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.
Russia’s interventions in Ukraine and Syria are designed to force the U.S. to accept a new “grand bargain” about the future of world order. Drawing on bargaining theory, the article argues that any such bargain suffers from acute commitment problems. Russia cannot convince the U.S. that there are limits to its revisionism, while the U.S. is unable to reassure Russia that it won’t renege on any agreements as Russian power declines. President Donald Trump has hinted at détente. But as long as these underlying commitment problems remain unresolved, the two sides will continue their slide towards a new Cold War.
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 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.
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.
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 authors seek to contribute to academic debates on migration studies by examining the role of Islam in the integration of Muslim migrants into a multicultural society with a long-standing Islamic component. This study examined some transformations in the religious practices of both Muslim labor migrants and Russian indigenous Muslims in the situation of large migration flows from Central Asia to Russia. The results demonstrate that these transformations take place in both directions by bringing some Central Asian practices into the life of Russian Muslims and vice versa. The authors also pay special attention to the formation of solidarity between and inside these two quasi-communities. They conclude that social solidarity on the basis of common religion is formed inside migrant communities despite ethnic differences rather than between autochthonous Muslims and migrants.
The article analyzes the activities of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and accesses its effectiveness.
This article analyzes gender inequality in Russia's rural informal economy. Continuation of unequal gendered roles in Russia's rural informal economy suggests that tradition and custom remain strong. Gender differentials in time spent tending the household garden remain signiﬁcant, as is the distribution of household tasks into gendered roles in ways that effect professional advancement for women. Land ownership is the domain of men, and women are not owners in Russia's new economy. Moreover, men earn more from entrepreneurial activity, a function of how male and female services are valued and priced in society. Responsibility that is shared includes the marketing of household food. The conclusion is that institutional change is less impactful on gender inequality than persistence of culture and tradition.
From a political linguistics perspective, the preparations for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games offer insight into the Kremlin-orcherstrated Olympic discourse, especially the idea of sovereignty-constitutive for Putin's rule - and reveal challenges to this discourse from outside the ruling group.
If the Soviet nationalities policy was one of the most popular topics among students of Soviet history and politics, Russian nationalities policy became one of the least explored topics in Russian politics. Some scholars even claimed about the absence of Russian nationalities policy. The paper explores Russian nationalities policy and argues that certain trends can be traced from the Soviet period. To show the difference between Soviet and Russian perspectives, the distinction between structural and actor levels of nationalities policy is suggested. It is argued that in the Soviet period the structural level (formal status in the administrative hierarchy, recruitment policy, and cultural-language policy) was the priority; in contemporary Russia the policy focuses mostly on the actor level. The structural level should not be neglected. The evaluation of the potential of structural changes for the rise of latent nationalism is based on quantitative assessment of structural elements using a structural equation modeling approach. We construct indices of political and cultural nationalism for 21 Russian republics and use conventional statistical methods to show that accumulation of latent cultural nationalism might be observed in Russian ethnic republics.
Prior to the 2002 electoral reform, political parties in Russia’s regional legislative elections showed poor performance. Since December 2003, however, all regions have been obliged to elect no less than half of the members of their assemblies by proportional representation. As a result, party competition at the sub-national level became unavoidable. This study tests three kinds of hypotheses dealing with the institutional, sociological, and political factors in the fragmentation of party systems within Russia’s regions. The analysis demonstrates that political factors, especially the activity of the Kremlin and the heads of regional executives, have played the primary role in shaping regional party systems.