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Quasi-Authoritarianism

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Yuriy Matsiyevsky
Ostroh Academy National University
2011

Published in: News & Politics
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Quasi-Authoritarianism

  1. 1. Quasi-Authoritarianismand Its Implications to Ukraine Yuriy Matsiyevsky Ostroh Academy National University 2011
  2. 2. Objective• To challenge the view that Ukraine’s regime has become authoritarian under Yanukovych
  3. 3. Primary questions• What type of regime is Ukraine?• Why did Yanukovych succeeded in concentrating power (more than had Kuchma?)• How long he could stay in power and• What implications his presidency would have for Ukraine?
  4. 4. Basic facts on Ukraine’s politics• December 8, 2004 – Verchovna Rada (VR) passed the law on constitutional changes. The procedure was violated. On Jan.1, 2006 Ukraine became parliamentary-presidential republic.• February 7, 2010 – Yanukovych elected president• March 3, 2010 – VR dismissed Tymoshenko• March 9, 2010 - VR allows to form coalition by single deputies, besides faction.• August 30, 2010 – VR, after changing the dates of local election, established it on October 30, 2010. The rules have been changed 3 months before the election on July 30, 2010• October 1, 2010 – Constitutional court cancelled the constitutional reform of 2004, and has returned the Constitution of 1996, allowing the president more power. (IPP has changed form 47.8 to 52.2 out of 60)• Executive branch dominates legislative and judicative branches that, many observers believe, opens the door to authoritarianism• 18 criminal cases against opposition leaders have been open since 2010• January 2011, Ukraine lost the status of free state in FH report
  5. 5. Major thesis• Regime is not a people, but institutions. Thus, the change of people does not necessarily leads to the change of regime.• Leadership style does not characterize the type of regime• Fully authoritarian regime is only possible when authoritarian leadership coincide with authoritarian “mentality”/attitudes of the masses. Exceptions are dictatorial regimes that are based on brutal force.
  6. 6. Comparing Ukraine’s regime to consolidated authoritarianismPresence/absenceYes Concentration and centralization of power in one political groupYes The absence of the rule of law and selective use of law (rule by law)Yes Weakening of the civil societyPartially Low massive, but hidden elitist political contestationPartially Manipulated electionPartially Non transparent decision making by unelected officialsPartially Constant attempts in limiting political rights and civil liberties and activity of oppositionNo Indefinite time in office of the ruler or the ruling partyNo The authority is self appointed or even elected but cannot be removed by the people in result of free and fair electionNo Political stability is secured by control and support of the military
  7. 7. Structural constrains• Absence of national unity• Fragmented elites (oligarchs)• Diverse ownership of the media• No instrumental base – professional bureaucracy and effective security service• No social base – only 15% of the citizen are ready to exchange their rights for provisional stability (62% support democracy, while 28% authoritarianism)• Weak legitimacy – 50% loss of support during the 1,5 year (from 48% to less than 20%)• International pressure- neither Russia nor EU and US would support the authoritarianism
  8. 8. Why did Yanukovych succeeded in concentrating power?• The causes are not that much in the people, but in institutions• Informal rules (clientelism, patronage, political expediency, besides corruption) overwhelmed formal, constitutional rules• Constitution has been constantly violated – the process I called “Involution of constitutionalism”• Ukraine is a captured state, where major players are not parties, but business groupings (clans)• Party of regions, like most of parliamentary parties, is a political machine comprised of several business groups.
  9. 9. Is the regime stable? Will Yanukovych survive the next electoral cycle?• According to H.Linz, stability is a sum of legitimacy, efficacy, and effectiveness• Measuring stability:• Legitimacy is public support• Efficacy reflects the public attitudes towards the current situation in the country• Effectiveness reflects the attitudes towards the policies being implemented
  10. 10. Political Stability IndexDeveloped on concentration index n PSI = 1 − ∑ p 2 i i −1
  11. 11. Measuring stabilityLegitimacy 16,9% (Low) PSIEfficacy 13,4% (Low) 0.68Effectiveness 44,1% (Low)Vertical threats 45,3% (High)Popular protestHorizontal threats 50 % (moderate) 0.76Dissent of allies
  12. 12. Strategies of survival• Two scenarios:• democracy in exchange for stability• Regression to dictatorship• Alternative scenarios:• Change of power in result of election,or in result of popular protest.
  13. 13. democracy in exchange for stability• This is a conservative scenario that aims to secure societal consent on remaining in power.• Necessary condition:• To win next (2012) parliamentary election• Positive effects of 21 reforms, proclaimed by the government• Tighten control over the courts and parliament, opposition, civil society• Contain dissent and mass protest• Risks:• The growth of instability as a result of low legitimacy, efficacy and effectiveness• Failure to contain dissent• Intervening variables (new sickle of economic crisis, collapse of national currency, external pressure)
  14. 14. Regression to dictatorship• This is a less probable scenario, because the risks and structural constrains are too high, but resources and external support are limited• The signs of choosing this scenario would be introducing martial law, abolishing elections, dissolution of opposition parties, manual steering of economy.• Risks:• Internal dissent• Popular protest• International isolation and the fate of Mubarak or Kaddafi
  15. 15. Implications• In case of developing events by the conservative scenario, Yanukovych will stay in power after 2015, and Ukraine will remain quasi- authoritarian state under the bigger control of Russia.• In case Yanukovych will choose to stay in power by all means, the radical (populist) opponents could try to mobilize people for the fight against a dictator.• This may bring unpredictable outcomes

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