The Russian Federation. Russia. Eurasia (10 time zones) 1.8 times the territory of the US Secular tradition of authoritarianism, police state, and violence against the poor, minorities, and peasants. Multiple ethnic groups Rich in natural resources (oil & minerals) in Siberia.
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The Russian Federation
≠ Western Europe (Late Absolutism: serfdom and slavery)
Markets glued ≠Despotic power glued Russia
Western Europe nomads and free peasants
Roots in the Muscovite state (12th century)
Tsars (“Ivan the Terrible”…Absolutist monarchs)
18th century Russian Enlightenment: Saint Petersburg (thousands die in building the city in a swamp)
Precursors in matters of political & secret police
Alexander I’s attempt of reform stopped by Napoleonic wars. Alexander’s death in 1825 (problems of succession) Liberal reform crushed.
Nicholas I (anti-modern, anti- Enlightenment), dies in the Crimean war (1853-56). Russian defeat. Nicholas I dies in the war
Alexander II: Time of (Limited) Reform
Liberation of serfs (1871), allows regional assemblies, encourages industrialization (but opposes a constitutional regime). Assassinated in 1881
(Russian traditions: political police, political repression, and anarchism)
Alexander III: renewed political repression (15 years)
Nicholas II: Bloody Sunday (father Gapon) 1905 Revolution
Sergei Eisenstein’s October
The tsar promises civil liberties and a legislature (the Duma)
1914 Russia enters WWI
1917 riots lead to the Revolution in February (Lenin’s April Theses). Moderate government (Liberal/Socialist) led by Kerensky. Brief experience with Liberal democracy
1917 (October) revolution. Radicalization of the revolution (Bolsheviks). Lenin’s leadership
Lenin's New Economic Policy: mixed system controlled by the govt. with participation of small private companies. Economic growth.
1924 Lenin's death Stalin (Central planning) Major and fast industrialization of the country Collectivization (state farms) (20,000,000 die) and Purges (1937)
How far can we go in transforming patterns of political culture?
1-Traditional Soviet Methods
2-Glasnost and democratization
3-Programs of Reform
4-Multiple demands of reform…Crisis
1989-91 Yeltsin gains support in Moscow
June 1991, Yeltsin becomes President of the Russian Republic (and begins disputing power to Gorbachev)
Five republics claim independence
"Shock Therapy" (opposed by parliament and the vice-president)
Modern markets or "economic genocide“?
A new type of government?
Yeltsin’s government: inept, corrupt and too closely tied to the economic oligarchs who had become very wealthy with the privatization of Soviet-era assets.
Federal System (Government centered in Moscow/ 89 different subnational units).
Bilateral agreements between each region and the federal government
Executive power: Strong Presidency (rule by decree—decrees must cohere with the legal framework, veto power).
Chief of State: President (no vice-president)
Head of government: Premier (appointed by the President)
Cabinet (appointed by the President)
Presidential Administration (huge bureaucratic apparatus)
Russian Federal Assembly (Bicameral Legislature)
State Duma (Lower Chamber ): 450 members, 225 are elected through PR and 225 are elected through SMD. 5% threshold. The Duma has power to impeach the President and dissolve the government.
Federation Council (Upper Chamber: ) (178 members, chosen by the 89 regions). Must approve (major) presidential appointments in the judiciary.
Constitutional Court: (19 judges-cannot be fired)
-Passage from one-party system to many (changing) parties
-Survival of communism (electoral potential varies)
Rational Choice tradition (Individuals = Maximizers)
State ≈ Bandits (maximizer individuals) (Public Goods)
Predatory Bandits: to take as much as possible from a place and then leave (Short Term)
Stationary Bandits: have incentives to stay and make a smaller but permanent profit (Long Term)… Rulers
Humanity has made progress to the extent that has provided “incentive for roving banding leaders to settle down and become rulers.” (Olson)
The only way of replacing banditry for rule arises from democratic arrangements, which emerge from “a balance of power among a small number of leaders, groups, or families—that is, by a broadly equal dispersion of power that makes it imprudent for any leader or group to attempt to overpower the others.”
Develop “games” (coercion and incentives) to lead self-interested individuals to act in ways that are compatible with the general good.