Russian Governmnet

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GOV 336M: Government and Politics of Russia
Review Sheet for the Second Multiple Choice Exam
                                Study Questions:

1.     What is political culture and how does it affect political outcomes?  Compare and contrast the perspectives on Russian political culture and democratization by Pipes, Colton/McFaul and Rose/coauthors, Treisman, and Fish.

What is Political Culture?
Political Culture -- “a people’s predominant beliefs, attitudes, values, ideals, sentiments, and evaluations about the political system of their country and the role of the self in that system.”

How Does Culture Affect Politics?
Four Competing Arguments on Russian Political Culture and Public Opinion  1. Russia has an undemocratic culture (Pipes)
Pipes -- How Are Russians Undemocratic?
    A.  Russians Hold Undemocratic Attitudes
             * Lack National Identity & Interpersonal Trust              * Distrust Democracy as Tool of Rich/Powerful              * Prefer Order over Freedom
             * Hostile Toward the Market and Private Property              * International Paranoia

    B.  Source of Russian undemocratic attitudes
             * History and Geography
            * Legacy of Peasant Collective  
            * Russian Orthodox Church – Caesaropapism             * Soviet Paternalism

   2. Russians hold some democratic beliefs (Colton/McFaul, Rose)     A.  Russian Support for the Idea of Democracy
            * “Democracy is not a dirty word in Russia”             * Do Russians see a trade-off between democracy and order?    B.  Rejection of Democracy as Practiced in PC Russia             * Russia is Not Viewed as a Democracy             * Russian Pseudo-Democracy is Not Supported    C.  Support for Democracy Depends on Social/Econ. Status             * Generational Effect

            * Economic Effect
            * Ideological Effect
            
 3. Culture does not matter (Fish)
    A.  Russians’ Undemocratic Values Not Uncommon
   B.  Democracy Despite Low Democratic Values in Other Postcommunist States

 4. Public opinion is shaped by performance and shapes Russian politics (Treisman)     A.  Gorbachev and rising nationalism
   “In 1987-1988, Gorbachev could carry the country with him as he singlehandedly decided to loosen the reins in Eastern Europe, begin rapid nuclear disarmament, and undercut the party’s authority. By 1991, he had a hard time getting the leaders of the republics to take his phone calls.”    B.  Yeltsin – 1991 vs. the rest of his tenure

   “In late 1991…Yeltsin could get a parliament of moderate communists to approve the dissolution of the Soviet Union, accept his plan for radical economic reform, and authorize him to rule by decree… By mid-1992… fickle deputies attacked him on precisely the policies they had earlier approved.”    C.  Putin’s stable support meant stable dominance

   “… opposition vaporized as Putin’s ratings shot up in late 1999. Suddenly, the parliament was loyal, the governors docile, and the population quiescent.”

2.     How does Pipes characterize Russian political culture?  What are some of the undemocratic attitudes that Pipes  attributes to Russians? What are some of the causes of Russia’s authoritarian political culture according to the “conventional wisdom”? Pipes characterizes Russia’s political culture as one that is undemocratic and leans toward authoritarianism.  Some of the undemocratic attitudes that Pipes attributes to Russians include apolitical and asocial tendencies, the opinion that democracy is a fraud (a façade for a government controlled by rich and powerful cliques), a preference for law and order over freedom, underdeveloped notions of civil rights and private property rights, lack of confidence in the political system, and lack of trust in the judicial system.  The causes, according to conventional wisdom are; Russia’s agricultural past, the legacy of serfdom, the remoteness of...
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