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Prospects for Russian Democracy

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  1. Prospects for Russian Democracy

  2. Dmitry Medvedev was born in Moscow in 1965

  3. High school graduate

  4. With high school sweetheart Svetlana Linnik

  5. A kitchen of his own

  6. 2000s: Key aide to President Putin

  7. May 7, 2008: Dmitry Medvedev is inaugurated as Russia’s 3d President

  8. In the 2000s, Russian state capacity has been partially repaired • Putinism has consolidated Russian capitalism, protected it from internal challenges, and returned Russia to the rank of major international actors • But huge problems remain unsolved, while new problems have been created

  9. The structure of Russia’s exports: 93% raw materials

  10. The challenges • Modernization of the economy – from hydrocarbons to hi-tech • Rebuilding infrastructure • Social investments: health, education, other social programs to improve quality of life • Is Russia up to these challenges? • The answer lies in the state of Russian politics

  11. Russia is in a conservative phase • In a triple sense: • The new ruling class is determined to maintain its wealth and power • Society is deeply split by social inequality • The public is depoliticized and values stability • And yet, Russia must modernize without delay • Can Russia’s modernization be carried out while society is in this condition?

  12. ROLE OF THE STATE • Economic growth is a result of not just higher oil prices • Also – result of a restoration of the Russian state • The state needed to be rebuilt • That rebuilding was done by very crude methods • It involved increasing abandonment of liberal-democratic norms • And it resulted in consolidation of bureaucratic capitalism

  13. Bureaucracy is bigger, more powerful, more corrupt, and less accountable • Among the bureaucrats, the Enforcers (KGB, Inc.) have gotten too strong, other elites resent this • Rule of law, always an endangered species in Russia, suffered further setbacks

  14. Business climate in Russia • (poll of 1200 executives, WCIOM, Nov.07) • 54% - report successful development of their businesses • On 11 indicators of “business climate” – “bad’ or “so-so” • Especially hard to start a new business • Government policy is criticized • Bureaucracy, corruption • OVERWHELMING: need for clear and strictly observed rules (63%)

  15. WCIOM poll, Oct.08 • What kind of state do you want Russia to be? • 42% - a democratic system with a market economy (down 6% in 10 years) • 16% - a socialist state with a communist ideology (down 4%) • 21% - a state with its own type of system and its own path (up 3%) • 3% - monarchy and empire (down 3%)

  16. WCIOM poll, Jan.08 • 55% - country going in the right direction • 20% - not (down 10% from 2004) • 56% - Russia needs stability, evolutionary reforms • 29% - radical reforms (down 10% from 2004) • 51% - revise results of privatization, unfair and illegal • 29% - No (down from 36%) • 51% - all peoples of Russia must have same rights and opportunities • 37% - interests of ethnic Russians must be uppermost • 56% - treat post-Soviet states as all others • 25% - Russia must try to dominate

  17. Deep depoliticization of the society • Russians are becoming increasingly private people • I’ll take care of myself • Voting doesn’t change anything • Let the government do its work • Trust the President • Opposition movements are marginalized • Still, upsurges of activism occur with increasing frequency • And the conservative phase may be coming to an end

  18. The Medvedev challenge: • Impossible to deal with the problems without reforming the state • No effectiveness without accountability • No accountability without rule of law • No rule of law without electoral democracy

  19. Medvedev: looking for a “third path” between democracy and authoritarianism • The issues: courts, media, political rights • On these issues, there can be liberalization

  20. But: • Elites fears of instability, loss of control • The Enforcers’ influence • The military-industrial complex • Will Medvedev turn to the people for support? • Will he try to wake them up? • One way or another, political struggles are likely to become more open and intense • It is an open question who will win • Liberals are unpopular • Enforcers may appeal to the people, too • Their backup option: Fortress Russia

  21. Putin’s politics of order was popular both with the elites and with the public • As an emergency program to pull Russia out of its transition crisis • In the meantime, Russian leaders continued to proclaim their commitment to democracy, while making more and more “temporary exceptions” from it

  22. The Kremlin’s perspective on democracy in Russia: • First, economic recovery with political stability • Then, the rise of the middle class • Then, a full-fledged liberal democracy

  23. Self-interests of the ruling class are obvious in this approach: the elites are determined to keep their power and wealth, and reject any notions of democracy which would challenge them • The Dual Power regime has checks and balances on any liberal reforms • Medvedev and Putin are working in tandem • But frictions and conflicts between them are inevitable • Different interests, different priorities, different groups

  24. Trends to watch • Next round of elections • Ethnic tensions • The economic situation

  25. Anti-Putin demo, December 2010: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLinYsJeVms

  26. Moscow riot, December 2010: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF2OFrgxxJE&feature=related • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk8iZGjlgKY

  27. President Dmitry Medvedev addresses the Russians on the eve of New Year 2011: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpmcAbIiblw