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Poli330 Chap8

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Political Science …

Political Science
Russia

Published in: Education, News & Politics

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Transcript

  • 1. Russia Chapter 8
  • 2. Basic Facts
    • Total area: 1.8 times larger than U.S.
    • Pop: 143.5 million
    • Administrative structure: federal system, 89 subnational governments
      • Executive: dual executive – president and prime minister
      • Legislative: bicameral. Upper house – Federation Council. Lower house – state Duma
      • Multiparty system with dominant party – United Russia
  • 3.
    • Russia largest European country in population and size
      • Largest country in world – ten time zones
    • Dec 1991 – Soviet Union ended - eventual formation of Russian Federation (one of 15 successor states)
    • 73% people live in urban areas
    • Abundant natural resources: oil, natural gas, mineral resources (gold & diamonds), forests
      • Oil and natural gas – main trading resources
  • 4. Critical Junctures
    • Before 1917
      • Tsar – monarch/emperor – autocratic state
      • Patrimonial state – state not only ruled country, but owned land as well
        • Agricultural system – tied peasants to nobles, state, or church (serfdom)
        • Serfs emancipated by Tsar Alexander II 1861 – attempted to modernize Russia
        • Middle class (bourgeoisie) failed to emerge in Russia – unlike Western Europe
        • Trade unions illegal until 1906 – after revolution of 1905
  • 5.
    • Bolshevik Revolution & Soviet Union (1917-1929)
      • First revolution – March 1917 – provisional government
      • November 1917 – Bolsheviks (Vladimir Lenin) took power – “land, peace and bread” slogan appealed to peasants
      • Extended civil war – 1918-1921 – whites v. reds
      • Originally – democratic centralism – hierarchical party structure
        • Vanguard party concept– party leaders better able to understand interests of “the people”
  • 6.
    • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) – aka Soviet Union - officially formed 1922
      • Gradual change from democratic concepts to authoritarian rule
      • Lenin died 1924 – rise of Joseph Stalin – Trotsky & Bukharin exiles
      • Period of international isolation – until WWII
      • Rapid industrialization and increased political control
      • Lenin’s hope for other revolutions in Western Europe did not materialize
  • 7. Stalin 1929-1953
    • Changes under Stalin – consolidation of economic, political, ideological power
      • State ownership of land, factories, houses, stores
      • Collectivization of farms – led to famine, millions peasants died
      • Industry – focus on heavy industries (dams, mills) – production of consumer goods neglected
      • Social upheaval – people forced to move to cities
      • Dissidents killed or exiled to Siberia
      • Isolation of citizens from outside world key to Stalinist control
  • 8.
    • Soviet Union and WWII
      • Nazis invaded Soviet Union 1941 – Stalin joined Allied forces
      • War casualties high – 27 million died (19 million civilians)
      • Major force in defeat of Axis powers
      • After war – Allies allowed USSR to absorb new territories – Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldavia, western Ukraine
        • Allowed to reshape governments in eastern Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, & Romania
        • Local Communist parties in these countries gained control
        • Became the “Soviet Bloc”
  • 9. Post-Stalin - 1953-1985
    • Stalin’s death 1953 – triggered another critical juncture – Cold War had begun after WWII
    • Nikita Khrushchev – party leader from 1955-1964 – attempt to de-Stalinize – thaw in political & cultural life
    • Leonid Brezhnev – 1964-1982
      • Much stricter controls – but predictable
      • Dissidents were arrested or exiled
      • Tacit social contract – in exchange for political compliance, people had job security, lax work environments, free social services, minimal interference in personal life. Intelligentsia – more freedom to discuss issues
  • 10. Mikhail Gorbachev 1985-1991
    • Instituted four important concepts of reform
      • Perestroika (restructuring)
        • Individual enterprises allowed
      • Glasnost (openness)
        • Relaxed controls on public debate & publications
      • Demokratizatsiia (Gorby’s concept of democracy)
        • Political responsive to public – basic elections
      • “ New Thinking”
        • Specifically foreign policy – rethinking international power in nonmilitary terms
  • 11.
    • Gorbachev’s policies triggered change in relationship between state and society in USSR
    • His greatest success in foreign policy
      • Military buildup of USSR halted – arms agreements with US
      • Cold War was “over” by late 1980s
    • Awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1991
  • 12. Russian Federation 1991 to present
    • Gorbachev removed from power 1991
    • Boris Yeltsin & others responsible for formation of Russian Federation Dec 1991
    • Commitment to Western-style democracy and economic reform
    • 1993 –showdown between Yeltsin & parliament
    • Economic reforms – not successful – led to political crisis
    • Yeltsin ill by 1999 – resigned – nominated Vladimir Putin as prime minister to take control (former KGB)
    • Current president – Dmitry Medvedev (elected March 2008)
  • 13. Themes in Russian politics
    • Tradition of strong state control
    • Intertwining of politics, economics, ideology – make it difficult to create democracy and economic reform at same time
    • Four transition processes initiated in early 1990s – tried to tackle all at once
      • Democratization
      • Market reform
      • Redefinition of national identity
      • Integration into world economy
  • 14.
    • Russian culture may have inhibited adaptation to market economy:
      • Weak tradition of entrepreneurship
      • Widespread commitment to egalitarian values
      • Reliance on personal trust vs written contracts
      • Profit less important than support for friends & coworkers
      • However, younger Russians more able to adapt to economic conditions – different expectations
  • 15. Social policy
    • Under Soviet system – citizens received extensive benefits
      • Guaranteed employment & job security
      • Retirement age 55 women, 60 for men
      • System plagued by shortages & low-quality service
      • Labor productivity low, work discipline weak – “we pretend to work, they pretend to pay us”
      • Relatively low level of inequality
  • 16.
    • Russians thus expected broad range of social welfare benefits – but weak economy prevented widespread assistance
    • In 1990s, increasing homelessness & poverty – gap between rich & poor
    • Unemployment rate 8-9% in 2004
    • Higher rates crime, suicide, alcoholism – have declined in past couple of years
  • 17. Organization of the State
    • New constitution in 1993 affirms principles of liberal democratic governance:
      • Multiparties – competitive elections
      • Separation of powers
      • Independent judiciary
      • Federalism
      • Protection of individual civil liberties
      • Strength of president’s executive power
  • 18.
    • Executive
      • Semipresidential system – resembles French system – but stronger executive power
      • President is head of state
      • Prime minister (appointed by president, approved by Duma) – head of government – can be removed by two no confidence votes
      • President elected directly – every four years, limit two consecutive terms
      • President – authority to issue decrees, which have force of law until legislation passed – but can be annulled.
      • Commander in chief of armed forces
      • If president dies, prime minister steps in until new elections
  • 19.
    • The Legislature – Federal Assembly
    • Power in legislative & budgetary areas
      • Lower house – Duma
        • 450 members direct popular election
        • Named after assembly formed under tsar – Russian vs Soviet tradition
        • Elections every four years
        • Elects own speakers
        • Main legislative branch
      • Upper house – Federation Council
        • Two members from each of Russia’s federal regions
        • One appointed by regional executive, one by regional legislature
        • Prominent businessman among appointees
        • Not much power
  • 20. Political Parties
    • Shift from single party to multiparty system
    • In early 1990s, formed around prominent individuals
    • Dominant party now, United Russia Party – draws on following tendencies (but more Centrist)
    • Four party tendencies:
      • Traditional left – critical of market reform & mildly nationalistic
      • Liberal-reform forces – favor Western-style market reform
      • Centrist “parties of power” – political elite
      • Nationalistic/patriotic forces – national identity issues
  • 21. Ongoing Issues
    • National identity – haunted by Soviet past
      • Independence of states – Chechnya – human rights violations
    • Revolution – again? Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan examples
    • Religion – Russian Orthodox Church
    • Propaganda through electronic media
    • Effective use of natural resources
    • Economy – large gap between rich & poor
    • Nuclear arsenal – protecting from terrorists
    • Recent Georgia incident