Popular Choice and Managed Democracy

Popular Choice and Managed Democracy: The Russian Elections of 1999 and 2000

Timothy J. Colton
Michael McFaul
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Popular Choice and Managed Democracy
    Book Description:

    Twice in the winter of 1999-2000, citizens of the Russian Federation flocked to their neighborhood voting stations and scratched their ballots in an atmosphere of uncertainty, rancor, and fear. This book is a tale of these two elections -one for the 450-seat Duma, the other for President. Despite financial crisis, a national security emergency in Chechnya, and cabinet instability, Russian voters unexpectedly supported the status quo. The elected lawmakers prepared to cooperate with the executive branch, a gift that had eluded President Boris Yeltsin since he imposed a post-Soviet constitution by referendum in 1993. When Yeltsin retired six months in advance of schedule, the presidential mantle went to Vladimir Putin -a career KGB officer who fused new and old ways of doing politics. Putin was easily elected President in his own right. This book demonstrates key trends in an extinct superpower, a troubled country in whose stability, modernization, and openness to the international community the West still has a huge stake.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-9619-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Introduction: The Transition within the Transition
    (pp. 1-14)

    This book is a tale of linked political events: a pair of recent elections in the heir to an extinct superpower, a troubled nation in whose stability, modernization, and openness to the global community the West still has a huge stake. A multitude of players jockeyed for advantage there. One particular group, to the amazement of most involved and the consternation of some, prevailed. We aim to explain how and why that happened and what difference it makes to the country, its postcommunist transition, and us on the outside.

    Twice in the winter of 1999–2000, 75 million citizens of...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Setting the Scene
    (pp. 15-46)

    The transition paradigm has lately come under fire from scholars and policy specialists for “democratic teleology” that blurs the difference between the tearing down of failed authoritarian regimes and the building up of successful democratic ones.¹ Inasmuch as the paradigm rests on wishful thinking about unidirectional and irreversible progress, with a textbook liberal democracy as the blissful destination, a dose of skepticism is overdue. When it comes to Russia and Eurasia, optimism is in shorter supply today than ten or fifteen years ago, as nations travel at varying speeds and not infrequently along disparate paths. Some make strides toward Western...

  6. CHAPTER 3 The Party of Power
    (pp. 47-78)

    The relatively serene transitions from communism to democracy in East Central Europe reflect a common electoral sequence. Democratic insurgents rout the communist old guard in the first competitive elections and set in motion economic reforms. Soon their policies antagonize voters and drive wedges in the reformers’ own ranks. The first-round victors tend to lose in second-round elections to reconfigured communist and social-democratic parties. This “pendulum effect,” elegantly modeled by Adam Przeworski, has also been visible in some noncommunist transitions. Third-round elections in the region vary greatly. By then, though, power has usually changed hands twice, and politicians have begun to...

  7. CHAPTER 4 The Party of Hubris
    (pp. 79-107)

    Fatherland–all russia was in certain respects Unity’s twin. Like Unity, it was a by-product of the political disarray that gripped Russia’s elite in the late 1990s, as economic and social problems piled up and Boris Yeltsin’s authority waned. Both blocs were plugged into the state apparatus, at the national and regional levels, and aimed to use it to move into positions of control. Both took the parliamentary election to be a preliminary round to the more important duel over the presidency in 2000. Thus it was for credible reasons that analysts at first affixed the same label to OVR...

  8. CHAPTER 5 The Communists
    (pp. 108-138)

    If the 1999–2000 elections were about opportunities blown as much as opportunities seized, it was arguably the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) and not Fatherland–All Russia that squandered the main chance. The economic woes that culminated in the debacle of August 1998 seemed to a good many Russians to be smoothing the way for a communist resurgence. Boris Yeltsin himself, reeling from the crash of the ruble, felt compelled to propose secretly in 1998 that a KPRF front-bencher, Yurii Maslyukov—once the chairman of Gosplan, the USSR’s industrial planning agency—become prime minister.¹ When Maslyukov demurred...

  9. CHAPTER 6 The Liberals
    (pp. 139-170)

    Modern russian liberalism is a child of the country’s unfinished democratic and capitalist revolution and exemplifies the complexities and contradictions of the transition. Its primary authors, hitching their star to a charismatic rebel from the Soviet nomenklatura, Boris Yeltsin, outdid their wildest dreams in dynamiting the old order and then using the state apparatus to launch radical economic reforms. No sooner was that done than the pact with Yeltsin frayed and the liberals scattered into antagonistic factions. In the first post-Soviet election, in 1993, the Russia’s Choice movement was simultaneously the tribune of liberal reform and the party of power....

  10. CHAPTER 7 Putin
    (pp. 171-197)

    By the time most of them went to bed on Sunday, March 26, 2000, Russians knew for sure that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was to be their second president. Putin had been a focal player in the election cycle from the day he was brought in as prime minister the previous August. What makes his ascent unusual in the annals of democracies and half-democracies is that this landslide winner in a presidential election, on the back of a parliamentary election in which his allies did astonishingly well, wanted to have nothing to do with thecampaignprocess and was able to...

  11. CHAPTER 8 Results, Consequences, and Implications for U.S. Policy
    (pp. 198-229)

    Having traced the electoral cycle from start to finish, we are now in a position to review its results and to consider consequences for the Russian political system and implications for American foreign policy.

    Throughout this volume, we have adduced many pieces of evidence about the factors that brought tens of millions of Russians to vote the way they did. The reader who wishes to see them neatly collated can turn to the total-effects tables in appendix table B-1 for the Duma election and table B-2 for the presidential election. Appendix tables B-3 and B-4 present group effects, the conjoint...

  12. APPENDIX A The Survey Work
    (pp. 230-231)
  13. APPENDIX B A Statistical Model of the Vote
    (pp. 232-240)
  14. APPENDIX C The Mass Media and the Elections
    (pp. 241-246)
  15. APPENDIX D Tracing the Flow of the Vote
    (pp. 247-254)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 255-306)
  17. Index
    (pp. 307-317)