Pro-Putin rallies before the 2012 presidential elections became campaign venues in which the Kremlin used political symbols—woven into a narrative of nationalism and tradition—to define and activate core voters across the Russian Federation.
In Putin's third term, official rhetoric has become a normative, moralizing discourse promotng Russian tradtional values as opposed to the "moral decay" of the West. This "biopolitical turn" in Russian politics -- a redefining of the boundaries of the Russian political community and extension of state sovereignty into private lives -- is part of the authortarian drift of the Russian political regime.
Vladimir Putin’s regime has struggled to restore Russia’s great power status. The discourses that have emerged around Russian energy wealth play a particularly significant role in this struggle and shape Russia’s identity in international relations. These multiple and contradictory understandings of energy resources are encapsulated in the two dominant discourses: the energy superpower and the raw-material appendage discourses. This paper examines these discourses and then demonstrates how they shape Russia’s energy diplomacy toward the European Union (EU).
Since 2008, tighter budget constraints have forced the Russian federal government to adjust the system governing its relations with the regions. This paper argues that more advanced Russian regions have the potential to develop a constructive response to the recent deterioration in their operational environment. This argument is based on an analysis of the experiences of coping with the external shocks that have occurred over the last 25 years in the Republic of Tatarstan. The paper identifies key factors that have helped the republic successfully tackle previous shocks, such as elite cohesion and internal consensus regarding republican developmental priorities.
Historical institutionalism has demonstrated the value of close analysis of policymaking to explain institutional change. In particular, scholars have distinguished four different patterns of institutional change: drift, conversion, layering, and displacement. To date, most of this literature has been based on studies of developed democracies. This paper uses a case comparison of pension reform in the two postcommunist giants, Russia and China, to analyze the analogous processes of agenda-setting, bargaining, choice, and policy implementation in bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes. While policymaking in both countries takes place almost entirely within the state bureaucracy, in China, state political authority is much more decentralized than in Russia. I argue that this difference helps to account for the characteristic difference in the patterns of policy change that we observe in the two cases: periodic abrupt reversals in Russia vs. incrementalism and layering in China.
The article offers an analysis of historical politics and political use of the “historical statehood” concept in the unrecognized republics of Transnistria and Donbass. It traces the use of the“historical statehood” by the Transnistrian and Donbass separatist leaders for legitimizing their cause, in their political struggle and expansionist pursuits, and in the appeals to the population of territories under the control of the central governments. A specific strategy of self-legitimization and self-representation, emphasizing multiethnicity and declarative rejection of ethnic nationalism, influences the way these separatist regimes employ historical politics and instrumentalize their “historical statehood.” I suggest naming this approach “internationalist separatism.”
The paper analyzes contemporary labor relations in Russia as constituting a distinctive ‘market social contract.’ Focusing on market and state policy, labor law, and tripartism, we show how the state has been balancing needs for “social stability” and labor market efficiency. To promote “stability” it protects employment security and prohibits collective protest; to promote efficiency it accommodates pressures for labor market flexibility by tolerating informality. Surveys from 2007-2013 provide some evidence about behaviors, strategies, and attitudes of managers, workers and state officials. The state has so far managed labor market tensions, though inefficiently; the current economic crisis demands new policy responses.
By permitting early resignations of the governors of Russia's regions, followed by their participation in premature elections, the federal center seeks to facilitate their long-term political survival. This study uses the data from 2013-2015 gubernatorial elections in order to reveal the Kremlin's motivations for this strategy. The analysis demonstrates that in contrast to the previous periods of Russia's political development when the federal center tended to reward the governors for electoral deference the current strategy is aimed primarily at long-term risk-aversion. This signifies a shift in the order of priorities of the Kremlin's policy toward the regions.
This article examines the recent media reform in Turkmenistan and argues that the purpose newly enacted media legislation was to present the illusion of democratic change in the country.
In response to the harsh reality of declining EU–Russia cooperation, the subnational actors of Russia’s Northwest are employing paradiplomacy as a resource for problem solving and ensuring their sustainable development.
The study compares the networked issue agendas of Vladimir Putin and Alexey Navalny in Russian mainstream media and on the Internet utilizing the theoretical framework of issue ownership theory. We analyze the period from December 12, 2016 to December 12, 2017. The analysis shows that the issue agendas of Putin and Navalny are similar in the mainstream media and on the Internet. In both media types, Putin is often mentioned in connection with economic issues and international relations, which attract the attention of the population and are perceived as important. Navalny is associated with the issues of civic activism, NGOs and anti-corruption.
The paper investigates the effect of Communist legacies on attitudes toward migrants in present-day Russia. Midway through the first decade of the 2000s, Russia established itself as an attractive center of labor migration. This rise of migration triggered an upsurge of xenophobic sentiment and nationalism. This paper examines the variation of anti-migrant sentiments across the regions of the Russian Federation and concludes that it is strongly affected by the legacies of the Communist regime. Regions with a higher share of CPSU members in their population in the 1970s are characterized by stronger negative attitudes towards migrants.
Explanations for the sharp difference in the economic growth performance of Russia and China under economic reform vary widely. Some observers emphasize the differences in the choice of initial reform strategy, others the inherited institutional environment for economic activity. There is a debate over which institutional characteristics are conducive to good growth performance: decentralization and competition among local governments or centralization of control over performance targets. Yet there has been little systematic empirical effort of the Russian and Chinese cases to test the implications of these theories for the behavior of firms. This paper uses data from surveys of firms conducted by the World Bank in 2012 to analyze differences in business-government relations in Russia and China. The findings support theories that differences in levels of administrative decentralization and local government competition help account for differences in business-government relations in the two countries and the more dynamic business environment overall in China.
The article tests the extent to which Russia’s “pivot to the East” was supported by shared visions of the American and the Chinese “Other” after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. It compares representations of the United States and China as Russia’s Others in discourses of Vladimir Putin, major political parties, and policy experts at a time when Russian–American relations experienced a considerable downturn and relations with China surged. The method of analysis is frames coding. The article demonstrates that for most of the actors considered, the United States plays a much more important role as constitutive Other than China.
Russia ’ s government initiated pension reform in 2013 to resolve a crisis: the prolonged recession had created a huge Pension Fund de ﬁ cit that required unsustainable subsidies from the state budget. The article analyzes four sets of in ﬂ uences on that reform: those from above (high-level policy makers), inside (government ministries, legislators), below (civil society, public opinion), and outside (international actors, policy learning). We ﬁ nd that the strongest in ﬂ uences come from above and inside, and analyze the con ﬂ icting policy preferences of key actors on reversal of pension privatization, indexation of payments, and age of eligibility. The policy process is protracted and fails to resolve major issues. Irresolution results from the leadership ’ s effort to avoid blame for pension bene ﬁ t cuts despite the weakness of civil society ’ s in ﬂ uence. The current reform effort has been tentative, halting, and indecisive, indicating a government with a diminished capacity to resolve this major social policy problem.
The Russian leadership promotes a vision of a multipolar world where major powers must have their own “zones of influence.” This implies that other “great powers” have to recognize Moscow’s sphere of dominance over the post-Soviet realm. It also makes Russia’s neighbors increasingly reluctant to delegate their sovereignty to institutions of regional integration, as those are likely to become instruments of Russian domination. As the partners do not trust Russia, they insist on a limited character of integration projects. Russia is more likely to be successful in using asymmetric bilateral bargains rather than multilateral institutions to dominate the post-Soviet region.
Russian membership in the Council of Europe is a function of two threats: isolation internationally and too much democratization/liberalization domestically. These concerns conditioned Russia’s halcyon first decade of membership. Looking forward, however, the obligations of membership challenge Vladimir Putin’s limited interest in further domestic reforms at a time when international isolation bothers him less. The authors argue that understanding these varying domestic and international pressures is a good predictor of Russia’s membership interests. The authors explore general hypotheses from this case study about the conditions under which illiberal regimes willingly cede sovereignty in order to join more liberal and democratic international organizations.