Comparative Politics Gerard Chretien
RUSSIA: POLITICAL STRUCTURE:
Summary: Why the democratic structure in Russia is proving to be unsuccessful.
The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, disintegrating into thirteen different states. Ever since the political structure of Russia has been viable and lacks stability. Many reasons can be cited for this instability out of which the bearish economy and a shaky democratic system are the main causes.
The reforms taken after Russia’s disintegration have yet to be proved fruitful. The economy is in no better shape then before and politically Russia has great set backs in the name of the ongoing war with Muslim freedom fighters in Chechnya.
“The most important factor that needs to be established is economic growth. Successful economic development will ease the transition and enable violence and dissention among the races very avoidable. If resources are abundant and properly distributed then multiple markets can grow. However, when resources run scarce and competition arises for limited assets then violence and animosity become the only plausible alternatives. If two industries fiercely compete for limited resources then one is likely to be forced out of the market. A sound and developing economy is essential for the happiness and orderly conduct of the people (Barner-Barry & Hody, 1995)(1).
Another problem cited in the progress is the difficulty of transition from communism to democracy when the government officials are trained in the old system. The process of privatization requires lengths of time and willingness of the people to take upon the businesses for which they require full governmental protection, easy paper work and full rights over their property.
“If Russia is to make the transition, it must rediscover civil society (the informal network of family, church, service organization and the like). Strong civil society provides the political culture that supports liberal institutions, but the Communist Party deliberately destroyed many elements of civil society to ensure party dominance. Russia faces moral, economic, and legal gaps in its civil society. Hence Russia has a difficult road to achieve democracy.”(2)
It was a widely held belief that with the fall of the Soviet Union Russia would make a rapid transition into democracy and free markets. “This overlooks the crucial role of political culture in shaping and supporting political and economic institutions. Russia did not have the political culture appropriate to western-style institutions and so became chaotic and lawless. For Russians, democracy became a dirty word, as it symbolized Russia’s troubles. Yet turning back is impossible, for communist ideology and the promise of a future socialist utopia are no longer credible. Without a vision, opportunism has run rampant.”(2)
To boost it’s economy and stabilize the government Russia must undertake the will of its people and give confidence to investors from abroad. Russia must have a strong civil society, where people all understand one another and have strong family systems. Politically Russia should stop ongoing aggression and concentrate on the home front.
(1)Barner-Barry, and Hody. The Politics of Change: The Transformation of the Former Soviet Union. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995.
(2) Michael G. Roskin Countries and Concepts Seventh Edition’