Urban Regimes in Small Russian Towns
This article presents the outcomes of a research project conducted in five smallRussian towns. Different coalitions between local actors take place in all commu-nities. However, coalitions that meet the criteria of the urban regime (in Stone’sclassical interpretation) have been discovered, with certain reservations, only intwo towns. For a number of characteristics, these coalitions differed from regimesin American and European towns: often not quite voluntary nature of coalitions,prevalence of egoistic motives in the coalition-building, strong dependence of theregimes on the personal factor (personal qualities and resources of local adminis-trators, their experience, relations with regional elites, etc.), absence of formal or-ganizations able to coordinate the interests of coalition members, etc. In the threeother local communities, urban regimes have not been built due to personal factors,frequent changes in the local government leadership, or the role of external factors(the nature of the relationship of local elites with regional and federal authorities,methods of influence of regional authorities on local politics). In the public agendaof the regimes (quasi-regimes), the elements of the status quo and, to a lesser ex-tent, growth, prevail. The outcomes of study allow us to conclude that despite theauthoritarian nature of the Russian politics and the differences between Russianand American contexts, urban regimes analysis is quite applicable for the study ofpower in Russian local communities.
Can foreign cognitive models be successfully applied to the study of Russian politics? This issue is discussed via the analysis of the application of American research models for the study of power in European and Russian urban communities. For a long time the US theories has not been widely recognized outside of the US. The situation has changed since the 1990s with the emergence of the "urban regime theory" which overcame the shortcomings of earlier approaches to the study of power in local communities and gradually began to be used by researchers of Western and Eastern Europe in the authentic (classic) version and (more often) after certain modifications. In the European versions the concept of "urban regime" has become wider and more flexible that has allowed to take into account the specifics of the new political and institutional context. The first empirical studies of power in Russian urban communities performed in the tradition of urban regime analysis showed that despite the significant differences between Russian and western political and cultural contexts including those associated with the weakness of the legal framework and the strong authoritarian component of the Russian policy, the international experience is definitely relevant. It helps to clarify research issues, develop working hypotheses, systematize existing theoretical and conceptual resources, classify power forms and regimes, put the Russian power studies in a comparative perspective.
This article presents the outcomes of a research project conducted in two small towns in the Perm region. The study of power in the two communities focused on two major themes: (1) the composition of influential actors and institutions and the power hierarchy; (2) relationships between them and coalition building. The discovered configuration of actors and relationships between them demonstrate, on the one hand, quite a lot in common with European and North American communities, on the other hand, a number of features that reflect the systemic and institutional properties of Russian politics and society. The social base of the local power structure is very narrow. The local elite composed of the heads of the executive, business leaders, and the most influential representatives of urban and district legislatures actually holds all the power in local community, having no serious opponents or a real alternative in the foreseeable future. This power structure is supported by informal institutions and personal relationships within the elite and between the elite and those who are forced to accept the existing system of relations; it allows them to successfully protect their personal and/or corporate interests. A wide range of opportunities to use official position and/or relationships with the public officials for personal enrichment stimulates the formation of various kinds of coalitions for the furtherment of personal interests of its members.
On the basis of an empirical study conducted in three towns and one district (rayon) of the Perm region and the Ivanovo region the processes of interaction between the legislative and executive branches of local government has been described and explained. In all the local communities the representative bodies were not equal partners of the executives while the heads of the local administrations remain the most powerful figures. The differences between the communities were determined, first, by the composition of the executive leaders and, second, by the configuration of power resources and methods of influence used by them. Both elected mayors and appointed city-managers can be the leaders of the executive institutions; their leadership positions depend not so much on institutional (formal) properties, but on personal characteristics of particular actors. Four types (models) of interaction between the branches of local government has been identified: (1) “dominance based on coercion”, (2) “covert manipulation", (3) “dominance based on bargaining”, (4) “dominance in the situation of confrontation”. In the first case the dominance of the local executive over the local legislature is the most evident: dependence of the deputies from the city-manager is so high that he does not need to directly interfere with their activities since the right decisions are made “by default”. In the second and third cases the dependence is less obvious and the leaders of the local executives have to be more actively involved in the process of local decision-making; in the configuration of resources and techniques used to influence the local deputies the major roles play, respectively, resources of manipulation and bargaining. In the last case the situation is complicated by the continuing split within the political and administrative elite which poses a threat to the dominance of the leader of the local administration in the local politics.
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.
This special publication for the 2012 New Delhi Summit is a collection of articles by government officials from BRICS countries, representatives of international organizations, businessmen and leading researchers.
The list of Russian contributors includes Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, Maxim Medvedkov, Director of the Trade Negotiations Department of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, Vladimir Dmitriev, Vnesheconombank Chairman, Alexander Bedritsky, advisor to the Russian President, VadimLukov, Ambassador-at-large of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry, and representatives of the academic community.
The publication also features articles by the President of Kazakhstan NursultanNazarbayev and internationally respected economist Jim O’Neil, who coined the term “BRIC”. In his article Jim O’Neil speculates about the future of the BRICS countries and the institution as a whole.
The publication addresses important issues of the global agenda, the priorities of BRICS and the Indian Presidency, the policies and competitive advantages of the participants, as well as BRICS institutionalization, enhancing efficiency and accountability of the forum.