ideas and fulfilled during the period from the Bolshevist Revolution of 1917 until the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1991. On the ground of cognitive theory approach in historical studies, the author examines the role of Communist myth in the formation of the Soviet state, ideological and legal grounds of one-party dictatorship, the nature of nominal constitutionalism, and the role of institutional continuity in the formation of the current political system. He shows the place of the permanent grounds (ideology, nominal constitutionalism and dictatorial impetus) as well as the place of changing parameters of the Project (Soviet, federative and class-oriented regulation) regarding their formal and informal influence on political regime’s legitimacy and cumulative impact on the system’s transformation and failure. In this context the author discusses the evolution of legitimating formula of political regime from Tsarist times to the collapse of the Soviet regime as represented in ideological programmatic, nominal Soviet constitutionalism (1918, 1924, 1936 and 1977 Soviet Constitutions), and changing practices of the social mobilization. That makes possible the general evaluation of the revolutionary heritage and its influence on the current Post-Soviet ideological priorities, political system, legal transformation, and prospects for its modernization.
In 1976 Richard Dawkins coined the term meme as a way to metaphorically project bio-evolutionary principles upon the processes of cultural and social development. The works of Dawkins and of some other enthusiasts had contributed to a rise in popularity of the concept of memetics ("study of memes"), but the interest to this new field started to decline quite soon. The conceptual apparatus of memetics was based on a number of quasi-biological terms, but the emerging discipline failed to go beyond those initial metaphors. This article is an attempt to rebuild the toolkit of memetics with the help of the more fundamental concepts taken from semiotics and to propose a synthetic conceptual framework connecting genetics and memetics, in which semiotics is used as the transdisciplinary methodology for both disciplines. The concept of sign is used as the meta-lingual equivalent for both the concepts of gene and meme. In the most general understanding, sign is a thing which stands for another thing. In genetics this translates into gene that is a section of DNA that stands for the algorithm of how a particular biomolecule is built. In memetics, the similar principle works in meme that is a thing that stands for the rules of how a particular cultural practice is performed.
Most researchers believe that states which are rich in natural resources are more able to maintain political stability in comparison to countries without such an access to exceptional profits. However, some rent resource autocracies are unanimously considered fragile, and their ability to extract maximum rents does not always contribute to political and economic security during price fluctuations. Based on the idea that the state’s ability to extract resources imposes on it certain obligations, the research question touches upon the quality of governance as a supposed core factor, which mediates the resource dependence and political security in terms of stateness and the ability to fulfil the “social contract.” The latter is described as implementation of political decisions, provision of public goods and services. However, the quality of governance is substantially different in various autocratic systems. Using case-study and descriptive statistics, the authors try to reveal the context and ascertain which factors trigger the horizon length of autocrats` political strategies during rising and falling resource prices. The authors affirm that resource dependence negatively affects political security less due to an absence of economic growth during price breaks, and more due to the struggle of political elites for the redistribution of resources, absence of disciplinary mechanisms, weak representation and accountability systems, and poor enabling environments as a basis for quality of resource management. The authors conclude that political security in autocratic resource economies is achieved through the coexistence of political will and triggers, conducive to specifying the length of the planning horizon.
Der Zusammenhang zwischen den Begriffen Recht und Gerechtigkeit ist ein
zentraler Bestandteil politischer Debatten in Zeiten radikaler sozialer Veränderungen.
Das Recht wird in der modernen Wissenschaft als spezifische
Form sozialer Organisation definiert und tritt als Wert, Norm und Fakt in Erscheinung.
Eine komplexe Betrachtung des Rechts als mehrdimensionales
Phänomen ist nur unter Berücksichtigung aller dieser drei konkurrierenden
Parameter möglich.Im folgenden Beitrag werden aus der Position der Kognitionstheorie die
grundlegenden Parameter von Recht und Gerechtigkeit bei der Lösung von
Schlüsselproblemen des gesellschaftlichen Umbaus in der Übergangsperiode
The article tests the extent to which Russia’s “pivot to the East” was supported by shared
visions of the American and the Chinese “Other” after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. It
compares representations of the United States and China as Russia’s Others in discourses of
Vladimir Putin, major political parties, and policy experts at a time when Russian–American
relations experienced a considerable downturn and relations with China surged. The method
of analysis is frames coding. The article demonstrates that for most of the actors considered,
the United States plays a much more important role as constitutive Other than China.
Russia’s political system must be understood as inherently dynamic, with constant regime change being essential to how the regime operates and survives. This regime change does not proceed monotonically toward ever tighter authoritarianism, but can move in both liberal and repressive directions at different times. While on aggregate the trend has been to greater authoritarianism under Putin, certain liberalizing moves have also been important that are meaningful for how ordinary Russians and elites experience their own regime, and greater repressiveness is not foreordained. We document two forms of endemic regime dynamism in Russia, each involving contingent, improvisational efforts at short-term recalibration in response to crises that are both endogenous and exogenous to the regime: structural improvisation and ideational improvisation.
In the Post‐Soviet period, domestic policies of Central and Eastern European countries have been marked by a ‘problem of minorities’. ‘Nationalizing’ state policies in regard to large Russian minority in Estonia and Latvia have been the issue of concern for both the kin‐state and European institutions ever since. Could pressure from Russia be effective in terms of change of minority policies in the Baltic states? What are the effects of EU accession on minority policies? These are the principle questions addressed by Jennie L. Schulze in Strategic Frames: Europe, Russia, and Minority Inclusion in Estonia and Latvia. The book focuses on the indirect influence of the EU institutions and Russia, adopting a framing approach. It consists of comparative cases covering the areas of language, citizenship and electoral policies.
The Gezi protests in 2013 were the largest urban resistance in the history of modern Turkey, both in terms of their intensity and the number of participants. They revitalized grassroots movements, further polarized the already-divided Turkish society, altered the political landscape, and sent shock waves among the incumbent elite who believed they were ruling without serious public opposition until the protests. The trajectory of the regime and the elite survival strategies profoundly changed after 2013 to meet this new challenge.
The protest publics model proposes a new theoretical framework for examining this emerging protest pattern, which can also shed light on our understanding of the Gezi events. In this chapter, the Gezi protests will be analyzed under the analytical framework of protest publics. First, I will show why this framework is appropriate for understanding the Gezi protests. Secondly, I will briefly discuss the political outcomes of these events by focusing on the transformative potential of protest publics in semi-authoritarian settings.
This chapter explores the influence of social landscapes, focusing on Russian gender and sexuality (G&S) education under a conservative turn. While the policy banning of ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ declared by the authorities should change public opinion against homosexuality and gender equality in theory, this chapter shows policy is only the beginning of Russian debates. Drawing on interview and survey data, this chapter shows that the laws have not stabilised the narratives of how to deal with gender and sexualities in education completely; and that the Russian education system’s attempts at inculcation of the younger generation in some ways inspired youth curiosity.