Authoritarian Russia: Analyzing Post-Soviet Regime Changes by Vladimir Gel'man

By Vladimir Gel'man

Russia this present day represents one of many significant examples of the phenomenon of “electoral authoritarianism” that is characterised by means of adopting the trimmings of democratic associations (such as elections, political events, and a legislature) and enlisting the provider of the country’s primarily authoritarian rulers. Why and the way has the electoral authoritarian regime been consolidated in Russia? What are the mechanisms of its upkeep, and what's its most likely destiny path? This booklet makes an attempt to respond to those simple questions.
Vladimir Gel’man examines regime switch in Russia from the cave in of the Soviet Union in 1991 to the current day, systematically providing theoretical and comparative views of the standards that affected regime alterations and the authoritarian waft of the rustic. After the autumn of the Soviet Union, Russia’s nationwide political elites aimed to accomplish their pursuits by means of developing and implementing of favorable “rules of the sport” for themselves and holding casual successful coalitions of cliques round person rulers. within the Nineteen Nineties, those strikes have been basically in part profitable given the weak spot of the Russian kingdom and stricken post-socialist financial system. within the 2000s, although, Vladimir Putin rescued the method due to the mix of monetary development and the revival of the nation ability he used to be capable of enforce through implementing a chain of non-democratic reforms. within the 2010s, altering stipulations within the nation have offered new hazards and demanding situations for the Putin regime that might play themselves out within the years to come.

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Scholars widely discuss the causes of democracy and nondemocracy, why some countries become democracies and others do not, and the experience of present-day Russia can serve as an argument in this debate. This chapter is devoted to a critical reassessment of the various explanations for the nondemocratic political trajectory of post-Soviet Russia, as well as to elaboration of a framework for analysis of regime changes and its application to contemporary Russian experience. In the 1970s–1980s, Soviet citizens sometimes joked that optimists were learning the English language (due to their expectations of a war with the United States), pessimists were learning the Chinese language (likewise, preparing to go to war with China), and realists were learning to use the Kalashnikov rifle so as to be ready to fight with anyone.

They considered the monarchy before the mid-seventeenth century as a predatory rule of the crown, which robbed landowners and urban merchants via excessive taxation, but also used these actors as junior partners in ad hoc winning coalitions. But against the background of the fiscal crisis, the English state attempted to rob both key segments of the elite, causing the emergence of a “negative consensus” coalition between these two groups, the Tories and the Whigs. This coalition rebelled against the king, destroyed the monarchy, and turned the country into what Hobbes labeled “the war of all against all” (bellum omnium contra omnes).

On the other hand, none of the agency-driven mechanisms of democratization have ever worked in post-Soviet Russia (at least so far) and the developmental trajectory of regime 32 russia’s flight from freedom change has headed in the opposite direction. In terms of the four categories outlined above: (1) Mass participation and public involvement played, and continue to play, a negligible role in Russian politics after the Soviet collapse (the wave of mass protests in 2011–2012 was a rather minor rebellion, which did not alter this trend).

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