Сохрани и опубликуйсвоё исследование
О проекте | Cоглашение | Партнёры
The work is a comparative analysis of the executives in the US and Russia.
Скачать - 0 байт
Enter the password to open this PDF file:
SEMINAR IN COMPARATIVE POLITICS
Some factors leading to the executive dominance in the Russian Federation
with comparison to the United States of America
Every country on Earth at some point in history has to face the problem of
designing its political institutions. Institutional choice have been studied extensively both
theoretically (Ordeshook 1997; Riker 1980; Shepsle 1989) and practically (Juan J. Linz,
Arturo Valenzuela, 1994; Stepan & Skach, 1993). The process of institutional choice is
inextricably linked to democratization (Levitsky & Way 2002). Twentieth century in
general and, as Huntington (1992) called it, “the third wave” of democratization in
particular, especially after the collapse of communism in Western Europe and the USSR,
brought about different constitutional projects. Some of these projects were more
successful than the others1. The European countries present promising results. However,
shortly after that, many “newly born” countries “rolled back” to the dominance of the
executive branches of power which threatens to undermine democracy and, therefore lead
to authoritarian regimes. In some cases, we may see strong powerful presidents with the
vast amount of authority which allows them to exert significant influence (formal and
informal) over other governmental and non-governmental bodies. In some presidential and
mixed republics, presidents have acquired more authority, than in the others.
The Russian Federation is an especially interesting case due to regime change
which happened under the same constitution. Since 1999 Russia have been undergoing a
series of shits from more plural or, in Robert A. Dahl and Douglas W. Rae’s (2005) terms
See (Yuthakorn, 2014)
poliarchical regime, to what Guillermo O’Donnell named delegative democracy with only
one center of power, that overweighs the weak and not institutionalized system of checks
and balances of the Russian political system. In this research, we will attempt to answer the
question about what major factors caused the shift which led to the executive dominance in
the Russian Federation which is absent in the United State of America. To archive this goal,
we will use historical, institutional, and neo-institutional approaches.
The USA was historically the first country to install democratic political regime
with the system of checks and balances and presidential system which has proven to be
stable and efficient. The US positive example has been attractive to other countries to
“borrow” American political configuration. However, in our opinion, without cultural and
historical conditions necessary for respect of personal autonomy of the individual and
liberal democracy, presidentialism (and the executive branch) is able to become a dominant
branch of government and therefore, suppress other political institutions (Levitsky & Way
2002). Russia is a good example of the latter. In this paper we will make an attempt to
show that “institutional equilibrium” as Shepsle (1989) puts it, is the result of different
forces, such as veto players (Levitsky & Murillo 2013), and especially previous political
history (Baranov, 2003) and political culture (Elgie 2004). Therefore, comparison of main
factors which lead to the executive dominance in the USA and Russia may give an
understanding of that process and the reasons why the executive has prerogative in Russian
political system and does not have it in the USA.
Since institutions are the key concept we will focus on in this research, it is
necessary to clarify what we mean by it. In this paper we will mainly use the definition of
political institutions, given by a Russian political scientists and researcher in the field of
institutionalism S.V. Patrushev, who, in your opinion, gave the most comprehensive, well
developed definition of this phenomenon.
“Political institutions include:
a political framework – a set of formal and informal principles,
norms, rules and regulations causing human activities in the political field;
a political entity, or an agency, or an organization – in a certain
way organized association of people, or the political structure;
a stable type of political behavior, manifested in a certain system
of collective actions, procedures, and mechanisms” (Patrushev, 2001, p. 155)
It is worth noting that political institutions can be both formal and informal.
Douglass North notes that, “formal constraints – such as rules that human beings devise
and in informal constraints - such as conventions and codes of behavior. Institutions may
be created, as was the United States Constitution; or they may simply evolve over time, as
does the common law” (North 1996, p.4).
Therefore, we will use formal institutions such as the Constitutions and political
systems they lay out as well as informal – such as political culture of countries which
stabilizes and maintains political order and justifies and legitimizes “institutional
equilibrium”. Political culture here is the main political institution. The study of the
changes and functioning of the institutions is essentially a study of political culture in order
to identify its features in each country (Panov, 2004, p. 15). At every stage of history as a
result of institutionalization and selection practices, certain institutional arrangements are
formed that reflect the essence of the era.
1. The Constitution of the Russian Federation and formal limits to
Russian Constitution of 1993 recognizes the principle of the power division among
legislative, executive and judiciary. The essence of the principle is to ensure that “the
content of the various governmental functions are carried out in the country by selfsufficient, independent of each other structures of the state mechanism, which cancel each
other out, limit each other of usurping power, the concentration of all power functions in
the hands of one of the branches of government” (Hambrieva, 2005, p. 96). At the same
time the legislature creates the laws, the executive ensures their application and
enforcement and the judiciary resolves disputes about what it lawful and what is not. The
separation of powers is a hallmark of the rule of law, which guarantees its functioning. It
provides a mechanism of “checks and balances”. In addition, the separation of powers into
three branches is caused by the need of a clear definition of their functions, powers and
responsibilities of the various government agencies, ability of public authorities to monitor
each other on a Constitutional basis, the effective fight against abuse of power (Ryan 2012).
The implementation of the principle of separation of powers is always accompanied by the
freedom of the media.
For the first time in history, legal provision for the separation of powers are found
in the US Constitution (1787) and in the Constitutional acts of the French Revolution
(1789-1794.). Today, this principle is enshrined in the Constitution in most countries. In
the Russian Federation principle of separation of powers is written in the Constitution,
which was adopted in a national referendum December 12 of 1993. The adoption of the
Constitution was presided by Constitutional crisis of September-October of 1993 when the
President Boris Yeltsin exceeded his Constitutional ability and dissolved the parliament –
the highest council. Public support and high ratings gave him power to offer a Constitution
which was biased toward the executive branch and gave the President broad powers and
less responsibility at the same time (Shevtsova, 1999).
In Article 10 the Russian Constitution states that “the government of the Russian
Federation is based on the separation of legislative, executive and judicial. The legislative,
executive and judicial powers shall be independent” (The Constitution of the Russian
Federation, 1993). The Constitution outlines the structure of the highest state authorities of
the Russian Federation. Legislative power at the federal level is assigned to the Federal
Assembly which consists of two branches – the State Duma and the Federation Council.
Executive power is exercised by the Government of the Russian Federation. Judicial power
is exercised by three independent courts – the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court,
and the Supreme Arbitration and other courts of the Russian Federation.
The institution of presidency: an element of balancing power?
An important institution of state power is the institution of the presidency, which
exists in many forms and is a democratic political system attribute. The first Presidential
republic was installed in the United States of America in 1787. However, the presidency is
not a guarantor of democracy, since the imperfect counterweights can cause a turn towards
authoritarian rule. Responsibilities of Presidents are not the same in different countries. So
in parliamentary republics, they act as heads of state and official functions does not affect
the actual course of political events. In Presidential and semi-Presidential republic
Presidents act as key figures in the real state power, have enormous potential for the
effective conduct of policies (Shugart & John M. Carey 1992; Arend Lijphart 1999).
Institute of Presidential power in Russia has a relatively short history. The position
of a popularly elected President of the Russian Federation was established in accordance
with the results of the nationwide referendum in March 1991. The first President of the
Russian Federation was elected by direct popular election in June 12, 1991. The
transformation of the Russian presidency in the direction of “super-Presidentialism” was
caused by the conflict between the President and the parliament, which ended in favor of
the executive branch, and the victory was perpetuated in the Constitution of 19932.
The new Constitution installed the separation of powers, but this separation, as
many believe, is clearly unbalanced, securing, as a political expert O. Smolin says,
“democratic in form but essentially authoritarian political regime” (Smolin, 2006, pp. 203204). The government is headed by the Prime Minister (the Chairman of the Government )
but many ministers, especially the most important ones (minister of foreign affairs,
minister of defense, minister of internal affairs and heads of special services), directly
responsible to the President. The Constitution gives the President the exclusive right to
make appointments in the government, to sign and promulgate federal laws, and formulate
policies. The President is head of state and the “guarantor” of the Constitution (Art. 80). He
or she is elected for six years (before 2009 it was four years) and the maximum duration of
the tenure is two consecutive terms, without any age limits (Art. 81). The President
appoints with agreement of the Federation Council (upper chamber of Russian parliament)
judges of the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Arbitration, and the Attorney
General. This is a very peculiar Constitutional provision because the Federation Council
consists of regional nominees similar to the US Senate and, therefore is fewer in number. It
makes it easier for the President to find a solution with them than with deputies of the State
Duma. Even before direct elections of the Federation Council were abolished by Vladimir
Putin, Yeltsin administration had found compromises on the judges and the Attorney
The question about whether the Russian Federation is “superpresidentialism” or “semi-presidential” republic is still
relevant. See., for example, The Russian policy: a course / Ed. V.A. Nikonov. - M .: Publishing House of the
International University in Moscow, 2006, pp 38-62.
According to American researchers Shuggart and Carey, Russia is very close to the “presidential-parliamentary” type of
regime, which, in their opinion, is the most unstable. See. Shugart M., Carey J. Presidents and Assemblies:
Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
The President, moreover, forms and heads the Security Council, approves the
military doctrine of the Russian Federation, appoints and dismisses the high command of
the Armed Forces of Russia (Art. 84). The President forms the foreign policy of the Russian
Federation (Art. 86). The President in the circumstances and in the manner envisaged by
the federal Constitutional law is entitled to proclaim (for a certain time) a state of
emergency in the Russian Federation or in its particular areas. The Russian President
similarly to his or her American counterpart reports annually to the Federal Assembly
about the situation in the country and main directions of its foreign and domestic policies.
However, unlike in the USA shortly after the speech is given, presidential decrees are
introduced for the State Duma to implement presidential “recommendations” into law. The
President has the power to issue binding decrees and orders. They, however, should not
contradict the Constitution, and, in addition, they may be replaced by laws enacted in the
ordinary legislative procedure. Powers of the President, thus, is a combination of the
prerogatives of the appointments of officers and the formation of policies.
The American Constitution on the contrary, allows only seven major Presidential
duties and powers. Thus American Presidents serve as administrative heads of the nation.
The Constitution gives little guidance on the President’s administrative duties. It states
merely that ‘‘the executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of
America’’ and that ‘‘he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.’’ These
imprecise directives have been interpreted to mean that the President is to supervise and
offer leadership to various departments, agencies, and programs created by Congress. In
practice, a chief executive spends much more time making policy decisions for his cabinet
departments and agencies than enforcing existing policies. The Presidents also act as
commander in chief of the military. In essence, the Constitution names the President the
highest-ranking officer in the armed forces. But it gives Congress the power to declare war.
The framers no doubt intended Congress to control the President’s military power;
nevertheless, Presidents have initiated military action without the approval of Congress.
Presidents convene Congress. The President can call Congress into special session on
‘‘extraordinary Occasions,’’ although this has rarely been done. He must also periodically
inform Congress of ‘‘the State of the Union.’’
One of the most important Constitutional provisions is Presidential veto power.
The President can veto (reject) any bill or resolution enacted by Congress, with the
exception of joint resolutions that propose Constitutional amendments. Congress is able to
override a Presidential veto with a two-thirds vote in each house. Russian Presidents also
have a veto power which is now used rarely because the Presidential party controls all
political institutions in Russia. American Presidents appoint various officials. The
President has the authority to appoint federal court judges, ambassadors, cabinet
members, other key policymakers, and many lesser officials. Many appointments are
subject to Senate confirmation. He or she make treaties with the ‘‘Advice and Consent’’ of at
least two-thirds of those senators voting at the time, the President can make treaties with
foreign powers. The President is also to ‘‘receive Ambassadors,’’ a phrase that Presidents
have interpreted to mean the right to formally recognize other nations. And Presidents in
the USA grant pardons. The President can grant pardons to individuals who have
committed ‘‘Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.’’ (The
Constitution of the United States, 1787). It is worth noting that American Presidents do not
have the ability to introduce bills to the Congress directly. They use their partisan support
in the legislature. While Russian Presidents have been not members of party but enjoy
ability to introduce bills to the Russian State Duma.
Another essential difference between the statuses of Presidents of the Russian
Federation and the US is its dominant position in its relations with other branches of
government. The American President cannot dissolve the parliament - the Congress, which
is endowed by US Constitution with the right to make laws. It is clear that under such
circumstances the absence of the Presidential legislative powers largely would reduce his or
her power to a fiction, turning the institution into a puppet of the Congress. But there is
such a power. This is the right to veto laws adopted by the Congress. In order to overcome a
Presidential veto, it is necessary to secure votes of two-thirds of the members of both
chambers of the representative body. And when the Presidential party has at least a third of
seats in Congress always, the possibility of overcoming the veto look quite problematic.
Formally, the Congress has the right to depose the President from office. But it can
be done only through a cumbersome procedure of impeachment in the presence of proven
charges against the President in crimes or treason. Neither the executive nor the legislature
is allowed to encroach on each other's own Constitutional authority. This situation is
fraught with conflicts but also encourages cooperation. “To reach agreement with the
majority in the Congress, President uses a variety of ways: control of the ruling party,
personal contact with individual members of the congregation, indirect pressure on them
by “flirting” with the population of separate constituencies or appeal to public opinion in
general. An important channel of the Presidential influence is its direct access to the media”
(Golosov, 2001, p. 280). As pointed out by a Russian political scientist V. Nikonov, the
Russian President “has the executive authority because he or she forms the government
and actually leads it. The President possesses a legislative power because he or she issues
decrees and introduces bills. And President has judicial powers while acting as an arbiter in
disputes between the central and regional authorities” (Nikonov, 2003, p. 23).
The Constitution places Russian presidency above the system of power separation.
American Presidents preside over the American executive, hence they are responsible for
implementation of policies; the Russian President formally has no such a responsibility.
However, its Constitutional power to preside over government and appoint a Prime
Minister makes the President to be de facto a part of executive, therefore, strengthening it
and leading to executive dominance which is not found in the USA where the system of the
checks and balances limits the Presidential powers. The nature of the executive dominance
in Russia is found in the relationships between the President and the parliament.
Russian presidency is equipped with the Administration of the President which is a
powerful institution, established by the Constitution. Article 83 states: “The President of
the Russian Federation shall form the Administration of the President of the Russian
Federation”. The administration of the Russian President creates the conditions for the
implementation of the Presidential Constitutional powers. Herein lays another distinctive
feature distinguishing the US executive from its Russian counterpart and making the latter
more significant. This is expressed in particular in the drafting of bills to introduce them to
the State Duma as a legislative initiative of the President. The administration prepares
drafts of decrees, instructions, appeals of the President, other documents, including drafts
of annual Presidential address to the Federal Assembly. The administration is a powerful
political tool. During the Yeltsin’s presidency it failed to create a successful political party to
support Presidential bills, therefore it had to use other mechanism to secure necessary
amount of votes for crucial bills. According to L.A. Okounkov, “the Presidential
Administration acts as an independent political force under the auspices of the Presidential
patronage, as the “second government”” (Okounkov, 2001, p. 10). In 1995, in fact, the
Presidential Administration took budgetary control away of the Ministry of Finance, and
the Government of the Russian Federation. The administration of the President has not
just gradually become the most significant political player but also from the staff or
auxiliary apparatus of the President, it has grown to represent the presidency. During the
period from 1996 to 1999, the administration of the President was in some cases even more
than the President itself (Shchipanov, 2009, pp. 3-6). After winning the 2000 Presidential
elections Vladimir Putin has set his administration task of forming a party that could
become a majority in the State Duma. This task was successfully implemented; the political
party “United Russia” as the party in power has since won parliamentary elections with
overall majority which “has eliminated almost all of the direct threat to the executive
power” (V. Leybin, V. Dyatlikovich, D. Kartcev, V. Surkov, 2012, p. 36).
The weak parliament as an ally of the executive branch of the
Many researches of Russian politics would agree that the political system in
country is structured to put the State Duma in the position of weakness (Shevtsova, 1999;
Baranov, 2003; Smolin, 2006). The Presidential combined legislative powers to veto
parliamentary bills and to issue decrees permit the head of state to rule by decree if he or
she commands the support of just one-third of either house of the Federal Assembly
(Parrish, 1998, p. 79). Such a condition gave reasons to call Russian political system a “figleaf parliamentarism”, i.e. a situation in which the State Duma “does not in any real sense
share sovereignty with the chief executive” (Huskey, 1999, p. 180).
responsibilities of branches of power and their institutions are clearly not balanced, which
affects the relationships between them, leading to a confrontation. In addition, as Baranov
puts it, “Russia has no clear legal provisions assigned to each of the branches of
government that blurs the separation of powers in organizing the structures and
mechanisms of the state functioning as a whole” (Baranov, 2003, p. 143).
One of the main weakness of the State Duma is revealed in the article 111-1 of the
Constitution which states that the “chairman of the government ... shall be appointed by
the President of the Russian Federation with the consent of the State Duma.” (The
constitution of Russian Federation, 1993). William Clark writes,
“This “consent” exercised by the Duma is, under normal circumstances,
little more than the type of consent exercised by the US Senate when it
confirms (or fails to confirm) cabinet secretaries nominated by the
President. It is not the type of consent that defines the relationship
between a Prime Minister and the parliament in either a British-style or
continental European parliamentary system. In Russia, “consent” does not
ordinarily mean that the head of government is “responsible to” or requires
the “confidence” of the Duma” (Clark 2011, p.11).
The Constitution later states in the article 111-4, ”in case the State Duma rejects
three times the candidates for the post of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian
Federation, the President of the Russian Federation shall appoint the Chairman of the
Government, dissolve the State Duma and call for new elections”. This provision clearly
favors the executive, putting the legislature into position when it has to either approve the
Presidential nominee as it happened in 1999 or be dissolved by the President. Clearly, it
may be the other way around, if Presidential ratings are low and new elections may bring
more opposition to power and, therefore more hostile parliament.
Another worth noting idiosyncrasy of the Russian Constitution which can be used
to dissolve the State Duma and favors the executive is article 117-3, “The State Duma may
express no-confidence in the Government of the Russian Federation. A no-confidence
resolution shall be adopted by a majority of votes of the total number of the deputies of the
State Duma. After the State Duma expresses no-confidence to the Government of the
Russian Federation, the President of the Russian Federation shall be free to announce the
resignation of the Government or to reject the decision of the State Duma. In case the State
Duma again expresses no-confidence in the Government of the Russian Federation within
three months, the President of the Russian Federation shall announce the resignation of
the Government or dissolve the State Duma”. The US Constitutional design, on the
contrary, does not give the President powers to dissolve the Congress; however the
Congress can impeach the President.
The Russian parliamentary control over the executive is tenuous (Nichols 1998). It
does not have the right to reject individual ministers. It has scant oversight powers.
Although it can investigate the President and the government, it lacks the resources to do
so and almost never does so. Ministers do not answer to the parliament and are not
summoned to testify before it. Parliament has no ability to monitor the military, the police,
or the organs of state security.
Neither dead, nor alive: federation in Russia as a way to secure
Federalism is the theory or advocacy of federal principles for dividing powers
between member units and common institutions (Follesdal, 2014). There are two main
features of a federal state, without at least partial presence of which it is impossible to talk
about federalism (Bogdanova, 2001, p. 166):
Firstly, there are several levels of government whose jurisdiction extends to
all citizens of the Federation.
Secondly, these levels exist as independent power units, building the
relationship with each other on a contractual basis – none of them can
interfere in the affairs of another and or unilaterally deprive another level of
its powers, or, on the contrary, force it to fulfill its mandate. They are not in
a mutually subordinate position, and act as equal partners.
Principles of federalism are not fixed in any direct form (i.e., in the form of some
established wording) in the Constitution of the Russian Federation, nor in the Constitution
of the United States of America. In this respect there is a similarity, although the
Constitutions mentioned were developed and adopted in totally different historical
conditions. However, the federalism in Russia and in the United States is seen as one of the
fundamental principles of statehood.
However, when in the early 2000s Vladimir Putin was elected President he
concentrated his efforts on what later was called “building of the vertical of power”. The
reason for that was the policy of decentralization, which took place in the 1990s and led to
economic decline and the debilitation of the administrative capacity of the state. According
to V. Gelman, “during the Spring of 2000 the main directions of domestic policy of the new
President was the reorganization of the state, aimed at strengthening the Centre as well as
the entire vertical of power; suspension of business elite from the centers of political power;
liberal-market innovations in the economic and social policy” (Gelman, 2006).
unConstitutional institutions headed by plenipotentiaries of the President, whose goals
were to bring the policies and legal frameworks of the federation unites in accordance with
the federal legislation and public policy. In fact, such a measure installed Presidential
control over Russian regions and weakened the latter. Moreover, the Presidential
administration has created their offices in every region, headed by the chief federal
inspectors, who are responsible to the plenipotentiaries of the President in the federal
districts and their main task is maintaining stability and supervision of the governors.
Thus, Putin created a complex of institutions which are not Constitutional but the
Constitutional Court abstained from making any judgments. From 2004 Russia de facto
ceased to be federation. Gradually through party control of regional assemblies, federal
districts and abolition of direct elections of governors, Putin managed to take control of the
The second important reform in the mechanism of state power was the
reorganization of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Federal Assembly, also
seriously infringed the status of regional leaders. The governors and chairmen of regional
legislative assemblies, who were members of the upper house, had to, according to the
reform, part with their seats in the Federation Council. Instead, the ordinary
representatives of the regional executives and legislative bodies became members of the
Federation Council. This reduced both the possibility of influence of regional leaders in the
central government, and the political weight of the regions themselves. Regional leaders
initially resisted reform, but in July 2000, had to give way to the efforts of the President.
The third measure was tactics of non-contractual relations between the federal
center and the regions. So, 14 agreements with federal units remained in force by 2002,
and the rest were one way or another denounced (Salmin, 2003).
Changes in tax legislation reduced revenues to regional budgets, making them
more dependent on transfers from the center, which also stimulated the redistribution of
property in the regions in favor of the financial and industrial groups.
An important step to strengthen the vertical of power was the adoption of
amendments to the current legislation, which gave the President the right to suspend the
governors from office as well as to dissolve the legislative body of the regions. The
governors became responsible not only for the implementation of election promises but
also for the execution of federal laws, Presidential decrees, government acts and court
In 2004, Putin introduced the law according to which the heads of regions of the
Russian Federation were elected by the legislative assemblies of the region on the proposal
of the President. The mechanism has been change only in 2009 as a measure of political
liberalization of President Dmitry Medvedev. In spite of reenacting of gubernatorial
elections, it is only partially true because now candidates for office have to secure a number
of signatures in their support from deputies of municipal councils which are controlled by
the ruling party which makes it impossible for oppositional leaders to even run for
Federal principal of the USA political system is secured by American Constitution
and body of American legislature but the most importantly it is preserved by political
tradition. The delegates who met in Philadelphia in 1787 tackled the problem of making
one nation out of thirteen independent states by inventing a political form that combined
features of a confederacy with features of unitary government. As James Madison wrote in
Federalist No. 10, ‘‘The federal Constitution forms a happy combination . . . [of] the great
and aggregate interests being referred to the national, and the local and particular to state
governments”. (Hamilton et al. 2009, p.53). American President has no formal influence on
the state executives and legislations. As Peter C. Ordeshook & Olga Shvetsova write, “the
political authority of a U.S. President derives from a complex balance of institutional
features. The President is the sole nationally elected figure. This makes that office a
potentially powerful integrating political force. But consider what would happen if the
presidency were also endowed with great formal authority like that possessed by the
President of the Russian Federation. In that case, it is likely that few Presidents would be
able to resist the temptation to govern by the direct exercise of their authority – that is, by
issuing decrees, threatening to fire regional political leaders, and strategically allocating
public funds between friend and foe. Without these powers, a U.S. President must govern
differently – by exercising leadership. Although the meaning of that word is vague, it does
imply, in Theodore Roosevelt's words, the skillful use of “the power of the bully pulpit.”
(Peter C. Ordeshook & Olga Shvetsova, 1997). The success of American federalism, then,
has two interrelated sources: the structure of elections, and the Constitutional weakness of
the chief executive. The structure of elections makes political parties the critical integrating
element of the state, while the Constitutional weakness of the President and the
decentralization of executive authority force the President (and each state governor) to
govern through leadership and to use the integrating potential of his or her party to the
maximum extent possible.
2. Paternalism as an element of political culture in Russia: a mechanism of
perpetuating the executive dominance
Political culture defined as “a set of attitudes, beliefs and sentiments that give order
and meaning to a political process and which provide the underlying assumptions and rules
that govern behavior in the political system”, encompasses both the political ideals and
operating norms of a polity. Political culture is thus the manifestation of the psychological
and subjective dimensions of politics. A political culture is the product of both the history
of a political system and the histories of the members. Thus it is rooted equally in public
events and private experience (Aronoff, 2001).
Many political scientists, especially from Russia, would agree on the paternalistic
nature of Russian political culture (Ermolenko, 1998, Naumov and Puffer, 2000; Baranov,
2003; Smeal, 2013). Nikolay Baranov sees roots of paternalistic political culture of
Russians in extended Russian patriarchal family where there may be couple of dozens of
members. The authority of the head of such a family – the “father” – was unquestionable
(Baranov, 2003). Such an order was reasonable and explainable – Russian climate with
short summer forced people to do many different types of agricultural works at the same
time. The only possible and adequate mechanism which was able to reach the goal was
strong authoritarianism. Baranov writes,
“The concentration of command functions of the authority, in this case the head
of the patriarchal family, leaves all members of the household only a function of
obedience. In such a situation, a person has no need to feel the autonomy, he or
she shifts the responsibility for their own destiny on the family, the state, the
government, he or she moves away from the individual responsibility, and thus
from freedom” (Baranov, 2003, p. 136).
In Russia, a head of the family had full responsibility over each member of the
family but those relationships resembled ownership (Baranov, 2003). Russian Orthodox
Church supported such an order. Thus, paternalism has become an axiom, a cultural
archetype embodied in the Russian mentality and political culture. The traditions
preserved in folk, peasant culture also characterized the culture of the educated elite of
Russian society. Liberalism of the European-style, spread after the bourgeois-democratic
revolutions, transformed under the pressure of internal and external circumstances.
Russia's victory in the war with Napoleon strengthened national pride, consolidated society
and acted as a stimulus in the search for its way of development.
Paternalism as a basic foundation of the Russian Empire was implemented in the
following categories: diligence, supervision, promotion, protection, grace, helping those in
need, donation, relief, and indulgence (Baranov, 2003).
“The history of the Soviet period confirms the stability of the formed
paternalistic traditions. All children of primary school age were Octobrists grandchildren of Lenin. A quarter-century the country was ruled by the “father
of the peoples” – Joseph Stalin. Party bodies carried out the functions of
guardianship, supervising, encouraging and punishing citizens guided by the
norms of the moral code of the builders of communism, and not the Constitution
of the USSR” (Baranov, 2003, p. 140).
The urgency of the problem of paternalism remains confirmed by the events of the
modern days, when the prevailing situation of the post-Soviet period has demonstrated the
need people have for the custody of the state, ensuring social assistance and protection that
they regard as something a priori, as a mandatory feature of power. “Communist power
notoriously operated to destroy civil society and even to “atomise” individuals by inhibiting
the organization of social classes or local communities’ homogenization (Connor, 1988).
Paternalistic tradition can be attributed to the “collective unconscious”, that is the
archetype of the culture learned in the process of socialization, and that controls peoples’
behavior at a subconscious level. Russians support Presidentialism in its Russian,
paternalistic, sense. This shift is especially characteristic of socially weak strata: more
elderly, educated, and financially less secure respondents. Russians understand that in real
life the President controls the military, foreign policy, and compliant with the Constitution.
Russians’ assessments, however, demonstrate a clear gap between the desired and the real
even regarding those areas of Presidential authority. At the same time people do not trust
the parliament (Ordzhonikidze 2008).
The United States of America is widely known for maintaining image of
individualistic culture which has always rejected social responsibility of the state over the
society. American individualism, and individualist ideas and beliefs can be traced back to
the Revolutionary era (Grabb et al. 1999). In the portrayal of the early American value
system, personal liberty is highly prized and encouraged, but, at the same time, is
consistently moderated by a regard for civic responsibility and a respect for the rights of
others (Grabb et al. 1999). Lipset contends that the historical beginnings of the United
States gave rise to an exceptional society, one guided by an ideology or value system that is
unique in the world. He calls this modern, bourgeois, and democratic value system
“Americanism”, or “the American Creed” (Lipset 1963). He asserts that the American belief
system can be described using five key terms: liberty, egalitarianism, individualism,
populism, and laissez-faire. He argues that Americans are said to be especially averse to
having their individual liberty infringed upon by “statist communitarianism” or the
intrusions of government (Lipset, 1996). More generally, though, Americans are portrayed
as being suspicious of any organization or collectivity that limits their personal freedom 3.
Desire of individual freedom is politically represented in the system of checks and balances
and federal organization of the country which prevent usurpation of power by one branch.
Gabriel Almond and Sydney Verba in their comparative study of political cultures
came to conclusion that “civic culture” which they found in the USA is the most suitable for
democratic regime (Almond & Verba 1989). Even though they never studied Russia and
their method has been criticized and not once, many Russian researchers would agree that
cultural dominant type in Russia is “parochial-subject”, characterized by obedience and
submission to authority (Welch 2013; Whitefield 2005).
Political culture and especially paternalism play significant role in perpetuating
executive dominance in the form of super-Presidentialism because Russians associate state
and exact person who is solely responsible for maintaining peace and development, they
associate their hopes with this person and trust him or her while assemblies and councils
enjoy lesser support. That gives room for populism and appeals to people, offering easy
solutions to complicated problems (Abts & Rummens 2007; Sustar 2013).
Numerous illustrations of this alleged American resistance to communitarian restraints and regulations can
be found in Lipset's analyses of the present-day United States. For example, Lipset sees this resistance as the
explanation for why Americans are more likely than Canadians and other peoples to get divorced, to commit
crimes, and to refrain from voting in elections. That is, he interprets these differences as evidence that
collective considerations and obligations, such as maintaining a stable marriage or family life, obeying
society's laws, or participating in the political system, are less important to Americans than their individual
freedom to do as they wish (Lipset, 1996)
The new political regime associated with the name of the new President, began to
be formed after the Presidential elections of 2000. But even before the elections Putin
began to show a new style of political leadership, which largely determined the methods
and ways of exercising power. According V. Sogrin, “Putin since taking the Presidential post
... with his appearance and behavior demonstrated political independence and nonpartisanship, insisting style of enlightened authoritarianism. Authoritarianism manifested
itself in the demonstration of political will and the decisive role of new leader in the
nomination and approval of any significant government decisions; enlightened nature of
authoritarianism is seen in the desire to join the statism and liberalism.” (Sogrin, 2001, p.
Some political scientists began to use the term “managed democracy” to describe
the contemporary political regime. Following features may be indicated:
A sharp weakening of the political influence of regional elites and big
The establishment of direct or indirect state control over the main TV
channels of the country;
Constantly increasing use of “administrative resources” in the elections on
the regional and federal levels;
Virtual elimination of the separation of powers;
The formation of a non-public style of political behavior.
Summing up what have been said, we would like to point on that political
institutions are not stable entities in Russia, they are used to fir current political situation.
The only working structure is the executive branch of government in general and
Presidential institution in particular. The American political system, however, is preserved
by the 200 year-old democratic tradition and the Constitution which preserves the republic
from drifting toward authoritarian direction.
Abts, K., & Rummens, S. (2007). Populism versus Democracy. Political Studies,
Almond, G. A., & Verba, S. (1989). The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and
Democracy in Five Nations. American Sociological Review.
Baranov, N. (2003). Political relations and political process in modern Russia.
Saint Petersburg: Baltic State Technical University.
Bogdanova, N. (2001). The system of science of Constitutional law. Moscow: Law.
Clark, W. (2011). Boxing Russia Executive–Legislative Powers and the
Categorization of Russia’s Regime Type. Demokratizatsiya, 19(1), 5–22. [Online]
http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=56630378&site=ehostlive [Accessed: 11/18/2015].
Connor, W. (1988). Socialism’s Dilemmas: State and Society in the Soviet Bloc.
New York: Columbia University Press.
Dahl Robert A. and Douglas W. Rae (2005). Who Governs?: Democracy and Power
in an American City. 2nd edition. New York: Yale University Press.
Elgie, R. (2004). Semi-Presidentialism : Concepts , Consequences and Contesting.
Political Studies Review, 2, 314–330.
Ermolenko, T. (1998). Paternalism in the political culture of Russia. In:
S.A.Kislitsyn, ed. Russian historical political science. Rostov-on-Don: Textook, pp. 223234.
Gelman, V. (2006). Return of Leviathan? Policy of re-centralization in modern
Russia. Polis, Issue 2, pp. 91-92.
Golosov, G. (2001). Comparative Political Science: Textbook. Saint Petersburg:
Saint Petersburg State University.
Golosov, G., 2001. Comparative Politics. St. Petersburg: Publishing house of
European University in St. Petersburg.
Grabb, E., Baer, D., & Curtis, J. (1999). The origins of American individualism:
Reconsidering the historical evidence. … Journal of Sociology/Cahiers Canadiens de …,
Hambrieva, T. J. (2005). The government of Russian Federation. Moscow: Press.
Hamilton, A., Madison, J., & Jay, J. (2009). The Federalist Papers. Palgrave.
Huntington, S. P. (1992). The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth
Century. University of Oklahoma Press.
Huskey, E. (1999). Presidential Power in Russia. NY: ME Sharpe.
Katkov D.B., Korchigo E.V. (1999). Russian Constitutional Law. [Online] Available
at: http://www.bibliotekar.ru/konstitucionnoe-pravo-5/61.htm [Accessed: 11/11/2015].
Levitsky, S., & Murillo, M. V. (2013). Building Institutions on Weak Foundations.
Journal of Democracy, 24(2), 93–107.
Levitsky, S., & Way, L. (2002). The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism. Journal
of Democracy, 13(2), 51–65.
Leybin V., Dyatlikovich V., Kartcev D., Surkov V. (2012). Unknown political history
of Putin's Russia. Russian reporter, 20/01.
Lijphart A. (1999). Patterns of Democracy.
Lijphart, A. (1984). Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus
Government in Twenty-one Countries. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Lijphart, A. (1989). "Presidentialism and Majoritarian Democracy: Theoretical
Observations". Washington D.C., Georgetown University.
Linz J.J., Valenzuela A. (1994). The Failure of Presidential Democracy. 1 edition.
Johns Hopkins University Press.
Lipset, S. M. (1963). The Value Patterns of Democracy: A Case Study in
Comparative Analysis. American Sociological Review, 28(4), 515.
Lipset S. M. (1996). American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. New York:
W. W. Norton.
Manin B., Przeworski A., Stokes S. (1999). Elections and Representation. In: S. C.
S. B. M. Adam Przeworski, ed. Democracy, Accountability, and Representation. New York:
Cambridge University Press, pp. 29-54.
Moser, R. (2001). Executive-Legislative Relations in Russia, 1991 – 1999. В: R. M.
Z. Barany, ред. Challenges of Democratization. б.м.:Cambridge, pp. 68-69.
Nichols, T. M. (1998). The Logic of Russian Presidentialism: Institutions and
Democracy in Postcommunism. The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European
Nikonov, V. (2003). Constitutional design of modern Russian politics: Lectures.
Moscow: University press.
Nikonov, V. (2006). The Russian policy: a course. Moscow: Publishing House of
the International University in Moscow.
North, D. C. (1996). Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions. Institutions,
Institutional Change and Economic Performance. North, Douglass C. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Okounkov, L. (2001). The President and the government (in the mechanism of
state power). Journal of Russian law, Issue 2.
Ordeshook P. C. & Shvetsova O. (1997). Federalism and Constitutional Design.
Ordeshook, P. C. (1997). Constitutions for new democracies: Reflections of turmoil
or agents of stability? Public Choice, 90(1/4), 55–72.
Ordzhonikidze, M. (2008). Russians’ Perceptions of Western Values. Russian
Politics & Law, 46(3), 43–68. http://doi.org/10.2753/RUP1061Panov, P. (2004). Theory of Political Institutions: A Handbook. Perm: Perm State
Parechina, S. (2003). Institute of the Presidency: History and Modernity. Moscow:
Parrish, S. (1998). Presidential Decree Authority in Russia, 1991–1995. In: J. M. C.
&. M. S. Shugart, ed. Executive Decree Authority. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
Patrushev, S. (2001). Institutionalism in Political Science: Stages, trends, ideas,
problems. В: International Politics in the Twentieth Century. Moscow: Political science, p.
Peregoudov, S. (1993). Separation of powers in the UK. World Economy and
International Relations, Issue 6, p. 101.
Riker, W. H. (1980). Implications of Majority from the Disequilibrium Implications
for the Study of Institutions. American Political Science Review, 74(2), 432–446.
Ryan, A. (2012). On Politics: A History of Political Thought, From Herodotus to
Sakharov, N. (1994). The Institution of the presidency in the modern world.
Moscow: Law books.
Salmin, A. (2003). The Russian Federation and the federation in Russia within the
limits of law. In: V.Nikonov, ed. The modern Russian politics: Lectures. Moscow: Rosspen,
Sartori, G. (1992). Neither Presidentialism nor Parliamentarism. В: J. J. L. a. A.
Valenzuela, Presidential or Parliamentary Democracy: Does It Make a Difference.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Shchipanov, A. (2009). Formation and development of the Presidential
Administration of the Russian Federation. Government and local self-government, Issue
Shepsle, K. A. (1989). Studying Institutions Some Lessons from the Rational Choice
Approach. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 1(2), 131–147.
Shevtsova, L. (1999). Yeltsin’s Russia: Myths and Reality. Washington DC,
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Shugart, M. S., & John M. Carey. (1992). Presidents and Assemblies. Constitutional
Design and Electoral Dynamics. Cambridge University Press.
Smolin, O. (2006). The political process in modern Russia: a tutorial. Moscow:
Sogrin, V. (2001). The political history of modern Russia. 1982-2001: from
Gorbachev to Putin. Moscow: Political books.
Stepan, A., & Skach, C. (1993). Constitutional Frameworks and Democratic
Consolidation: Parliamentarianism versus Presidentialism. World Politics, 46(01), 1–22.
Sustar, L. (2013). Marxism and Right-Wing Populism : The Case of the Tea Party.
New Labor Forum, 22(1), 58–65.
The Constitution of Russian Federation. (1993). The Constitution of Russian
Federation. [Online] Available at: http://www.Constitution.ru/en/10003000-01.htm
Verney, D. (1959). The Analysis of Political Systems. London: Compton Printing
Welch, S. (2013). The Theory of Political Culture. The Theory of Political Culture.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Whitefield, S. (2005). Political Culture and Post-Communisn. New York: Palgrave.
Yuthakorn, W. (2014). Be Careful What You Wish For: The Rhetoric and the
http://www.prachatai.com/english/node/4095 [Accessed: 11/09/2015].
Авторизуясь на сайте, Вы принимаете условия Пользовательского Соглашения.