Transformation Index BTI 2016. Political Management in International Comparison
Managing the peaceful transition of authoritarian states to democracy and a market-economic system represents a tremendous challenge. Whether it comes to reconstituting the coherency of the state following armed conflict, expanding participation rights and the rule of law in emerging democracies, overcoming corrupt structures, fighting poverty and inequality, or establishing clear rules for stable market-economic competition, the requirements are enormous, and the pressure on responsible leaders is intense. After all, the quality of political management makes an essential contribution to the success or failure of transformation processes. The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) thus systematically places political decision-makers’ steering capability at the heart of its analysis and, as a result, is the only index in the world that measures and compares the quality of governance with self-collected data. This is done in the firm conviction that the ongoing comparative study of transformation processes is invaluable for the successful design of reforms and holds enormous global potential to learn from different political strategies for steering change, even though diverse traditions, power configurations, resources and cultures necessarily make each transformation process unique. The BTI measures and compares transition processes in 129 transformation countries with data collected between 2013 and 2015 and establishes their global rating based on detailed country reports. Now in its seventh edition, it offers the opportunity to understand long-term trends and global developments through the analysis of time-series data. The spotlight on current developments is thus complemented by a decade of data that captures the most varied transformation processes and puts into perspective recent progress and setbacks on the way to democracy and a market economy.
The international financial and economic crisis, which hit Russia in the fall of 2008, marked the end of a long economic boom. Since then, economic growth has been sluggish and the public funds saved during the previous period of favorable economic growth have been spent on easing the economic and social consequences of the crisis. In 2014, without having completely recovered from the previous crisis, Russia was hit by further economic difficulties. These difficulties were caused by structural deficiencies within the economy, economic sanctions imposed by the West and, most importantly, a drop in the world oil price. Despite these difficulties, the Kremlin has chosen to prioritize security interests over the requirements of Russia’s economic development – for which it is bound to ultimately pay a high price. In an effort to consolidate power and to increase control over Russia’s elites, Putin – now looking more like a tsar than a president – has effectively facilitated the creation of an authoritarian-bureaucratic nomenklatura system. Russia is characterized by: • the dependence of private individuals on their official position and support of their direct superior; • short-term, hierarchical decision-making processes; • dominance of vertical over horizontal networks, which is ensured by, among other things, frequent bureaucratic rotations at the regional level; • temporary rather than permanent property ownership patterns, which supports a system of patronage; • moral and legal norms for those in power are much broader than for ordinary citizens. Most notably, the role of the Siloviki (i.e., politicians from the security and military services) has become much more pronounced, while the role of the judiciary has decreased.