July 24 marked the 90th anniversary of the domestic political science's patriarch, deputy chairman of the Editorial Board of the "Politics" Alexander Galkin. The material tells both about the scholar and its contribution to the development of social science knowledge in our country and the formation of the Russian political science community. The collection includes the texts of Boris Koval, Anatoly Chernyaev, Tatyana Alekseeva, Kirill Kholodkovsky, Sergei Mikhailov, Alexei Shestopal, Oksana Gaman-Golutvina, Olga Zdravomyslova and Leonid Blyakhar.
The article analyzes factors that promote electoral effectiveness of political leaders’ successors
based on the three Asian regions – South, Southeast and East Asia. A new interpretation of the institution of political succession is being offered within the game theoretical framework and theories of the focal point by T. Shelling and the winning coalition by B. Bueno de Mesquita et al. The evidence from the quantitative analysis demonstrates in a counterintuitive way that regime openness, lack of resources and relatively independent successor turn out to be not as adverse as it seems to be at the first glance for political succession. While belonging to former political leaders’ families plays much lesser role that expected.
M.Krechetova and G.Satarov continue the line of reasoning laid out in their article "Power and Violence (Russian Case)" and attempt to reconcile their thoughts with the current political situation in Russia and the results of scenario forecasting analysis that they carried out in Spring 2016. The study shows that Russia is moving a way from the inertial scenario, which seemed most likely only six month ago, towards the scenarios of a "Besieged fortress" and "Explosion" that imply an increase in physical violence.
This project aims to explain the alternation of phases in the Soviet nationalities policy by developments in foreign policy. First, we explore the history of the Soviet nationalities policy and revealed the alteration of “soft” and “hard” waves. Second, using the theoretical framework of the Randall Collins’ geopolitical theory we assume the effect of geopolitical tensions/ geopolitical stability on the patterns of nationalism and nationalities policy. Collins argues that geopolitical stability positively affects the cosmopolitan/ multicultural pattern in nationalities policy, while the periods of geopolitical tension are associated with the pattern of assimilation. We composed the dataset on all geopolitical conflicts with the Soviet involvement since 1926 and correlated with the waves of nationalities policy. Our study supports the Collins’ theory: both “hard” waves coincide with periods of geopolitical tensions in 1930-50-s and 1970-80-s. In the Conclusion we extrapolate our finding to the post-Soviet nationalities policy.
The article is devoted to the supernatural punishment hypothesis elaborated by Dominic D.P.Johnson, Professor at the Oxford University, and a possibility of applying this hypothesis to Political Science. The essence of the hypothesis is that religion and belief in gods improve human cooperation and form a basis for altruistic behavior. Johnson views people’s ability to believe in the “supernatural agent” who is watching them and who will surely punish them for their sins as the evolutionary meaning of religion. The author provides a detailed analysis of Johnson’s concept and demonstrates its unequivocal scientific importance, but at the same time he pinpoints its weaknesses such as data interpretation and adequacy of using the terms “religion”, “altruism” and “group cooperation”. The author proposes several alternative explanations of the evolutionary meaning of religion and considers it from the meme theory perspective. According to his conclusion, if altruistic behavior is indeed natural to human beings at the biological level, then an institution of religion can be viewed as its higher form, but not its cause. In order to make both positions in this scientific debate clear, the author invites metaphors of symbiosis and parasitism for describing relationships between a human being and a belief in a supernatural agent (religion). Johnson’s hypothesis deserves close attention and scrutiny as an argument in favor of the “symbiosis” metaphor. However, one must use it with caution, admit its limitations and avoid oversimplification of a highly complicated model of the human sociality that inevitably includes religious consciousness.
The article is devoted to the problem of political authority and its features in the modern democratic communities. The author interprets autho rity as a socio-political institution that is rooted in the biological nature of a human and has been evolving throughout the history. According to his concept, trust in political authority is determined by faith in the external force that delegates this authority — God, imagined community in the form of a Nation or a State, or a value system — this is what Democracy is. Subordination to democratic authority (unlike other types) is based on a “new” normative (moral) foundation: it is “this country is right, therefore it is mine” rather than “regardless of whether it is right or wrong, this is my country”.
The author’s argument in general justifies the traditional defense of libe ral democracy. Although he admits that the postmodern and anarchist critics of democratic authority have their own logic and reasons, he points out that some of their statements are inconsistent with the latest empirical data, including data from the field of biopolitics. From his point of view, since the main institutional foundation of democracy is the value system and citizens’ belief in this system, democracy in principle is not jeopardized by the “emergency situation” that predisposes reconstruction of the authoritarian practi ces. This is also because a high level of interpersonal trust, solidarity, faith in demo cratic values and accountability will restore the “open society” regime. Liberal democracy is threatened by the sentiments of frustration, panic and fear, and if they prevail, democracy can really be hurt.