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Comparative Government and Politics - Russia: Transitional Democracy

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  1. 1. RUSSIA Maria Jiwani B. Laña
  2. 2. RUSSIA Transitional Democracy
  3. 3. Historical Development Politics Government Economy
  5. 5. • Russia has been under authoritative rule for most of its history • Early monarchs followed by the rule of the czars led the Russian people to embrace that style
  6. 6. The Czars • As a country ruled by the czars, Russia enjoyed some degree of stability, although a new leader meant a new regime. • The people as a whole were very poor and had little means of resisting their rulers
  7. 7. The Czars • When the czarist regime finally fell, it gave way to Lenin and the Marxists. • This philosophy took hold easily with the repressed working class of Russia. • The people responded well to a strong leader.
  8. 8. WW2 & ITS INFLUENCE • With Stalin in power, the second World War was a lightning rod for Russian nationalism. • Instilled a sense of pride that persists even in todays Duma. • Solidified the power of the Communist government and consolidated the Soviet Union.
  9. 9. Russia under Communists • The Economy –Although Russia's market system was purely socialistic, the nation became an economic superpower. –Under Stalin, Russia became highly industrialized. –Competition with the United States drove development of new technologies.
  10. 10. Russia under Communists • The Military and Secret Police –Russia became a major military superpower, and many of its generals became extremely influential in Russian society. –The KGB kept a close eye on both the Russian people and Americans, and the secret police had a very tight grip on society
  11. 11. Russia under Communists • The People and their Freedoms –Under communism, personal freedoms took a backseat; the state was always the most important –Liberties enjoyed by Western democracies were not shared by the Russian people, but due to propaganda, fear, and a history of obedience, the people didn't rise up
  12. 12. Rise of Putin • Putin's rise to power can be directly linked to the societal upheaval following the fall of the USSR. • Weak leadership and a floundering economy left an opening for the then unknown Putin. • He promised stability and a stronger state, and he delivered
  13. 13. President Putin & the Current Government • Putin turned Russia again towards an executive run nation. • His own party, United Russia, was formed to help ensure his policies would pass through the Duma. • Formed a strong hold on two of three branches of government
  14. 14. Putin’s Policies • A major problem in Russia was the power of the oligarchs. • The political elite in Russia siphoned off huge sums of money, and coupled with corruption, crippled the Russian people economically.
  15. 15. Putin’s Policies • In order to regain some Russia's lost lands, Putin took major military action against Chechnya, a breakaway Islamic republic in the south. • With a puppet leader in place, Putin claimed a victory for Russia and began forming his image as a decisive leader
  16. 16. Putin’s Policies • Realizing Russia's major energy potential, Putin has taken large steps towards increasing the nation's oil production. • Putin has also begun rearming the country's military to Soviet Union levels in an attempt to re-establish the nation as a superpower.
  17. 17. Putin’s Policies • Putin looks down on “blocs” of countries such as NATO; much of Russia finds the organization to be either useless or a threat to the country's influence • As a UN Security Council member, Putin has attempted to block many actions that he feels would limit Russian power or increase that of the US
  18. 18. Sovereignty & Authority • The issue of who has the right to rule in Russia has a history of being questioned. • Under the czars and communists, strong authoritarian figures subjected the people to their will, yet differing factions continuously fought for control
  19. 19. Sovereignty & Authority • In today's society, the oligarchs, people, and government all have differing opinions on the optimal use of power • With Russia, power is generally concentrated in the hands of whoever fights hardest to gain it; historically, the people have rarely fought for power, and therefore it is maintained by the government
  20. 20. Maintenance of Power • Like a typical federal system, Russia operates as the people wish; representatives are elected popularly, as is the president. • Standard taxes and tariffs help maintain the nation's economy, and the government generally provides for the people. • Authority is centred strongly in the executive, who makes decisions for “the good of Russia”
  21. 21. GOVERNMENT
  22. 22. Overview • Form of Government- Federal Presidential Republic • President - Head of the State • Prime Minister – Head of the Government • Legislature(Federal Assembly) – Bicameral • Federation Council – Upper house • State Duma – Lower house • Constitution – written, 1993 constitution • Voting Qualifications- universal at 18 years old • Highest Court - Supreme Court
  23. 23. Transition • Fundamental changes took place in the political system and government structures of the Soviet Union that altered both the nature of the Soviet federal state and the status and powers of the individual republics. • From the late 1980s through 1991—the period of Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika (“restructuring”), glasnost (“openness”), and demokratizatsiya (“democratization”) reform policies
  24. 24. Glasnost (Openness) • Open discussion of political, social, and economic issues • Allowed for open criticism of government and government policies • Gorbachev stressed that the ultimate test of the party lay in improving the economic well- being of the country and it’s people – Open market relations – Pragmatic economic policy – Less secretive government
  25. 25. Perestroika – “Restructuring” • Loosened controls of the Communist Party, allowing group formation in other sectors of society • Economic Restructuring – Modernization from within – Transfer economic power from central government to private hands and market economy • Authorization of privately owned companies • Penalties for under-performing state factories • Price reforms • Encouragement of joint ventures with foreign companies • Leasing of farm land outside the collective farms
  26. 26. Demokratizatsiya • Gorbachev wanted to insert some democratic characteristics into the old Soviet structure • However, he did want to maintain Communist Party control • Reforms included: 1. A new Congress of People’s Deputies with directly elected representatives 2. New position of “President” that was selected by the Congress • Deputies were often critical of Gorbachev • Increasing levels of displeasure with government from both liberal and conservative members of Communist Party
  27. 27. • Russia is a federal system operating under a constitution that was written after the fall of the Soviet Union
  28. 28. The Constitution • The new constitution maintained many of the same rules that existed under Soviet rule, suggesting that the Russian people are not fond of change • It did establish a three branch federal system that would promote a democratic style of government and ensure the rights of the people would be protected
  29. 29. The Constitution • The 1993 constitution declares Russia a democratic, federative, law-based state with a republican form of government. • State power is divided among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. • Diversity of ideologies and religions is sanctioned, and a state or compulsory ideology may not be adopted.
  30. 30. The Constitution • The right to a multiparty political system is upheld. • The content of laws must be made public before they take effect, and they must be formulated in accordance with international law and principles. • Russian is proclaimed the state language, although the republics of the federation are allowed to establish their own state languages for use alongside Russian
  31. 31. The Federation Council The State Duma President Premier Deputy Chairmen Ministries Constitutional Court Supreme Court Supreme Court of Arbitration Prosecutor General
  32. 32. President Prime Minister Citizens, entitled to vote(over 18 years old) Constitutional Court Supreme Court Supreme Court of Arbitration Federal Assembly State DumaFederation Council 450 seats166 deputies form 83 federal subjects (2 delegates from each subjects, 1 from an executive body and one from a representative body) nominates confirms nominates confirms
  33. 33. President Premier Deputy Chairmen Ministries The President is the head of state. Elected by popular vote every six years for a maximum of two consecutive terms.
  34. 34. President Premier Deputy Chairmen Ministries  Empowered to appoint the chairman of the government, key judges and cabinet members.  Can declare Martial Law
  35. 35. President Premier Deputy Chairmen Ministries The commander-in- chief of the armed forces. Can veto legislative bills.
  36. 36. President Premier Deputy Chairmen Ministries Determines the direction of Russia’s domestic and foreign policy. Can issue decrees and directives that have the force of law without legislative review.
  37. 37. President Premier Deputy Chairmen Ministries Has the prerogatives of scheduling referendums, submitting draft laws to the State Duma and promulgating federal laws.
  38. 38. President Premier Deputy Chairmen Ministries • The State Duma may file impeachment charges with the Federation Council if the President commits grave crimes or treason. • A two-thirds vote of the Federation Councils required for the removal.
  39. 39. President Premier Deputy Chairmen Ministries With no vice- president, if anything happens to president the PM assumes the office of president.
  40. 40. President Premier Deputy Chairmen Ministries He nominates all subordinate Government positions.
  41. 41. The Federation Council The State Duma  The upper house in the Russian Federal Assembly.  It has 170 members known as Senators  Each 5 federal subjects of Russia sends two members to the council.
  42. 42. The Federation Council The State Duma  Deals primarily with issues of concern to the subnational jurisdictions, such as adjustments to internal borders and decrees of the president establishing martial law or states of emergency.
  43. 43. The State Duma It also has responsibilities in confirming and removing the procurator general and confirming justices of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the Superior Court of Arbitration, upon the recommendation of the president. The Federation Council
  44. 44. The State Duma  The Federation Council also is entrusted with the final decision if the State Duma recommends removing the president from office. The Federation Council
  45. 45. The Federation Council The State Duma • Lower House • 450 deputies • Passes Bills • Approves Budgets • Confirms president’s political appointments
  46. 46. The Federation Council The State Duma o Draft laws may originate in either legislative chamber, or they may be submitted by the president, the Government, local legislatures, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, or the Superior Court of Arbitration.
  47. 47. The Federation Council The State Duma • Draft laws are first considered in the State Duma. • Upon adoption by a majority of the full State Duma membership, a draft law is considered by the Federation Council, which has fourteen days to place the bill on its calendar.
  48. 48. The Federation Council The State Duma • Conciliation commissions are the prescribed procedure to work out differences in bills considered by both chambers.
  49. 49. The Federation Council The State Duma • The two chambers of the legislature also have the power to override a presidential veto of legislation. The constitution provides a high hurdle for an override, however, requiring at least a two- thirds vote of the total number of members of both chambers.
  50. 50. Supreme Court Supreme Court of Arbitration Prosecutor General • The Constitutional Court is presided over by 19 judges • Appointed to life terms • Judges for both the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court must be at least 25 years of age and hold a law degree. Constitutional Court
  51. 51. Constitutional Court Supreme Court Supreme Court of Arbitration Prosecutor General decides whether federal laws, presidential and federal decrees and directives, and local constitutions, charters, and laws comply with the federal constitution.
  52. 52. Constitutional Court Supreme Court Supreme Court of Arbitration Prosecutor General Treaties between the national government and a regional jurisdiction and between regional jurisdictions are subject to the same oversight.
  53. 53. Supreme Court Supreme Court of Arbitration Prosecutor General Constitutional Court  The Constitutional Court has the power of judicial review, which enables it to rule on the constitutionality of laws.
  54. 54. Constitutional Court Supreme Court Supreme Court of Arbitration Prosecutor General  Russia's highest court of origination and of appeals for consideration of criminal, civil, and administrative cases.
  55. 55. Constitutional Court Supreme Court Supreme Court of Arbitration Prosecutor General  the highest court for the resolution of economic disputes. Courts of arbitration also exist at lower jurisdictional levels.
  56. 56. Local and Regional Government
  57. 57. • Although the Soviet Union was highly centralized, it still maintained a federal government structure. • Russian Federation has retained this model, with the current regime consisting of 89 regions, 21 of which are ethnically non-Russian by majority. • Each region is bound by treaty to the Federation, not all have officially signed on (Chechnya)
  58. 58. • Most regions are called “republics” • Many republics ruled themselves independently, but Putin has cracked down on this. • Putin ended direct election of the 89 regional governors, they are now nominated by the president and confirmed by the regional legislatures
  59. 59. Administrative Divisions • oblasti (regions), • minority republics, • okruga (autonomous districts), • kraya (territories), • federal cities (Moscow and St. Petersburg), • and the one autonomous oblast
  60. 60. • Some local authorities, particularly in urban centres, exercise significant power and are responsible for taxation and the licensing of businesses. Moscow and St. Petersburg have particularly strong local governments, with both possessing a tax base and government structure that dwarf the country's other regions. Local councils in smaller communities are commonly rubber-stamp agencies, accountable to the city administrator, who is appointed by the regional governor.
  61. 61. • In the mid-1990s, municipal government was restructured. City councils (dumas), city mayors, and city administrators replaced former city soviets.
  62. 62. • The constitution gives equal power to each of the country's administrative divisions in the Federal Assembly. However, the power of the divisions was diluted in 2000 when seven federal districts (Central, Far East, Northwest, Siberia, Southern, Urals, and Volga), each with its own presidential envoy, were established by the central government
  63. 63. • The districts' presidential envoys were given the power to implement federal law and to coordinate communication between the president and the regional governors. Legally, the envoys in federal districts had solely the power of communicating the executive guidance of the federal president. In practice, however, the guidance served more as a directive, as the president was able to use the envoys to enforce presidential authority over the regional governments.
  64. 64. • In comparison to the federal government, regional governments generally have inadequate tax revenue to support mandatory items in their budgets, which have barely been able to cover wages for teachers and police. The budgets of regional governments also are overburdened by pensions.
  65. 65. • Russia has multiple political parties, although only a few are consistently represented in the Duma • Most ideologies are represented, although some more often than others
  66. 66. Political Parties • United Russia: the vehicle of Putin's ideology • Communist Party: leftist party, remnant of the Soviets • Liberal Democratic Party: supports the working- class, very nationalistic • Motherland-People's Patriotic Union: in favor of democracy and morality to form a stronger state • Union of Right Forces: Pro-market, pro- democratic reforms
  67. 67. Presidential Election • All citizens at least age 18 are eligible to vote. • Presidential elections are contested in two rounds; if no candidate receives a majority in the first round, there is a runoff between the top two candidates.
  68. 68. Electoral Rules for State Duma • Similar to Germany’s hybrid system • each voter has 2 votes –1 for a candidate for that district’s seat –1 for a registered party on the party list • half of Duma (225 seats) elected from single-member districts • half of Duma (225 seats) selected by parties according to vote share (> 5%)
  69. 69. 37.60% 12.60% 11.50% 9% 4.30% 4% 21% 222 51 36 37 43 94 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Votes Seats 2003 State Duma Election others Union of Right Forces Yabloko Rodina Liberal Democrats Communists United Russia
  70. 70. Political Culture • As a whole, citizens in Russia tend to support a strong leader, which is a remnant of Soviet style governance • Any leader who proposes a stronger Russian state is favoured, hence the majority of political parties do not favour democratic/free-market reform
  71. 71. Political Culture • In comparison to American politics, Russian politics are much more cut-throat. • It is socially acceptable to run a slander campaign, so long as the party in power doesn't feel violated • The bitter fight stems from the supreme power that a leader will temporarily wield if elected
  72. 72. Current Policy Issues Social  In comparison with their former situation, most citizens in Russia have more freedoms and live better under democracy  Corruption and the income gap still persist, which essentially undermines any effort by the government  People are free to participate in politics, yet many outsiders worry that representation in Russia is to some degree fixed
  73. 73. Current Policy Issues • Economic –Russia struggles to regain its economic power from its old Soviet days –Economy has been centralized to a degree by Putin –Standards of living have improved with the introduction of free-market reforms, but progress is slow
  74. 74. Security • The Russian armed forces consist of an army, navy, air force (which merged with the air defense force in 1998), and strategic rocket force, all under the command of the president. About half the troops are conscripts: military service, lasting 18 months for the army or 24 months for the navy, is compulsory for men over age 18, although draft evasion is widespread.
  75. 75. • During the Cold War the Soviet Union established the Warsaw Pact (1955), a treaty that was designed to counter the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). • The Warsaw Treaty Organization was dissolved in 1991. • By the end of the 1990s Russia and NATO had signed a cooperation agreement. • In 2002 the NATO-Russia Council was established to help develop a consensus on foreign and military policies. • In 1991 Russia assumed the Soviet Union's permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
  76. 76. ECONOMY
  77. 77. • After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian government implemented a series of radical reforms designed to transform the economy from one that was centrally planned and controlled to one based on capitalist principles. • Major components of the reforms included establishing privately owned industrial and commercial ventures (using both foreign and Russian investment) and privatizing state- owned enterprises.
  78. 78. • To encourage privatization, the government issued vouchers to Russian citizens that enabled them to purchase of shares in privatized firms, though in practice these vouchers frequently were sold for cash and were accumulated by entrepreneurs. • The privatization process was slow, however, and many firms—particularly in the heavy industries—remained under state ownership. In addition, there was significant debate regarding the buying and selling of land.
  79. 79. • The reforms beginning in the 1990s caused considerable hardships for the average Russian citizen; in the decade after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian economy contracted by more than two-fifths. The monetary system was in disarray: the removal of price controls caused a huge escalation in inflation and prices; the value of the ruble, the country's currency, plummeted; and real incomes fell dramatically.
  80. 80. • Conditions began to improve by the mid-1990s, but the recovery was interrupted in 1998 by a severe financial crisis, which caused the government to sharply devalue the ruble. Numerous banks became insolvent, and millions of citizens lost their life savings. • Gradually, corrective measures were implemented. For example, the licensing of private banks became more rigorous, and the government cracked down on tax evasion, which had been rampant since the implementation of economic reforms.
  81. 81. • To accommodate business growth, taxes on medium and small enterprises were moderated, and the government began to offer incentives for reinvesting profits into the domestic economy. • By the early 21st century, the measures had begun to have a positive effect on the Russian economy, which showed signs of recovery and stable growth. Steady earnings from oil exports permitted investments in factories, and the devalued currency made Russian goods more competitive on the international market.
  82. 82. • In the post-Soviet years, foreign direct investment was encouraged, but it was constrained by unfavourable conditions, including state intervention in industry, corruption, and weakness in the rule of law. An upsurge in violence by organized crime syndicates contributed to hampering Western investment, and though the activity of such groups was curtailed in the early 21st century, it still presented severe obstacles to both Western and Russian businesses. Investment by non-Russian companies was also discouraged by moves taken by the Russian government to increase state ownership in various industries, including oil and gas, aviation, and automobile manufacturing.
  83. 83. • In addition to the difficulties the country encountered in its effort to restructure the economy, Russia had been subjected to serious long-term environmental degradation during the Soviet period, the full extent of which became apparent only in the 1990s. The most visible aspects of this situation—such as the Chernobyl accident at a nuclear power plant in Ukraine in 1986, widespread industrial pollution, and the drastic reduction in the volume of the Aral Sea as a result of inflow diversions—were only symptomatic of decades of wasteful resource exploitation. These environmental concerns placed another burden on Russia's already overwhelmed economic structure.

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Comparative Government and Politics - Russia: Transitional Democracy


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