From the mid-2000 the specter of hunger and shortages began to fade away. Paradoxically, in that context, the concept of “food security” became a central reference in political discourses. Simultaneously, the negotiations for Russia’s accession to the WTO were conducted. This concept appeared earlier in the 1990’s on the marginal wings of the political spectrum, in the political programmes of the communist party, struggling against liberalization programmes and transition policies. However, during the 1990’s, it has been keeping a low visibility and had no concrete legal prospects. Furthermore, the concept in itself does not belong to the lexicon of Russian agriculture and food policies. It emerged from the debate organized in the arenas of International Organizations, such as the FAO earlier in the 1970’s. The aim of this article is to unfold this paradox and to demonstrate how this concept circulated from the arenas of international public debate to specific domestic contexts and how it has been reformulated and translated by actors. Based on a constructivist epistemology, demonstrating the process of social and political construction of the economy, this research shows how public policies and reforms in the agricultural sector have been designed and discussed. Agriculture has been a major issue of public debate, agrarian lobby groups being very active in lobbying against liberalization, and WTO accession. They deeply shaped the global perception of Russian agriculture as a specific sector requiring enhanced state regulation and support. However, this perspective has not always been validated by state officials. We start from a review of the literature drawing the broad spectrum of available definitions for the concept of food security. We argue that according to the political balance of power, the concept’s content of food security has been substantially modified since 1990: during the transition period, social instability does not allow to adopt restrictive food policies. The context dramatically evolves in the 2000’s, when both trade liberalization processes and a sharp increase in food production legitimizes food security as a core component of National security.
Elaborating on the problematics of the political form that the author started in the series of his previous research papers, S.Kaspe addresses the topic of an autonomous subject i.e., the one who produces and establishes this form. Revealing the internal contingency of both notions that are firmly entrenched in the language of political philosophy and political science, the author shows that the widely spread hopes in Russia for the autonomy of a subject as the best means of correcting political form are poorly justified. According to Kaspe’s opinion, non-autonomous subjects within the autonomous political is the state that the Russian society should aspire to.
The authors analyze the state, dynamics and prospects of public policy in Russia. They use the data of a comparative study conducted in the regions. According to L.Nickovskaya and V.Yakimets during lately the public policy and the public sphere at large are in the situation of slow but persistent freezing caused by building of so called managed democracy. The authors try to prove that modern Russia needs a new type of political development that would much more appeal to solidary partnership and not to directive mobilization.
Continuing with the series of articles devoted to the problematique of political form, this time S. Kaspe addresses the issue of democracy. The author believes that the emptiness of the center (in Shils’ interpretation of the term) should be considered a “stable core” of the essentially contested and therefore extensible concept (and the project), or its fundamental characteristic, which remains unchanged despite all external transformations: “No one ... can imagine herself the sole spokesman for and translator of democratic values, the sole ruler and manager of democratic institutions, the sole prophet of democratic transcendence.” The roots of this normative statement are found in the field of political theology. The main (but not the only) means of its practical implementation are separation of powers and multi-party system. It is their combined effect that makes democracy although imperfect, but still rather effective way of protection against political evil.
Many experts argued that political regime in contemporary Russia represented one of the instances of the global phenomenon of electoral authoritarianism. But what are the major features of such a regime in case of Russia, what about its institutional foundations and political pillars? How its life cycle … the emergence, development, and further decay changed over time, and which ways it might evolve in the foreseeable future? My paper sought answers to these questions.
The article is devoted to the analysis of the role of the concept of “revolution” in the modern left discourse. Using the method of theoretical reduction, K.Chmel identifies three main currents in the modern left thought that determine the approaches of the left to the revolution in the context of the contemporary state of the world of politics and allude to such canonical left-wing philosophers as K.Marx, M.Heidegger and B.Spinoza. His hypothesis is that the failure of the left to define revolution stems from the lack of an adequate conceptual apparatus. If earlier the right had to borrow from the language of the left, today the opposite is true, and “constructions” of the left, in fact, do not go beyond the reaction to the victorious neoliberalism. Even the methods of the struggle of the left for their agenda are dominated by the system of liberal democracy rather than by the ideas formulated by the left movement itself. This applies not only to the electoral resistance in the form of elections, but also to non-electoral resistance, the highest form of which is protests with a limited negative agenda. As a result, there is no place for revolution with its pathos of liberation and radical social transformations either at the level of theory or in practice. According to the author, the reasons for the inability of the modern left political thought to define revolution in the context of the contemporary state of the world politics lie in the refusal of the left to turn to the concepts with a positive tone and their reorientation towards the strategy of providing a response to the dominant right political project.
Religion or Communist Legacy? The Influence of Religion on Welfare Attitudes in Europe
The paper studies whether welfare attitudes of the Europeans are effected by religiosity of individual- (via degree of religiosity and religious affiliation) and contextual-level (via predominant religion and average religiosity). Results of multilevel statistical analysis performed on the data from ESS-2008 for 27 countries of Europe suggest that religiosity is negatively associated with welfare support as well as being a Catholic or a Protestant. On the contrary, Orthodox Christianity leads to substantive increase in welfare support among respondents as both individual religious affiliation and predominant religion. Finally, in countries without Communist experience religiosity is visibly associated with decline in welfare support, while in PostCommunist countries all respondents are similarly supportive of welfare provision, and more religiosity does not lead to decline in welfare support.
What determines outcomes of policy reforms and what influences scope of the changes brought by reform process? Scholars in political science believe crises and disasters to be one of the factors that may condition reform outcomes as policy entrepreneurs would often take stock of those crises to launch reforms and push for their preferred solutions. The case study of extradition policy reform in the EU carried out in the article reveals how group of entrepreneurs had been able to instrumentally use the 9/11 to make EU member states adopt the Framework decision on the European Arrest Warrant that completely eliminated extradition procedure within the EU. The argument put forth is twofold. First, entrepreneurs manipulate the reform process to palm off solutions that often have nothing to do with problems revealed by crises. Second, the entrepreneurs’ actions can make other actors agree to the outcomes that initially seemed unacceptable to them.
The material published is reduced and adapted to the format of "Polity" version of the analytical report on the results of an expert survey conducted in the framework of expert scenario-predictive monitoring "Russia 2020". The project was implemented jointly by the RAS Institute of Sociology and the ZIRCON Research Group in July-October 2015, with the financing of the RSF grant "Dynamics of social transformations in the socio-economic, political, socio-cultural and ethno-religious contexts" (№ 14-28-00218). The report was prepared by I.V.Zadorin (chief)., D.V.Maltseva and V.V.Petukhov. Expert survey was organized and conducted by E.V.Khalkina.