Institutionalization versus personalization: electoral effects of the mixed-member electoral system in Russia
The study of mixed electoral systems has gained in popularity due to frequent experiments with electoral systems in post-communist countries. Russia represents an interesting lab for this research, as it is a country that had switched to the proportional system in the 2007 parliamentary elections, and then moved back to mixed-member system in 2016 that also has seen its dominant party system strengthen. This research shows a gradual decline in competition in electoral districts, which is interrelated with the institutionalization of the party system, and which peaked after the creation of a dominant party and the disappearance of independent candidates. A comparative analysis of elections on the basis of votes received by party lists and voting in single-mandate districts suggests there is a high level of interrelation between two simultaneous voting processes, confirming the well-known thesis of “contamination” in the mixed system. At the same time, a comparison of the diverse parties allows us to suggest that the level of that interrelation, and the vote ratio, are dependent on the characteristics of the party concerned. The research showed that, in a dominant party system, electoral competition in districts delivers higher results than in voting by party lists, and the voters demonstrate a strategic approach to supporting parties rather than voting for particular candidates in particular districts. This leads to a lower level of electoral support for candidates from large parties in comparison to the vote received by the parties themselves.
This book manuscript explores why dominant political parties emerge in some authoritarian regimes, but not in others. A dominant party is a strong ruling party that determines access to political offices, shares powers over policy-making and patronage distribution, and uses privileged access to state resources to maintain its position in power. Such dominant parties exist in about half the world’s autocracies. Prominent historical and recent examples include the PRI in Mexico, UMNO in Malaysia, the NDP in Egypt, the PDP in Nigeria, Nur-Otan in Kazakhstan, and, the primary focus of this book, United Russia in Russia. Political scientists have recently come to understand that dominant parties help autocrats win elections, reduce elite conflict, and, thereby, fortify authoritarian rule. If this is so, why do leaders and elites in many non-democratic regimes refrain from building strong ruling parties? Political scientists have yet to provide a clear answer to this question. In this book, I offer an explanation for why some regimes create these parties, but others do not. In turn, by demystifying the origins of dominant parties, this study advances our understanding of why some countries democratize, while others remain authoritarian.
In contrast to existing theories of autocratic institutions, which focus mostly on the incentives of leaders to construct institutions, I argue that dominant parties are the product of decisions by both leaders and other elites. Specifically, I argue that dominant parties emerge when elites—such as governors, chiefs, warlords, oligarchs, landlords, strongmen, bosses, regional barons, and prominent politicians—hold enough independent political resources that leaders need to coopt them, but not so many autonomous resources that they themselves are reluctant to commit to a dominant party project.
The book explores this argument and its implications with a multi-method empirical approach that combines within-country qualitative and quantitative analyses with cross-national statistical tests. Much of the book focuses on the process of ruling party formation (and non-formation) in contemporary Russia. In a span of just over 20 years, post-Soviet Russia has witnessed the failure of at least two ruling party projects and the emergence of a successful dominant party, United Russia. I show how, in the 1990s, Russia’s powerful elites—in particular, regional governors and other local powerbrokers—eschewed real commitments to the various pro-presidential parties of the time, preferring instead to focus on the cultivation of their own political machines. In turn, seeking to avoid the costs of supporting a party that could not be sustained, President Boris Yeltsin undermined his own pro-presidential parties.
By contrast, in the early 2000s a surge in oil revenues, sustained economic growth, and the attendant popularity of Yeltsin’s successor, Vladimir Putin, changed the balance of power between the Kremlin and regional elites. This readjustment in the balance of resources gave elites more reason to cooperate with the center than they had had in the 1990s. At the same time, existing elites were still strong enough that the Kremlin would need to work with them if it wanted to win elections, pass legislation, maintain social quiescence, and govern cost-effectively. Because the Kremlin needed to coopt these elites and elites were no longer so strong that they would necessarily be unfaithful partners, the Kremlin felt comfortable investing in a dominant party that could be used to coopt them. The result was Russia’s current ruling party, United Russia.
Through an analysis of United Russia’s rise, this book sheds new light on how the current regime in Russia was built. It addresses questions such as why elites affiliate with the regime, what keeps elites loyal and how the regime wins elections. I argue that United Russia is an important, and often overlooked, pillar of regime stability. By demonstrating the party’s institutional role in perpetuating the regime, this study demonstrates some of the limits of personalism in contemporary Russia.
The Origins of Dominant Parties is the result of more than 18 months of fieldwork in 10 Russian regions and Moscow. It draws on over 100 elite interviews and a series of original datasets compiled by the author. It contributes to research agendas on democratization, authoritarian regimes, and political institutions, as well as current debates in the study of Russian politics. As such, it should be of interest to both general comparativists and to scholars of post-Soviet politics. In addition, given its focus on recent political developments in Russia and its novel arguments about the organization of political power under Putin, this book should also be appealing to Russia watchers outside academia.
The international financial and economic crisis, which hit Russia in the fall of 2008, marked the end of a long economic boom. Since then, economic growth has been sluggish and the public funds saved during the previous period of favorable economic growth have been spent on easing the economic and social consequences of the crisis. In 2014, without having completely recovered from the previous crisis, Russia was hit by further economic difficulties. These difficulties were caused by structural deficiencies within the economy, economic sanctions imposed by the West and, most importantly, a drop in the world oil price. Despite these difficulties, the Kremlin has chosen to prioritize security interests over the requirements of Russia’s economic development – for which it is bound to ultimately pay a high price. In an effort to consolidate power and to increase control over Russia’s elites, Putin – now looking more like a tsar than a president – has effectively facilitated the creation of an authoritarian-bureaucratic nomenklatura system. Russia is characterized by: • the dependence of private individuals on their official position and support of their direct superior; • short-term, hierarchical decision-making processes; • dominance of vertical over horizontal networks, which is ensured by, among other things, frequent bureaucratic rotations at the regional level; • temporary rather than permanent property ownership patterns, which supports a system of patronage; • moral and legal norms for those in power are much broader than for ordinary citizens. Most notably, the role of the Siloviki (i.e., politicians from the security and military services) has become much more pronounced, while the role of the judiciary has decreased.
The author realizes analysis of characteristics of dominant party regime in order to advancement new research perspective for political transformation of several post-communist states. Based on study of theoretical approaches and conceptualization dominant party regime’s the author examines mechanisms of political competition under single-party dominance. Erosion of electoral competition that maintained by regime’s resource advantages provide durability of dominant party regimes.
Slinko and White, (2008) have recently introduced a new model of coalitional manipulation of voting rules under limited communication, which they call safe strategic voting. The computational aspects of this model were first studied by Hazon and Elkind, (2010), who provide polynomial-time algorithms for finding a safe strategic vote under k-approval and the Bucklin rule. In this paper, we answer an open question of Hazon and Elkind, (2010) by presenting a polynomial-time algorithm for finding a safe strategic vote under the Borda rule. Our results for Borda generalize to several interesting classes of scoring rules.
In this article the author analyzes the intricate combination of repression and cooptation policies conducted by Russia’s ruling elites in their relations with the opposition on the regional level. As the study shows the structural features of electoral authoritarianism not only ensure the victories of “approved” candidates but also make the rare oppositional winners to adapt to the existing regime and change the political affiliation. If the regime gets more authoritarian the oppositional party can still be a tool to win a local election. But after being elected, the winner finds himself in another political environment of existing patron-client relations, and has no other choice than to become a dependent member, or an agent (according to principal-agent theory) in higher-level clientele. As a result, oppositional party has become useless in the recruitment of influential executive power elite. However, while blocking unwanted “invasion” of opposition into the executive power the regime allows opposition to be presented in the leadership of regional legislative power. This policy reflects the necessity to make an opposition more loyal and included into the system of power relations in most safe and efficient for the ruling elite way.
The article deals with the processes of building the information society and security in the CIS in accordance with modern conditions. The main objective is to review existing mechanisms for the formation of a common information space in the Eurasian region, regarded as one of the essential aspects of international integration. The theoretical significance of the work is to determine the main controls of the regional information infrastructure, improved by the development of communication features in a rapid process.The practical component consists in determining the future policies of the region under consideration in building the information society. The study authors used historical-descriptive approach and factual analysis of events having to do with drawing the contours of today's global information society in the regional refraction.
The main result is the fact that the development of information and communication technologies, and network resources leads to increased threats of destabilization of the socio-political situation in view of the emergence of multiple centers that generate the ideological and psychological background. Keeping focused information policy can not be conceived without the collective participation of States in the first place, members of the group leaders of integration - Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Currently, only produced a comprehensive approach to security in the information field in the Eurasian region, but the events in the world, largely thanks to modern technology, make the search for an exit strategy with a much higher speed. The article contributes to the science of international relations, engaging in interdisciplinary thinking that is associated with a transition period in the development of society. A study of current conditions in their relation to the current socio-political patterns of the authors leads to conclusions about the need for cooperation with the network centers of power in the modern information environment, the formation of alternative models of networking, especially in innovation and scientific and technical areas of information policy, and expanding the integration of the field in this region on the information content.
The article is devoted to the study of the authoritarianism prevalent in the mass consciousness of Russians. The article describes a new approach to the consideration of the authoritarian syndrome as the effects of the cultural trauma as a result of political and socio-cultural transformation of society. The article shows the dynamics of the symptoms of the authoritarianism, which appear in the mass consciousness of Russians from 1993 to 2011. This paper proposes a package of measures aimed at reducing the level of the authoritarianism in Russian society.
This work looks at a model of spatial election competition with two candidates who can spend effort in order to increase their popularity through advertisement. It is shown that under certain condition the political programs of the candidates will be different. The work derives the comparative statics of equilibrium policy platform and campaign spending with respect the distribution of voter policy preferences and the proportionality of the electoral system. In particular, it is whown that the equilibrium does not exist if the policy preferences are distributed over too narrow an interval.
The article examines "regulatory requirements" as a subject of state control over business in Russia. The author deliberately does not use the term "the rule of law". The article states that a set of requirements for business is wider than the legislative regulation.
First, the article analyzes the regulatory nature of the requirements, especially in the technical field. The requirements are considered in relation to the rule of law. The article explores approaches to the definition of regulatory requirements in Russian legal science. The author analyzes legislation definitions for a set of requirements for business. The author concludes that regulatory requirements are not always identical to the rule of law. Regulatory requirements are a set of obligatory requirements for entrepreneurs’ economic activity. Validation failure leads to negative consequences.
Second, the article analyzes the problems of the regulatory requirements in practice. Lack of information about the requirements, their irrelevance and inconsistency are problems of the regulatory requirements in Russia.
Many requirements regulating economic activity are not compatible with the current development level of science and technology. The problems are analyzed on the basis of the Russian judicial practice and annual monitoring reports by Higher School of Economics.
Finally, the author provides an approach to the possible solution of the regulatory requirements’ problem. The author proposes to create a nationwide Internet portal about regulatory requirements. The portal should contain full information about all regulatory requirements. The author recommends extending moratorium on the use of the requirements adopted by the bodies and organizations of the former USSR government.