The book is devoted to the causes and special aspects of modern authoritarian political regimes, which differ from their last century analogues with a pronounced imitative character. Hamstrung by democratic constitutions and international obligations, many post-socialist countries actually mimic democratic institutions and procedures, trying to hide real authoritarianism behind a beautiful democratic signboard. It turns out that the level of authoritarianism is directly proportional to the imitations level. The study also proves that the imitations level is also proportional to the levels of aggression, corruption and poverty. What are the reasons for the rise of imitative political regimes? How and by what means is their constitutional field transformed? On what grounds can they be identified in advance? The book attempts to answer these questions in the name of preventing the threat of return of authoritarianism in the post-socialist countries.
Within the framework of the overwhelming majority of modern theories, the state is considered as a specialized and centralized institution for governing a society, to what its right to exercise coercive authority – legitimized violence is often added as the state’s critical characteristic feature. Contrariwise, my approach stems from the presumption that the state should be perceived not as a specific set of political institutions only but, first and foremost, as a type of society to which this set of institutions is adequate. Following this approach leads to the necessity of paying special attention to coming to the fore of the non-kin, territorial relations in state society – the point often evicted from many contemporary definitions of the state due to the wide-spread vision of it as merely a specific form of political organization. I also argue that political centralization cannot be regarded as a feature specific for the state, as it is applicable to many non-state forms of societies. In the meantime, the feature typical for the state only, is specialization resulting in administrators’ professionalization, that is, in the formation of bureaucracy, related directly to the non-kin social ties coming into prominence. As for the right to coerce, it should not be made the central point of the state concept because it is a dependent variable itself: the specificity of monopoly of the legitimate violence in state society is precisely that it is exercised through and by bureaucrats who operate within bureaucratic institutions.
In 2013, Russia's economy entered a phase of stagnation, with a rate of gross domestic product (GDP) growth much lower than that of other emerging economies. This article argues that economic stagnation is linked to the dysfunctional system of informal institutions that permeates every level of political decision making in the country. By discussing four recent books on the topic, the article shows the negative effect of Russia's informal institutions on economic development, as well as how their emergence and persistence is linked to the political system built by Vladimir Putin. The article then outlines different scenarios of institutional reform to show how Russia stands very much at a crossroads between different paths of political, economic and institutional development.
The book contains articles by six Russian and seven international scholars who participated in a joint research project looking at, on the one hand, the development and contemporary state of democracy in the world, and on the other hand, at the political development of post-Communist Russia. The goal of the research was to analyze the Russian political practives in the light of today's political science knowledge about democracy, with its achivements and flaws, and to enrich the democratic theory with insights of the Russian experience.
The article deals with the role of tribal identity and its political use in African states, as in Guinea-Bissau. The author tells about the tribalism as an important and permanent factor of the political process, which affects state system, army, and society and contradicts with the ideas of civil equality and national unity.
Results of the regime change which took place in 2014 are summarized with the empasis on 5 basic choices made: (1) Liberal economic and political reforms vs 'besiged fortress' mobilization model; (2) Hybrid regime vs authoritarian regime (elite vs nomenklatura); (3) Empire (inside and outside) vs Russian nation state; (4) Soft power vs hard power; (West vs a pivot to Asia;
The chapter aims at studying the process of the formation of the Russian Empire in the 18th century, the formation of its political institutions, center-periphery relations and social structure of the Russian society.