The riven policy style of a post-empire state: the case of Russia
The dominant policy style in Russia is reactive, short-term, hierarchical, and state-driven – the result of a strong legacy of authoritarianism as a stable component of political regimes in the Russian Empire, USSR, and the Russian Federation. More complex reasons lie behind this riven or divided policy-making style: namely, a split between universalities or ideology as a foundation for policy legitimacy and implementation. There is a significant gap between declared policy goals and ideas, planned policy strategies and formulations, on the one hand, and policy implementation, on the other. Manual government, corruption, and state imposition define the policy formulation process in Russia. Due to the strength of the imperial legacy and “empire syndrome” ideology, the riven policy style is reproduced by bureaucrats, experts, political elites, and the public, despite the widening gap between public declarations and policy outcomes. Simulations and imitations of strategic and anticipative policy-making, especially at the policy formulation stage, characterize the behavior of key policy actors. Nevertheless, in some sectors such as education, policy styles can differ from the dominant one to a more anticipative and inclusive, long term because of the active position of policy communities such as citizens’ groups and associations or epistemic communities.