Democracy versus Modernization: a dilemma for Russia and for the world
This book seeks to “re-think democracy.” Over the past years, there has been a tendency in the global policy community and, even more widely, in the world’s media, to focus on democracy as the “gold standard” by which all things political are measured. This book re-examines democracy in Russia and in the world more generally, as idea, desired ideal, and practice. A major issue for Russia is whether the modernization of Russia might not prosper better by Russia focusing directly on modernization and not worrying too much about democracy. This book explores a wide range of aspects of this important question. It discusses how the debate is conducted in Russia; outlines how Russians contrast their own experiences, unfavourably, with the experience of China, where reform and modernization have been pursued with great success, with no concern for democracy; and concludes by assessing how the debate in Russia is likely to be resolved.
The author elaborates that in the transition from a previous political system into a liberal democracy, there is an ever-present threat of the encroachment of authoritarianism into the democratization agenda. This chapter argues that the conditions for “authoritarian syndrome” can be found in the form that democratization takes and in the culture of a given transitional state. The focus here is on the latter and on the social, political, and economic dynamics that can lead a transitional society to reject democratization. Russia, a transitional state where echoes of authoritarianism and great power aspirations are always on the surface of politics, is presented as a case study.