The article is devoted to the discussion of the hypothetical conditions of the successful activity of the regional governments in the contemporary Russia. Based on the literature analyzing the features of governance under domination of practices of bad governance, as well as considering circumstances and factors of governance at the subnational level, A.Starodubtsev describes the challenges that the regional governments face during the execution of their direct responsibilities. Analyzing the institutional, structural and personal factors that are able to affect the process and results of regional public administration, he studies the possible outcomes of their various combinations. The key thesis of the article is the idea that the combination of a governor’s intention upon creating favorable conditions for the development of the regional economy, on the one hand, and ensuring political control over the region, on the other, established positive outcome for long-term socio-economic development. All other combinations of factors are assessed as less favorable. At the same time, in accordance with the basic assumptions of the model proposed by the author intraelite conflicts create the greatest difficulties for development. Under the Russian political circumstances, intra-elite conflicts are fundamentally non-institutionalized. As a result, political actors do not have well-established channels of interest representation as well as a long-term planning horizon, accountability to voters and other mechanisms, which usually mitigate the consequences of such conflicts. However, the reasons for the lack of stable development in regions with intra-elite conflicts require further analysis. Researchers have yet to learn what exactly impedes economic growth in polycentric systems at the subnational level and how political conflict between different segments of the elite affects the selection of those who govern the respective regions.
Up to the 2002 electoral reform the performance of political parties in Russia's regional legislative elections was poor. According to the federal law introduced this reform, all Russian regions since December 2003 have been obliged to elect no less than a half of the members of their assemblies by proportional representation. As a result, party competition at the regional level became unavoidable. These circumstances gave a good opportunity to study factors of party fragmentation in the entities of the Russian Federation. The study tested three kinds of hypotheses dealing with institutional, sociological and political effects. Analysis based on general sample of elections held in Russian regions since 2003 to 2013 shows that only political effects were robust through the time of observation. Party system fragmentation in Russian entities was systematically deprived by influential regional executive incumbents, federal authorities as well as was connected to the type of regional political regime.
The crisis in Ukraine has led to the deterioration of relations between Russia and both France and Germany. If these two countries fail to mobilize their political will and hold constructive negotiations with the Russian Federation, the further development of the European Union, which faces a profound existential crisis today, will be in question. The key research question of the article is whether and to what extent the renewed Franco-German axis is able to optimize relations between the EU and Russia. The article considers the major parameters of the EU crisis, as well as the main systemic mistake committed by the architects of the integration process in Europe. From the authors’ point of view, the mistake is rooted in assessing the unifying potential of Europe in a too optimistic way and ignoring search for the tools for reconciling important differences between the EU member states in the level of economic development and the political culture. The authors reveal pros and cons of the European Union further expansion and discuss a danger associated with membership in both the EU and NATO. The authors analyze in detail the similarities and differences in the approaches of Germany and France to building relations with Russia. They also specify these countries’ national interests and geopolitical strategies in the EU that directly influence the prospects for reviving a constructive dialogue with the Russian Federation. According to the authors’ conclusion, although a certain restructuring of the European Union under the new Franco-German leadership is quite possible, it is yet premature to expect systemic changes in the relations between the EU and Russia.
Abstract. Over the last fifteen years municipalities in Russia have lost a significant part of their financial autonomy: the average share of transfers from regional budgets to municipal budgets has doubled. Simultaneously, mu- nicipalities have lost their political autonomy from the regional authorities. The article is dedicated to finding answers to such questions as whether the growth of the financial and political dependence of municipalities went hand in hand with the politicization of regional intergovernmental transfers and whether elec- tion results affect the amount of funds received by municipalities from regional budgets. The authors used an original dataset on two types of intergovernmental transfers, the distribution of which depends on regional authorities, for 70 mu- nicipalities of the Perm Krai and the Novgorod Oblast, 2013—2017.
The regression analysis conducted by the authors confirmed the hypothe- sis that redistribution of budgetary funds between municipalities is decided on political grounds, but this holds true only at the beginning of the electoral cy- cle, which is consistent with the model of rewarding a loyal electorate. As is the case at the federal level, this is about rewarding those who produce “good” electoral results and punishing those who produce “bad” electoral results rath- er than courting swing voters or buying off most problematic territories. The fact that the municipality has its own parliamentarian in the regional legisla- ture can also contribute to obtaining more transfers. Municipal needs for in- frastructure have no impact on the size of transfers.
The metaphor of “salvation markets” can be limited useful for understanding the behaviour of those actors who operate in the intersections of sacral and political fields, being guided by their own rational logic, – for example, states. The weakening of their soteriological function, observable in the last decades, can be connected with contraction of “market of salvation” itself, due to the reduction of amount of human suffering. However, this contraction turned out temporary. Restoration of demand to salvation forces states to redefine its strategies, fluctuating between various versions of “civil religion”, “political religion”, radical laicism etc. At the same time, competition worsen between states and other operators of salvation – other forms of political groups (Verbände), as well as traditional and non-traditional hierocratic groups (Verbände).
Hypothetically, by the evaluation criterion of competitiveness of states on “salvation markets” can serve the degree of readiness expressed by their citizens “to fight for their country” In favour of hypothesis argues that the category of the victim, present in some way in almost any sacral discourses and symbolical complexes, passed therefrom both to discourses and to mechanisms of symbolization and legitimation of modern state. Moreover, there are no intuitively obvious evidence of this hypothesis in sociological data. Meanwhile, deeper analysis, possibly, will allow to reveal them. Alternatively, there are grounds to suggest that further course of events will undermine altogether the efficiency of the “market” metaphor in this context – and will require to replace it by the other metaphor. Most likely, it would be the metaphor of “war”.
The article is devoted to the problem of political authority that is viewed as a fact of a social reality. The author regards authority as a sociopolitical institution rooted in the biological nature of a human being and evolving throughout the history. The article suggests a framework for a holistic theory of political authority and highlights four stages of its development. The first stage is (political) authority in its pre-human version. These are the forms of leadership generated by the need to solve the functional problem of cooperation among social animals and imply a mobile structure that is based on trust in the leader and is responsive to changes, rather than a rigid hierarchy. The second stage is the emergence of a functional replication of the “animal authority” within the first human communities, formation of the institution of authority and its mergence with religious ideas, the emergence of faith in supernatural agents and supernatural punishment. The third stage is the development of political authority as a religious authority, which led to the establishment of the institution of delegating power from someone who lacks physical properties — God, Gods or state as a “mortal God”. The fourth stage is the demystified political authority, which is established in a secular mo dern so ciety, but retains some elements of its predecessors. According to the author, such an empirical approach to understanding political authority opens up a possibility, among other things, to solve some problems of normative theories, allowing a clearer understanding of the role of authority in the political life of a society
The article is devoted to the experience of the functioning in Russia of public expert seminars on the problems of the socio-political life of the country as a platform for interaction between the authorities and the expert community, as well as within the community itself. The first section briefly describes the history of the emergence of a prototype of such seminars in the late USSR, which is interpreted by the author as the birth of a private-public sphere under the conditions of a strict party control over the public sphere. The second section discusses the development of public-political clubs of the perestroika period and their role in expanding the public sphere and recruiting future political and public figures. The third section covers the 1990s. The author shows that at the beginning of that decade the Russian authorities were open to interaction with the expert community more than ever. He proposes a hypothesis that such openness can be explained (at least partly) by the arrival of a new team in the government that included many people from the academic world. The last section presents a comparative analysis of the three expert seminars that were most active in the first half of the 2000s — the seminars of the clubs “Civil Debates” and “Open Forum”, as well as the seminar “Politeia”. One of the most important tasks set by their initiators was the formation of an open expert environment, accumulating the expert potential scattered in the bureaucratic, business and public structures, and overcoming the split of the national elite into micro-communities that hardly contact with each other. However, it was not possible to solve these tasks, and the activities of the seminars gradually came to naught.
The article is devoted to the analysis of the hypothesis proposed V.Gel'man, according to which the post-Soviet Russia should be viewed as an "crucial case" of electoral authoritarianism that sheds light jn the origins of the strength and weakness of this model in a comparative perspective. Having thoroughly analyzed Gel'man's arguments in the context of the Russian political history of the last two and a half decades, author faild to find convincing evidence of either this hypothesis or even justification of classifying the country's political regime into the category of "electoral authoritarianism" per se. The research conducted by the author rather demonstrates the uniqueness of the Russian "authoritarianism" and that the conventional methods of description within the modern Western comparative politics fail to capture its specificity.
The past several years there has been a stable interest of non-democracies towards the institute of electronic participation. The article addresses the possible reasons of the concept’s popularity and factors of its successful implementation. It is argued that e-participation allows solving internal problems of Internet - control and legitimacy, as well as boosting up international socialization and economic competitiveness. Hence functions of e-participation are quite similar to those performed by other “democratic institutions”. On the basis of the dictator’s digital dilemma and results of empirical analysis it is concluded that e-participation is better developed in countries with higher foreign incentives and lower political risks and economic costs.