Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges, Seventh Edition. by Charles Hauss. Chapter 9: Russia

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1 Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges, Seventh Edition by Charles Hauss Chapter 9: Russia

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4 Learning Objectives After studying this chapter, students should be able to: describe the geographic, demographic, and historic characteristics that have created the political culture of Russia. trace the creation and recent development of the Russian Federation. describe the most important features of the current Russian regime. assess the validity of critiques on Putin s roles as president and prime minister of the Russian Federation. explain why Gorbachev s attempts to reform government and politics of the USSR failed. assess the roles of political stability and economic growth in the politics and political culture of the Russian Federation. describe the role of foreign policy in the politics of the Russian Federation.

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7 Déjà Vu All Over Again Putin left presidency in 2008; handpicked successor Medvedev won 75% of the vote Medvedev appointed Putin prime minister Political life in Russia controlled by elites Rival political parties created by Putin Russian economy dependent on oil and gas

8 Thinking about Russia The Basics Geography: a huge country at high northern latitudes; sixth most populous country Diversity: Dozens of cultural and ethnic identities preserved into the 21st century tensions exist Poverty: A poor country that got poorer after 1989 until oil prices began rising The Environment: Pollution and the health problems it causes are endemic all across the country

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11 Thinking about Russia Key Questions How and why did the USSR collapse? How has the legacy of the USSR affected Russia? Will Putin s successors be able to strengthen and stabilize the state? In so doing, will they also be able to make the regime more democratic and legitimate? Can they build stronger and more broadly accepted institutions now that the economy is rebounding? How will Russia adapt to its new international role in which it remains a major power in some military arenas, but is increasingly buffeted by global economic forces beyond its control?

12 The Evolution of the Russian State The Broad Sweep of Russian History For centuries, Russia was invaded and overrun Solidified itself as one of Europe s major powers by the early-19 th century Transformations such as reformation, individualism, and scientific revolution did not have impact on the development of the state

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14 The Evolution of the Russian State Prelude to Revolution Backwardness in a European context Not industrialized Few democratic reforms Reforms under Alexander II came to a halt with Alexander III A weak state, especially with the last tsar, in which neither domestic nor foreign policy worked

15 The Evolution of the Russian State Prelude to Revolution By 1890 s, political dissidents formed a small group of Marxists Lenin believed Russian state could not wait to develop for a Marxist revolution New revolutionary organization relied on democratic centralism Mensheviks vs. Bolsheviks 1917 Revolution Provisional government overthrow Civil War 1918 Cheka 1921 Bolsheviks gained country of entire country and created USSR

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17 The Evolution of the Russian State Stalin, Terror, and the Modernization Lenin criticized Bolshevik leadership before he died Forced industrialization Based on squeezing all possible surpluses out of agriculture to make industrial development possible Used brutal force to collectivize farms Five year plan to double industrial production Foreign policy: Moving from world revolution to socialism in one country, to united fronts against fascism, to the Cold War The Purges: The elimination of anyone who threatened or was thought to be a future threat to Stalin s leadership

18 The Evolution of the Russian State Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and the Politics of Decline Khrushchev s secret speech to party leaders Peaceful co-existence Cuban Missile Crisis and removal of Khrushchev from office Conservative consolidation of power resulted in economic and technological decline

19 The Evolution of the Russian State The Collapse of the Soviet State: The Gorbachev Years Willing reformer; unwilling to take on party state Party structure remained the same party congress, central committee, politburo, secretariat, nomenklatura

20 The Evolution of the Russian State The Collapse of the Soviet State: The Gorbachev Years Glasnost greater transparency in party and government operation; 1986 Chernobyl Democratization Removed Article 6 Congress of people s deputies Perestroika economic restructuring, not fully implemented Small scale private ownership, agricultural reform, joint ventures with foreign investors Foreign policy ended the Cold War

21 Figure 9.1: The Communist Party of the Soviet Union

22 FIGURE 9-2 The Changing Soviet Political Landscape

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24 The Evolution of the Russian State Crisis and Collapse State grew weaker and more divided under Gorbachev Gorbachev elevated hard-liners Union treaty Security services led coup to replace Gorbachev and Yeltsin Disintegration of the satellite states and USSR

25 Between Dictatorship and Birth Pangs Democracy Former Communist Party members still dominated government; hardliners resisted reforms New spectrum of competing political ideas Communist Party of the Russian Federation Radical reformers who advocated shock therapy 93 coup attempt and new constitution 95 and 96 elections led to political deadlock

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27 Between Dictatorship and Putin and Stability Democracy Elected president and consolidated power Since 2000, Putin has centralized power more and more on presidency Handpicked successor Medvedev president; he appointed Putin prime minister Personalities of leaders matter more than institutional structures

28 Political Culture and Participation Political Culture Open, voluntary participation and public-opinion polling new Most want a democratic regime and not happy with the way it is working Not all Russians believe the regime is legitimate Widespread suspicion over positions of authority Voters believe the system is better than the one it replaced Generational differences Weak civil society, registration of NGO s Impact of economic crisis of 2009

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31 Political Culture and Participation Political Parties and Elections Floating party system means that people don t identify with a party Putin s manipulation of parties reduces their legitimacy and increases alienation - Government control of TV stations

32 Political Culture and Participation Political Parties and Elections 1993 electoral referendum 1993 referendum on new constitution Until 2007, elections modeled after German system Presidential electoral system modeled after French, although there has not been a need for a run-off ballot in recent elections

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34 Political Culture and Participation Political Parties Today Putin controls almost all important political parties United Russia Promotes interest of leadership Just Russia competition created by the power elite will not contest for real power Communist Party of the Russian Federation is a nationalistic, social democratic (self-labeled) party that is a nation-wide organization losing support everywhere Two weak reformist parties, both losing support Yabloko favors democracy and social welfare system Union of Right Forces favors drastic economic restructuring Anti-democratic parties Liberal Democrats, anti- Semitic, super nationalistic party

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40 The Russian State Institutions not mentioned in constitution have power Personalization of power The presidency: Center of growing power - Two-ballot system not necessary in recent years - President can dissolve Duma if it rejects president s choice for prime minister three times in a row - Power concentrated in power ministries - Prime minister has previously exercised little authority; has changed with Putin s decision to serve as prime minister

41 The Russian State The Oligarchs Beneficiaries of privatization and corruption who had access to Yeltsin New oligarchs loyal to Putin, who must remain loyal to preserve their positions Control media outlets

42 The Russian State Parliament: Weak in early years because of disunity; weak now because of loyalty to president - Federation Council: Can do little except delay passage of legislation - State Duma: Elected by proportional representation, cannot force the executive to enforce laws it passes, no ability to cast vote of no confidence - Acts like disciplined parliamentary majority

43 The Russian State The bureaucracy: dominated by old Soviet elite; distrusted by current power elite The judiciary - Progress has been made - Putin s reforms brought court under political control - Rule of law frequently violated

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45 FIGURE 9-3 Decision Making in Russia

46 The Russian State The Federation Ethnic minorities contend with Russians and each other Hundreds of groups the largest of which, the Tartars, make up 4% Chechnya Georgia Putin s reforms have weakened power of republics and regions governments 2000 seven new Federal Districts The military: Will it stay out of politics? Frustration with economic well-being, many not being paid

47 The Economy Public Policy Shock therapy or slow reform? Privatization for small-scale business quickly and successfully adapted Large-scale industries: Complex and corrupt processes, led to creation of oligarchs Citizens received $25 to purchase stocks Shares made available to firm s managers Open to foreign investment

48 Public Policy The Economy Economic shrinkage of 1990s was 6% a year Economic growth since then has been 5% a year Based on oil and gas industries and rising energy prices Most Russians still poor, but has new middle class, has more billionaires than any other country

49 Foreign Policy Public Policy Difficult for U.S. and Russia to adapt to new post-communist world - Nuclear disarmament - U.S. worried about ethnic conflict - Post- 9/11 improved relations - Russia did not see Iraq and Iran as targets for the war on terror - North Korea

50 Feedback Opening of media in 90s was enthusiastically received and used Since 2000, Putin has led the consolidation of media into the hands of loyal oligarchs and the government Under 10% of population has Internet access Conclusion: Half empty or half full: The future is difficult to discern; optimism and pessimism seem equally justifiable

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