Authoritarian Russia

Authoritarian Russia: Analyzing Post-Soviet Regime Changes

VLADIMIR GEL’MAN
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 184
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt155jmv1
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  • Book Info
    Authoritarian Russia
    Book Description:

    Russia today represents one of the major examples of the phenomenon of "electoral authoritarianism" which is characterized by adopting the trappings of democratic institutions (such as elections, political parties, and a legislature) and enlisting the service of the country's essentially authoritarian rulers. Why and how has the electoral authoritarian regime been consolidated in Russia? What are the mechanisms of its maintenance, and what is its likely future course? This book attempts to answer these basic questions.Vladimir Gel'man examines regime change in Russia from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 to the present day, systematically presenting theoretical and comparative perspectives of the factors that affected regime changes and the authoritarian drift of the country. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia's national political elites aimed to achieve their goals by creating and enforcing of favorable "rules of the game" for themselves and maintaining informal winning coalitions of cliques around individual rulers. In the 1990s, these moves were only partially successful given the weakness of the Russian state and troubled post-socialist economy. In the 2000s, however, Vladimir Putin rescued the system thanks to the combination of economic growth and the revival of the state capacity he was able to implement by imposing a series of non-democratic reforms. In the 2010s, changing conditions in the country have presented new risks and challenges for the Putin regime that will play themselves out in the years to come.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-8093-3
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. IX-X)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. XI-XVI)
  5. CHAPTER 1 REGIME CHANGES IN RUSSIA THE ROAD OF DISILLUSIONMENT
    (pp. 1-16)

    AUGUST 22, 1991, WAS a genuine holiday, when crowds of happy people occupied central squares in Moscow, Leningrad, and some other major Russian cities. Sometimes even those who were barely acquainted or had never met wholeheartedly congratulated each other. They celebrated the ultimate failure of the coup organized by certain conservative Communist leaders of the Soviet government and the victory of the new political actors led by the popularly elected president Boris Yeltsin and the Russian parliament, who had defended the ideals of freedom and democracy. At the time, this event was merely perceived as a successful completion of the...

  6. CHAPTER 2 RUSSIA’S FLIGHT FROM FREEDOM WHY?
    (pp. 17-42)

    IN SEPTEMBER 2009, Vladimir Milov, the former deputy minister for energy of the Russian government and at that time one of the leaders of the oppositional Solidarity movement, announced his candidacy for the Moscow city legislative elections as an independent candidate. In accordance with electoral law, Milov collected 4,550 signatures from voters in electoral district No. 13, as necessary for official registration of his candidacy, and submitted them to the district electoral commission. But the electoral commission denied Milov’s registration, and labeled all voter signatures (including Milov’s own) legally invalid. Despite numerous appeals by Milov for revision of this verdict...

  7. CHAPTER 3 THE ROARING 1990s CONFLICTS AND COMPROMISES
    (pp. 43-70)

    ON THE EVENING OF December 25, 1991, the Soviet red flag was lowered from the Kremlin and the new Russian tricolor flag was raised in its place. The Soviet Union officially disappeared from the world political map, and new independent states (including Russia) emerged from its ruins. The Soviet collapse met little resistance in Russia by that time, and even emotional reactions were negligible: it was an event similar to the legal divorce of former spouses whose marriage was already de facto over. Post-Soviet countries were forced to choose their own pathways of political transformation and faced multiple problems of...

  8. CHAPTER 4 THE (IN) FAMOUS 2000s IMPOSED CONSENSUS
    (pp. 71-98)

    ONE CAN IMAGINE THE reactions of an attentive and devoted observer of Russia’s domestic politics who fell asleep, Rip van Winkle-like, in late August 1998 and awakened exactly ten years after, in late August 2008. It is quite likely that this observer would not recognize the country that had served as a focus of his/her interests, at least at first glance. He or she would be very surprised at the major ongoing changes. A deep and protracted transformation recession had been replaced by a decade of impressive economic growth and positive developmental trends of socioeconomic indicators (though these tendencies came...

  9. CHAPTER 5 THE UNPREDICTABLE 2010s RISING CHALLENGES
    (pp. 99-128)

    ON FEBRUARY 21, 2014, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev, leaving his post after three months of large-scale street protests in the center of the capital. These protests began when Yanukovych, under strong pressure from Russia, refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union. The government used various means of countering these protests, including shooting some of the regime’s rivals, but in the end the result was the de facto ousting of Yanukovych: the day after his escape, the Ukrainian parliament voted for his removal from the job and called for new presidential elections.¹ As the Kremlin condemned...

  10. CHAPTER 6 THE AGENDA FOR TOMORROW
    (pp. 129-154)

    FOR SOCIAL AND POLITICAL scientists, there is probably nothing more in demand, and at the same time more speculative, than the business of predicting the future. Just as economists are expected to predict global oil prices and the dynamics of stock exchanges, political scientists are valued in the eyes of politicians as well as the public primarily for their forecasts of domestic and international politics, rather than for their theoretical explanatory schemes and/or methodological sophistication. And if someone is able to make assumptions that prove to be factually correct over time, and then he or she may be rewarded irrespective...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 155-200)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 201-208)