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Politics in Russia

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Politics in Russia
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Politics in Russia

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  1. Politics in Russia Difficult transition from communism

  2. Largest country in the world

  3. Russian population • 141,377,752 (July 2007 estimate) • comparison • larger than that of Japan (127 million) • smaller than that of US (301 million) • 82% Russian • largest minority: Tatars 4% • 72% Orthodox • largest minority: Muslim 6%

  4. Legacies of the tsarist era • A millennium of autocratic rule • hereditary monarchy • not constrained by a constitution

  5. Legacies of the tsarist era • need of governing a vast territory • modernization of military & economic potential • growth of state power • mobilization and unity to defend country • national feeling based on pride • in the greatness of the country • in the strength of its people

  6. Russian Revolution of 1917 • Tsarist regime fell during World War I • Bolshevik revolution in October 1917 • Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870 - 1924) • Communist Party of the Soviet Union • controlled all levels of govt. • nomenklatura • party state

  7. Soviet Union (USSR) • Joseph Stalin • totalitarian regime • centralized political power • industrial and military might • staggering human cost • collectivization • purges • World War II

  8. Stalin’s legacies • rule of personalities (versus rule of law) • succession crisis (versus regular elections) • reliance on military and police • bureaucratic distortions, resistance, and inertia • de-stalinization (1950s & 1960s) • collective leadership • deteriorating economic conditions

  9. Gorbachev • General Secretary of CPSU (85-91) • glasnost: openness in political relations • improve economic well-being • contested elections • law-governed state • private enterprises • informal social associations • concessions to US • revolutions in East Europe in 1989

  10. Collapse of the Soviet Union • Unintended consequence of Gorbachev’s reforms • communist party rule broke down in the 15 soviet republics • ascendance of Boris Yeltsin in elections • elected Russian president in 1991 (57% vote) • outlawed the Communist Party of Soviet Uni. • Gorbachev resigned as president

  11. Yeltsin as president (1991-1999) • Yeltsin demanded extraordinary powers from parliament to cope with the country’s economic problems • power to carry out a program of radical market-oriented reform by presidential decree • named himself acting prime minister • young, Western-oriented government leaders • determined to carry out decisive transformation

  12. Reformers versus opponents • Economic reforms took effect in 1992 • prices skyrocketed (inflation rate 2323%) • political opposition to reform policies • developments in 1993 • Yeltsin dissolved parliament • bombed the parliament • parliamentary election • constitutional referendum

  13. The Yeltsin Constitution of 1993 • Yeltsin called a “presidential republic” • President • is directly elected by voters • can dissolve parliament • can issue decrees

  14. presidential power • head of state • “guarantor of the constitution” • appoint government • choice of prime minister is subject to the approval of parliament • after three refusals to confirm president’s choice, president dissolves State Duma

  15. The Parliament • Federal Assembly • lower house • State Duma • upper house • Federation Council

  16. The Parliament • submission of draft legislation to State Duma • by government • by president • or by members of the Federal Assembly • individually or collectively

  17. Federation Council • Every constituent unit of the federation is represented by 2 representatives • populations of small ethnic-national territories are greatly over-represented • after Putin’s reform in 2000, each governor and each regional legislature is to name a representative to the Federation Council • after 1996, all governors are elected

  18. Legislative process • State Duma => Federation Council => President • if Federation Council rejects a bill • State Duma may override (by 2/3 vote), or • bicameral conciliation commission • if president rejects a bill • State Duma may override (by 2/3 vote), or • bicameral conciliation commission

  19. Limit on presidential power • President can not dissolve parliament • within one year of parliamentary election • if the parliament has filed impeachment against president • if president has declared state of emergency • within 6 months of expiration of president’s term

  20. Limit on presidential power • Impeachment of president • 2/3 majority in State Duma • affirmation by the Supreme Court • rule by the Constitutional Court • 2/3 majority in Federation Council

  21. Constitutional Court • judicial review by the Constitutional Court • 19 members are • nominated by the president • confirmed by the Federation Council

  22. Constitutional Court • empowered to consider the constitutionality of actions of • the president • the parliament • lower level government • ruled on relations • between the 2 chambers • between central and local governments

  23. Decline and recovery (GDP)