Russia is an example of some of the biggest trends that have shaped the modern world.
The establishment of left-wing regimes across much of Europe, Asia, and Latin America can be traced back to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
One of the two polar powers of the Cold War was Russia.
The collapse of Russia was caused by the communist regime's failure to deliver basic consumer goods.
Russia's transition from authoritarianism to democracy seems to have taken a back seat since 2000.
Their story can help us understand which formal and informal institutions are necessary for a democratic transition.
Russia is a federal state with a constitution that describes six different categories of local governments and three different branches of government.
Federalism was established as the solution to the diverse needs and interests of the many disparate ethnic minority groups across the massive territory of the country, but the last decade or so has seen the erosion of federalism as local levels of government lose more and more power to the central national level.
A centralization of control of the federation at the national level is part of the agenda of Vladimir Putin, who seems to be consolidating an authoritarian rule over what was once a promising yet budding democracy.
Russia is the largest country in the world, even after the loss of smaller republics that declared independence from the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
It spans across eight time zones and borders fourteen states, with neighbors as diverse as Norway in the west and China in the east.
80 percent of the people in Russia are Russian and there is a great deal of ethnic diversity.
Russia's territory is very cold and dry, making it useless for agriculture and civilization.
Most Russians live in the western part of the country that is considered part of Europe, while the eastern part of Asia is very sparse.
Russia's large land mass did not provide it with any opportunity for naval power or trade through the seas since it had no access to warm water for ports.
Peter the Great's acquisitions in the 17th and 18th century were one of the reasons for the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.
Although Siberia and other seemingly uninhabitable eastern territories didn't serve much of a purpose for the state in its distant history, Joseph Stalin used these remote areas as forced-labor camps for political prisoners and they became a crucial component of the Soviet industrial economy.
Modern exploration technology has made it possible for natural resources such as oil and natural gas that used to be locked under the surface of the icy tundra to be accessible.
Russia is the second largest producer of natural gas behind the United States.
Russia's political culture is dependent on the diversity within Russia and surrounding Russia.
Britain's isolation as a small island allowed it to develop its political culture without fear of foreign intervention.
Russia has been 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 Civil liberties and respect for rights are not a priority for the Russian people.
Russia's history of foreign invasion and lack of geographic protection has contributed to a political culture that values a strong state that can defend and provide for its people.
The climate in which citizens expected the state to care for them in times of need was created by Russia's lack of arable farm land and unstable food supply.
Russia's susceptibility to famine and starvation has built a deep suspicion and resentment against the wealthy within the country.
Wealthy individuals are often described as having earned what they have, and look up to higher classes with the same goal in mind.
In Russia, it is assumed that those who are wealthy gained from others.
The state is seen as the solution to the problem of inequality by Russians.
Russians trust the state to solve their problems, but people who use the power of the state rarely have the confidence of the Russian people.
Russians assume authorities in bureaucratic jobs to be corrupt or incompetent.
The people assume the state is the only force that can provide a solution, yet it cannot be trusted to get it right, which leads to a common resignation to poor results.
The events of early Russian history created a divide between Russia and the rest of Europe.
As Western Europe became the center of wealth and power, Russian political culture was at the same time facing a constant internal struggle over whether to model themselves after progressive European traditions, values, and practices or to remain true to their own distinctly Eastern ways.
There are transitions between leaders who are "Westernizers" such as Peter the Great and those who are "Slavophiles" such as Boris Yeltsin.
In Russian politics there are battles over which countries to build partnerships with, how to structure the Russian economy, and the degree to which the state should protect civil liberties such as freedom of speech and religion.
There are arguments over how Russians should dress and what types of music they should listen to.
Christianity was adopted as a state religion in the region of Russia in 988.
They followed a Byzantine example in their religious and cultural practices.
The early Christian writings of the West were written in Latin or Greek, whereas the church's liturgy and sermons were written in the regional Slavic language.
In 1054, the leaders of the Eastern and Western Churches excommunicated each other.
Russian political traditions and institutions are very different from those in Western Europe.
The ideals that shaped Europe during the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment, which paved the way for individual rights and challenge to existing authority, never took root in Russian political culture.
Ivan III (Ivan the Great), 1462-1500, and Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible), 1547-1584, secured Russia's independence and laid the foundation for the modern Russian state.
After Ivan III, the tsars began a long tradition of strong, authoritarian rule.
Attempts to reform and westernization ended in disaster and chaos when Peter the Great was in charge.
Peter traveled across Western Europe to learn about business, shipbuilding, military training, and political life.
Russian nobility were forced to adopt Western practices such as how to dress and shave in order to build a modern power.
Enlightenment ideas about science, philosophy, and religious toleration inspired Catherine the Great's goals for westernization.
She maintained rule as an authoritarian and resisted any calls for freedom of speech or the press.
Russian intellectuals believed that the ideals of the Enlightenment could not take root in Russia's political system after Napoleon's invasion.
The Decembrist Revolt was caused by the conflict between the tsarist regime and liberalizing forces.
The regime was challenged again after a loss in the Crimean War against a coalition of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia, which convinced many that Russia could never compete with Western European powers unless it modernized its regime.
The creation of secret police forces, exile and imprisonment of political critics were some of the things the tsars cracked down on.
Alexander II freed Russian serfs, established local representative assembly called zemstvas, and reorganized the Russian judiciary in order to make it more independent.
He was working on creating an elected national parliament.
In Russia, westernizing reforms resulted in chaos and reversal.
Alexander II was assassinated by critics who believed his reforms were not going far enough, and his successor son, Alexander III ripped apart the reforms and plans for further reform to carry out a crackdown against dissidents within Russia.
There were two events that brought about the Russian Revolution in 1917.
Russia was defeated by the 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 800-273-3217 Japan modernized under a Western model and built a world-class military that Russia was not prepared for.
Street riots against the state broke out in protest, and Nicholas Tsar II (1894-1917) capitulated by creating the Duma, an elected national representative assembly, to move Russia onto a path of constitutional monarchy.
Russia was involved in the fighting to defend Serbia against Austrian aggression.
Russia suffered more military and civilian casualties in the war than any other country.
Soldiers fought with no shoes or guns, food was in short supply, and they defected to their officers.
The state collapsed after Nicholas II abdicated the throne.
Many of Russia's political activists were Marxists.
The most famous of which is the Communist Manifesto, Marxism is a political and economic ideology that was written by Karl Marx in the 19th century.
The capitalist economic system and private property is seen as exploitative by Marxism because it takes the efforts and labor of the working class to create wealth for the property-owning classes.
Marxism advocates an organized revolution against the bourgeoisie to create a society in which all of the workers own the product of their labor and no longer need to work in horrible conditions for meager wages and a poor standard of living.
The principle of democratic centralism meant that an inner elite would have the power to make political decisions on behalf of the people.
In 1905, after the Russo-Japanese War, the author of What Is To Be Done wrote a pamphlet in which he advocated the creation and support of a small, elite revolutionary leadership of professional intellectuals who could guide the workers.
The idea of democratic centralism was that a small and elite central leadership would be given power and decision-making authority, but that they would use it for the best interests of all people.
There is very little about this idea that scholars would consider "democratic" in the definition of the word.
Alexander Kerensky continued Russia's involvement in World War I after the collapse of the state.
Russia's revolutionary workers' unions revolted by late 1917.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was put in control of the state by these revolutionaries.
The White Army, led by Russian military leaders opposed to Marxism and the Revolution, were funded by the Allied Powers of World War I, and the Red Army, led by Lenin, were funded by revolutionaries.
The Reds secured victory and control over Russia in the early 20th century.
The New Economic Policy gave peasant farmers private property ownership of their land, as well as rights to earn profits on sales of their produce.
The plan to solve Russia's food problems and bring prosperity to the Russian countryside did not work out because of the strokes that led to the death of Lenin.
Stalin emerged from the party's internal power struggle to rule over Russia.
Stalin used doctored images of himself with himself and propagandized depictions of the Bolshevik Revolution to portray himself as a trusted aide, even though he had privately criticized Stalin as being unsuitable for leadership due to his excessive power and ambition.
The New Economic Policy was ended by Stalin's reforms because all economic activity was under the control of the state.
Stalin had a program to seize the property of the wealthy peasants and labeled them kulaks.
Kulaks who resisted collectivization were often sent to forced-labor camps in remote parts of the country, killed by state forces, or turned in by their neighbors sympathetic to the demands of the regime.
Stalin believed that the most important work of turning Russia from a backward agrarian nation into a modern industrial power was to feed the cities.
The Five-year plan set ambitious goals for production of modern industrial necessities, including steel, oil, and electricity.
The Communist Party maintained a list of potential party members who could potentially move up.
The promotions were based on personal connections.
Stalin reorganized Russian politics in order to place the Communist Party at the center of the Russian state.
Only 7 percent of the country was allowed to join the Communist Party.
In order to find promising lower-level members for promotion, higher ranking leaders would identify promising lower-level members.
Since rising in the ranks of Russian society and politics required personal connection and service to those already in power, Nomenklatura had significant effects on the Russian political system.
The Politburo of twelve men who were the executive leaders of government agencies and departments were the top leaders of the party.
During Stalin's time, the General Secretary would act as a dictator.
Stalin did not put the party at risk.
He signed off on the execution of almost one million party members who were suspected of disloyalty, many of whom were top officials or generals he had personally placed in power.
Stalin's programs of propaganda, economic control, and political control moved Russia into totalitarianism, despite Russia's long history of authoritarianism.
Many Communists supported reforms to loosen the totalitarian nature of the state after Stalin's death due to paranoia over who would be next to be victim of a purge.
Stalin's foreign policy was characterized by the outbreak of hostility between Russia and the West after World War II.
The Cold War came to be known as a result of this tension.
There was a disagreement over how to rebuild fascist Germany and the status of the republics between Germany and Russia.
Stalin wanted to create a buffer between Russia and Germany in the event of another German rearmament, and he favored free elections for all the liberated peoples of Eastern Europe.
The military build up along the border between democratic and communist countries was called an Iron Curtain because it divided the East from the West.
Nikita Khrushchev rode a reformist wave within the party to win the power struggle after Stalin's death, and he delivered a secret speech to the Communist Party leadership in which he decried Stalin's program of personality cult and rule by totalitarian fear.
The program of de-Stalinization of the party began after Khrushchev revealed the existence of a letter that criticized Stalin.
The size of the forced-labor camps was reduced.
Monuments and artwork celebrating the personality cult of Stalin were removed and renamed.
Power within the party was not centralized from one person to another, and the purges were denounced.
After the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Khrushchev appeared weak to many Communist Party leaders and Russia was forced to remove its facilities in Cuba.
He was replaced by the communist hard-liners, who used the Brezhnev Doctrine of Soviet military intervention in any country where communist rule was threatened.
The economic programs of Khrushchev and Brezhnev did not address the underlying economic problems of the Soviet economy.
The Soviet economy was a neither-nor economy, because it lacked the economic incentives of profit and competition that make a market economy work, as well as the ideological fire, fear of punishment, and slave labor that drove production during Stalin's time.
While the Soviet state was able to send satellites into space, and build a military and nuclear arsenal to rival the United States as the dominant power of the day, basic consumer goods such as bread and toothpaste were consistently absent on barren store shelves.
Gorbachev promised to save the communist economy from certain disaster through a three-pronged program.
The Soviet republics to the west that resented Russian domination were especially affected by the release of Russians' long-held frustration about corruption and incompetence in the state.
The state's functions were removed from being performed exclusively by the market and private companies were allowed to compete with state-owned industry.
Penalties were imposed on state companies that weren't up to par.
The scale of reform was gradual.
Maybe the reforms were never big enough to address the roots of Russia's problems, or maybe Russian political culture just wasn't prepared to make a market system work.
Gorbachev attempted to preserve the existing Communist Party structure while incorporating limited democracy through the creation of a directly elected Congress of People's Deputies.
The people of Russia elected Boris Yeltsin as their president in 1991.
Democratization created a new political class in Russia that was critical of Gorbachev.
Some of the critics were hard-liners opposed to reform, while others thought the reforms were too limited to be useful.
The Communist Party staged a coup d'etat in August 1991 to remove Gorbachev from office while he was out of town.
Protesters opposed the coup when tanks surrounded the White House.
Boris Yeltsin called for a general strike by the people until the coup ended after he delivered a speech on top of one of the tanks.
After the coup, Gorbachev remained in power over the Soviet Union, but the instability within the Communist Party caused many Soviet Republics to want independence.
By December, eleven of the fifteen Soviet Republics had left the Soviet Union without any resistance from the Red Army.
With Boris Yeltsin controlling political affairs in Russia, Gorbachev and Soviet leaders were forced to concede that there was essentially no Soviet Union left, and announced the formal dissolution of the USSR on December 26, 1991.
Boris Yeltsin would become the president of the newly independent Russian Federation.
Yeltsin wanted to build Russia into a modern constitutional democracy.
He worked with allies in the Duma to draft the Russian Constitution of 1993 which included a directly elected and powerful president as chief executive, a bicameral legislature with a directly elected lower house, and a Constitutional Court.
In order to make the new constitution more legit, it was submitted to the people of Russia in a referendum, and they voted in favor of it.
Russia's asymmetric federalism means that some regional governments have more power than others.
The power of the three branches of the central Russian government was divided into 83 lower-level administrative governing districts.
Some areas have more local authority and independence than others.
Asymmetrical federalism is different from the typical symmetrical federal system in which all lower-level regional governments are given the same powers.
Yeltsin worked to transform Russia into a market economy through a program called shock therapy.
For most Russians, the legacy of shock therapy was high inflation, unemployment, and the end of many guarantees of the Soviet welfare state.
There are many allegations about the role of corruption in shaping the emergence of Russia's newly wealthy private classes.
Oligarchs were often attached to the state industries they acquired shares in as insiders in the old communist system, and others had friends close to power.
Yeltsin's reelection bid in 1996 was protected by the Oligarchs, who provided him with a huge amount of campaign cash and favorable media coverage in the networks they owned, and received more shares of control in state companies being privatized in the "loans for shares" scandal Yeltsin resigned from politics in December of 1999 due to the troubled economy and his own erratic behavior.
The decision to allow Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to step into the presidency and stand for election as the incumbent in 2000 was made by the same people.
Putin's time in power has been characterized by a series of reforms that have recentlyralized control into Moscow from the federal system of Russia's constitution, and that have managed and limited democracy to ensure his hold on power.
The leadership of these districts watches the policymaking of local authorities and strikes down any policies they find to be problematic.
Upon confirmation of the local legislature, the president can appoint a governor.
In 2002, the Constitution was amended to prohibit the governors of 83 local governments from serving in the Federation Council.
Federation Council officials are now appointed by the governors.
Many candidates were disqualified by the electoral commission due to excessive numbers of fraudulent or improper signatures on petitions or paperwork.
The candidates left to oppose Putin were not likely to challenge them for victory.
It has been difficult for opposition candidates to organize rallies or speak on the air without being harassed and intimidated by the authorities.
The practical result of this policy was that many candidates who were popular in their region and could win an SMD race could no longer stand for office, and many small parties who could get 5 percent but not 7 percent of the vote were frozen out of office.
The 1993 Constitution called for a president to serve no more than two consecutive four-year terms.
Putin did not stand for election in 2008, but instead appointed a successor in Dmitri Medvedev, who became his prime minister.
The presidential term was changed to six years during this time, as Putin continued to exercise most of his powers informally.
The incumbent president, Putin, will run for president again in 2012 while the new president, Medvedev, will not.
The closest opposition candidate received 17.2 percent of the vote.
The prime minister is once again Medvedev.
Under Putin, Russia has moved in an increasingly centralized, authoritarian, and unitary direction.
Putin's reforms and foreign policy stances are putting Russia at odds with the West again, and incidents such as the invasion and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine have led some to declare that a new Cold War is emerging.
Russia's economy is in better shape today than it was at the end of Yeltsin's time in office, despite the fact that much of this is the result of high oil and natural gas prices.
Vladimir Putin was reelected with 77 percent of the vote for another six-year term.
Approximately 80 percent of Russians identify as being Russian, and the remaining 20 percent are made up of a variety of people, including Tartars, Baskirs, Chuvash, Chechens, and many others.
The Tartars are the second largest group, but they make up less than 1 percent of the population.
Twenty-one of these groups are given their own "republic" in the territory they live in, which is the term for the regions with the most local autonomy in Russia's asymmetrical federal system.
The Chechen people of Chechnya are a major exception to the fact that most of these groups are well integrated into Russian society.
Terrorist attacks against Russia in 2002 and 2004, as well as two wars in the 1990s, were the result of a long-standing struggle for independence from Russia in Chechnya.
Russian Orthodoxy has been the dominant religion in Russia since the days of early princes.
The state tried to rid the society of religion, especially Orthodox Christianity, in order to keep the people under control.
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Religion in Russia is complicated today.
About 40 percent of Russians identify as being Russian Orthodox Christians, 6.5 percent as Muslim, and 4 percent as some other type of Christian.
25 percent of Russians consider themselves to be non- religious, while another 13 percent do.
It is possible that identification as Russian Orthodox may be more attached to ethnic and national pride than to real religious devotion for most Russians.
A study concluded that less than 10 percent of Russians ever attend Orthodox services, and that between 2 and 4 percent were integrated into Church life as a regular activity.
The growing Islamic minority has become a source of recent tension in Russia, as many ethnic Russians resent the "cultural invasion" of Muslims in cities like Moscow, where there are now estimated to be at least 8,000 mosques.
Russians were divided into a class system based on their status.
The 1917 Revolution abolished the old class structure with a Marxist ideal of a classless society.
A new class structure emerged with Communist Party officials on top, urban managers and workers in the middle, and rural peasants on the bottom.
The Communist Party class structure gave many people who used to be on the bottom opportunities to move up the social ladder.
The basis of the new Russian class structure seems to be the market and entrepreneurship, as some individuals find great success in business and earn a fortune for themselves, living a lifestyle the rich of any developed country might envy.
Other Russians who have been left behind by the new economy feel betrayed by reforms that have ended the old Communist policies of guaranteed employment and old-age pensions, and often hold deep resentment of Russia's rich who "stole" the crown of the old state-owned industries in the chaos When there is an election in Russia, one of the country's billionaires will be put on trial, and then sent to a Siberia prison for their crimes.
Almost 75% of Russians live in urban environments, compared to 26% in rural environments.
Joseph Stalin's Five- Year Plans of industrialization forced many Russians to leave the countryside or face punishment, which caused Russia to not move toward a modern urbanized society.
Russians in the city enjoy a marginally higher standard of living, are often better educated than their rural counterparts, and are more likely to support Western ideals that might challenge the current president's management of democracy.
Under Communist rule, Russian civil society took a corporatist form.
Independent trade unions, political clubs, and other civil society organizations were banned by the state because they were Privileged with access to influence state policymaking.
State-sanctioned groups, such as the Young Pioneers, would receive state support and funding to encourage young men to join the regime through activities similar to the Boy Scouts.
Russian civil society is not developed.
Only 1 percent of Russians claim to belong to a political party, and most never attend a church service.
Only a small number of Russians join clubs for political causes, charity, or even recreation.
Civil society has grown since the glasnost reforms of the 1980s, but it is still hampered by state policies that monitor and harass groups that are critical of the state.
Nashi tried to build patriotism among young Russians by supporting Putin against Russia's foreign enemies and domestic critics.
Nashi hosted youth camps to provide ideological seminars intended to enhance the power of the Russian state, even encouraging its members to marry early and have lots of children to stem Russia's declining population crisis.
The group received funding from the state and business interests friendly to the state, as well as staging rallies supporting Putin's reelection campaigns.
Russian civil society still has corporatist themes even though Nashi is no longer around.
A new term in Comparative Politics: illiberal democracy was created by Russia's system of managed elections.
Liberal democracies hold elections and the votes are counted accurately, with the winning candidates taking office and exercising their power.
Everything leading up to election day makes them illiberal.
There are significant restrictions on whether candidates can compete for office.
There are restrictions on the media that prevent opposition candidates from being able to communicate their message.
The fundamental feature of democracy, the power of voters to hold a government accountable and remove it by ballot, doesn't seem to exist since those in power are able to use the state to protect their place in power.
Russia's Constitution allows for three types of elections at the national level.
Russia's constitution allows voters to choose officials through national elections, however, there are many limitations on the ability of potential candidates to compete for election victory against the incumbent government.
The chief executive is directly elected by Russians in a two-ballot majority system.
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round, a second round will be held.
Since 1996, there has been no need for a second round of voting.
International observers and domestic dissidents found the elections in Russia in 2004 to be lacking in basic civil liberties protection needed to guarantee the will of the people.
450 people are members of the State Duma.
The year before the presidential election is when elections are supposed to occur.
If the party received at least 5 percent of the vote, half of the seats would be awarded to the winning candidates of the SMD constituencies and the other half to the candidates on the party list.
In 2005, the system was changed to a fully PR system with a 7 percent threshold to win representation.
The composition of the State Duma was affected by the reforms.
Russia's legislative election system has changed from a SMD-PR mix to a fully PR mix because each of the reforms would benefit the president's party at the time of the change.
The United Russia Party still held a majority of the Duma, despite the fact that many voters turned away from them due to the recession and the decline in oil prices.
It appeared increasingly likely that the next elections would not produce a United Russia majority, and Putin requested yet another reform to the election system, returning to the SMD and PR mix of the past, in order to appease protests after the elections of 2011.
The election system reform was supposed to have an effect.
The United Russia Party easily won a supermajority of 343 seats in the 2016 Duma elections because of an aggressively nationalistic campaign strategy, significant restrictions on opposition parties to allow them to qualify for the ballot and campaign, and low voter turnout.
There are eighty-five "federal subjects" governing on a regional level in Russia.
Governors and regional legislature were elected under the Constitution of 1993.
In 2004, after the Chechen terrorists took a school hostage in Beslan, North Ossetia, Putin signed a law that gave the president the power to dismiss regional governors.
The federal nature of Russia was greatly reduced by the consolidation of power in the executive.
The power to appoint governors ended in 2012.
The wave of protests that followed Putin's announcement that he was running for president in 2012 demanded free and fair elections.
The law that restored regional elections for governor in 2012 was the only reform that has been done to make elections more fair.
Under the new law, it is very difficult for a candidate to get enough signatures to get on the ballot without state support.
The system is referred to as the municipal filter by opposition figures because it prevents real opposition from running for office.
The president has the power to dismiss governors and appoint acting governors until the next election.
An acting governor is eligible for the ballot.
Three weeks before regional elections, Putin replaced eleven governors.
After the election, all of Putin's appointees were re-elected.
Since Putin's rise to power, Russia's federal system has become more centralized.
Russian voters are sometimes called upon to approve or reject a policy.
The 1993 Constitution, a constitutional referendum in Chechnya, and a referendum to join Russia after the Russian military are all examples of rare occurrences.
Russia's political party structure is not the same as Britain's.
Russia's dominant party, United Russia, has only stood for election since 2003 and the most stable opposition parties are not going to challenge for power.
Most of Russia's liberal democratic forces have a hard time organizing and communicating their message against Putin and the forces of the state.
United Russia was formed in 2001 to bring stability to the Russian political system and avoid the "communism vs capitalism" dichotomy.
The purpose of forming the party was to support President Putin in the legislature.
If the presidential administration is supported by the party, the candidates will be supported regardless of their ideological beliefs.
Russia is an example of a dominant-party system in which United Russia acts as a party of power, existing not to implement a particular ideological agenda, but rather to secure and maintain power for its members.
Evidence of corruption in public administration can be found in parties of power that are based on a large patron-client network.
The case for United Russia is similar.
51 percent of Russians agreed with the characterization that "United Russia is the party of crooks and thieves," according to a survey done in 2013).
Navalny has been arrested numerous times for a variety of suspected white-collar crimes, usually within days of leading rallies against Putin and United Russia, and he has served time in prison and under house arrest.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was banned by Boris Yeltsin.
Yeltsin's primary opposition won the most seats in the first legislative elections in 1995.
Most of the party's voters are elderly Russians who nostalgically remember the good old days of Soviet Communism.
Deng Xiaoping's market-based reforms in China are seen as the model for development by those who support traditional Marxist-Leninist worker-centered values.
The party has not had much trouble with placing candidates on the ballot for election or engaging in other opposition political activities, but this may be because the party stands little chance of actually challenging Putin for power.
In every presidential election since 1996, its candidate has come in second place, but with vote totals nowhere near the United Russia candidates, it received just over 17 percent in 2008 and 2012 for its leader, Gennady Zyuganov.
The Liberal Democratic Party is neither liberal nor democratic.
The party is described as fiercely nationalist and far right, following the radical ideology of its controversial leader.
It wants to create a new Russian Empire through the unification of former Soviet republics.
Similar to theCPRF, it is easy to qualify candidates for the ballot and express opposition viewpoints, but it does not do well in elections, with only 10 percent of the vote going to the president.
The lack of a charismatic political figure who can bring the opposition together is one of the reasons why Russia's liberal opposition parties are poorly organized and disunified.
Since 2000, an array of parties demanding fair elections and an end to political corruption have contended for office, including Yabloko, The Union of Right Forces, Democratic Choice of Russia, and Solidarnost, to name a few of the more noteworthy and successful.
Candidates from these parties have found it difficult to get interviews and organize rallies.
When one of Russia's most famous chess players tried to run for president in 2008, the only media outlet that would ever give him an interview was a radio station with a reputation among the opposition as the only independent media voice.
Police were positioned around the perimeter of the march area when he organized it.
After the fall of the USSR, a symbol banned after the march began, one of the participants produced a Bolshevik flag.
Police immediately descended upon the marchers and arrested many of them, including Kasparov, who maintains that the person who produced the flag was planted by the police.
The requirement to hold a rally of at least 500 attendees to announce a candidacy and have them sign a petition was not met by Kasparov.
Two days before Kasparov's announcement, the venue canceled his contract.
Liberal parties that have the potential to win elections and challenge Putin for power often have a hard time getting their candidates on the ballot.
Almost every Russian liberal opposition figure has the same story of being intimidated or obstruction in their attempts to get elected.
The development of Russian civil society has been hampered by the state's corporatism under the Soviet Union.
While there is over 300,000 registered non-governmental interest groups in Russia, groups likely to express opposition views, such as those aimed at protecting human rights, are frequently barred from official registration.
A 2006 law gave the Federal Public Chamber the authority to review the registration of foreign NGOs and determine if they could not operate in Russia if it was in the national interest to ban them.
The reporting requirements were difficult to comply with, and the rules were not clear, leaving Public Chamber officials a lot of latitude in interpreting whether an organization met the regulatory requirements to register or not.
Business, trade, and labor groups are usually allowed to form and act politically, but the most influential groups are usually those with ties to the state, as opposed to those representing the interests of the public.
Many of the most influential business interests are companies in which siloviki occupy executive positions or serve on the board of directors.
The Russian term for people who worked in the security services such as the KGB or the Federal Security Service is called Siloviki.
Russia's system is very corporatist, managing the formation and activity of interest groups and civil society from the state level through institutions like the Federal Public Chamber.
The most valuable formerly state-owned industries of the former Soviet Union were wrested from the state by the super-wealthy oligarchs of Russia in the early 1990s.
When Yeltsin and Putin were supported by the oligarchs, many thought they would continue to pull the strings of the Russian state.
Putin made it clear to the oligarchs that they could keep their wealth if they stayed out of Russian politics.
Oligarchs who ignored the ultimatum have been hit with severe consequences.
Yeltsin was aided in the 1990s by Boris Berezovsky, who owned the most watched TV networks in Russia.
He fled to Britain for political asylum after becoming a critic of Putin.
Putin's inner circle are on the board of directors of the TV network that the government took over.
The richest man in Russia used his money to fund opposition parties in the 2003 elections and criticized the "managed elections" and corruption under Putin.
Khordorkovsky was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2003 for fraud and tax evasion.
His sentence was extended after new charges for other crimes were brought against him.
The man who was pardoned by Putin is now living in exile.
The assets of Yukos were auctioned off in a suspicious manner.
The chairman of the board is a former deputy prime minister.
Despite the seeming political motivation of these and other prosecutions of oligarchs, Russians often respond positively to the arrests, as the wealthy who made their wealth in the turmoil of the 1990s are disdained by Russians.
The Communist Party's propaganda tools, such as Pravda, the state print medium, were the only media allowed to exist in the country.
A private media market emerged after the fall of the USSR.
Russia's media is mostly privately owned, but it may be considered state-controlled.
There are many rules and incentives that motivate the media to cover the government favorably.
The government of Russia exerts tremendous influence over what appears on broadcasts and what gets printed in subtle ways.
Once they became critical of Putin, major media moguls faced arrest and exile.
The control of wealth and networks is dependent on compliance with the administration.
Journalists who publish critical stories about the government are often killed.
Anna Politkovskaya, an outspoken critic of government policy in Chechnya, was poisoned.
Five employees of Novaya Gazeta, a critical newspaper, have died suspiciously since 2000.
Large stakes of media companies are often bought by companies with deep ties to the state.
The current prime minister of Russia, Dmitri Medvedev, was previously the chair of Gazprom, which was chaired by a former prime minister.
At a meeting with the employees of the company, managers of the Russian News Service demanded that at least 50 percent of the broadcasts be positive.
The president of Russia is elected by voters.
He serves a six-year term and is limited to two consecutive terms.
After stepping down from the presidency in 2008, Vladimir Putin ran for president for a second time.
The president is the head of state and not the head of government.
The president is more than just a ceremonial head of state.
The president of Russia holds the most wide-reaching powers under the constitution, but sometimes Russian politics is more about who is in a particular position of authority, rather than the defined powers of the position.
The president has tremendous power over the Russian state.
If the Duma rejects the president's nominee three times, the president may call for new elections.
In 1993, Yeltsin's choices for prime minister were twice rejected by the Duma, then they approved his third nominee under threat of being dissolved.
The president has no control over cabinet ministers or other heads of agencies.
Yeltsin knew that it would be difficult to get cooperation from the Duma, made up of many Communists and others opposed to reform.
The Duma can't do much to check against this power.
The Federation Council approves the nominations of judges to serve on the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Arbitration Court.
He doesn't have power over crimes at the regional level.
He decides Russia's position in international affairs, negotiates and ratifies treaties, and appoints and recalls Russia's diplomatic representatives.
The prime minister is appointed by the president.
Yeltsin frequently dismissed a prime minister during his presidency.
When Yeltsin resigned in 2000, the prime minister became the president because there was no vice president.
He is the head of government according to the Russian Constitution.
He chairs meetings of Russia's most senior officials, including the cabinet, but his powers are mostly advisory.
When Putin was the prime minister from 2008 to 2012 there was little doubt that he was still in control of the state.
Russia's Federal Assembly is a bicameral legislature with a lower house and an upper house.
After reforms in 2015, 450 deputies are chosen through a half single-member-district and half proportional representation election.
They have the power to approve the budget, confirm or reject the appointment of the prime minister, and pass bills with the president's signature.
The president's wide-reaching power to govern by decree through the cabinet limits their real power.
The president can be impeached with a two-thirds vote in both the Federation Council and the State Duma, as well as a guilty conviction in Russia's Supreme Court.
The Duma tried to use these powers against Yeltsin many times, but could not get the two-thirds threshold.
Each of Russia's eighty-five regional administrative units sends two members to the Federation Council.
One member is chosen by the governor and the other by the legislature.
Governors would often appoint themselves to sit on the Federation Council at the same time, but Putin ended this practice in 2000.
The president has control over the composition of the Federation Council thanks to a change in 2004, which allowed the president to nominate regional governors himself, and a change in 2014, which added seventeen new seats to the Federation Council.
Members of the Federation Council are not allowed to be members of any political party.
The Federation Council is the other lawmaking body that passes bills, but the Duma can pass a bill without its approval with a two-thirds vote.
The Federation Council has the power to approve changes to the borders of Russia's regional units as well as approve the president's decision to use armed forces outside of Russia.
Russia has an extensive geographic, ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity.
The 1993 Constitution established Russia as a federal system in order to allow regional autonomy for local governments, which could best address the diverse needs and policy preferences of their local populations.
Not all of Russia's federal subjects are equal.
The asymmetric federalism system was established in the constitution.
Ordinary regional governments made up of ethnic Russians have the ability to choose their own legislature and governor.
A republic is usually the regional homeland of an ethnic minority group.
There are two noteworthy republics of Russia, both of which are in the southwestern part of the country.
Russia has fought two wars against Chechnya since 1991, and the central government of Russia exerts extensive control over the activities of each regional government.
The rule of law was not respected by the courts under the Soviet system.
The goal of establishing an independent judiciary in Russia is currently eluding it.
The cases of political prosecutions were never challenged by the Russian judiciary.
The Russian security services have 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 800-313-5780 It is assumed in Russia that judges may be bought off with favors in order to get favorable rulings from the court.
The president appoints nineteen members of the Constitutional Court and they are confirmed by the Federation Council.
The Constitutional Court has the power to interpret the Constitution and can exercise judicial review against laws that it finds unconstitutional.
In practice, this power never comes to fruition.
The Russian Supreme Court is the last place a legal dispute can be settled after taking appeals from lower-level courts.
115 judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Federation Council.
The exclusive province of the Constitutional Court is where they don't have the power to review law for constitutionality.
In 2012 the Supreme Court was ordered to relocate from Moscow.
The military was used to enforce Soviet control over troubled areas and was a crucial source of power for the regime.
The military received the bulk of the government's finances to the disadvantage of nearly all other functions of the state.
The military remained firmly under the control of the Communist Party until the late 1980s and 1990s, when the military attempted a coup against Gorbachev.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, a presidential decree made the Russian president the commander in chief.
Senior officials in Russia are almost all from civilian background, as the military seems to still be under the control of the political leadership.
Russia's military has been used by Putin to project Russia's strength abroad in a way not seen since the Soviet era.
Russia has the fifth largest active-duty force in the world, and spent $69.3 billion on the military in 2013, third behind the United States and China.
Russia has been involved in military campaigns recently.
Georgian forces moved into South Ossetia to restore order after it broke away from Georgia.
Russia invaded South Ossetia and Abkhazia under the guise of "peace-enforcement", and the territories remain under Russian military occupation to this day.
After a pro-Russian president was overthrown by domestic protests in Ukraine, Russia sent soldiers into the peninsula without a national flag and took over government buildings.
Russia sent in the military to protect ethnic Russians in the region who might be targeted by Ukrainian nationalist extremists.
Russia annexed the peninsula after a referendum was held.
The turmoil of the late years of communism and the early years of the new regime gave Russians a different set of policy concerns than those of developed liberal democracies.
The struggle between those who want democratic reform and those who are grateful for the end of the turmoil has not been helped by recent political stability and economic growth.
Russia's experience with shock therapy, as poverty soared to rates ten times above their pre-Soviet-collapse levels, and inflation and unemployment affected Russians more than the Great Depression had, remains deeply scarred into the minds of most Russians.
The state's collapse, the lack of full implementation of shock therapy, government corruption, and general instability are still debated today.
Thanks to rising energy prices, the Russian economy recovered through 2008.
The government has faced serious budget problems since the recession of 2008.
Russia has less inequality than most of our countries of study, and Russia has no extreme poverty, which is a standard of living of less than two dollars per day.
Russia's economy is still state-owned and reliant on the energy sector.
Diversification of Russia's economy is a goal of both Putin and Medvedev.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia remained the dominant power in eastern Europe.
The case of Georgia is an example of Russia's dominance.
Russian natural gas is used to heat homes in Ukraine.
Natural gas is heavily subsidized by the Ukrainian government.
Russia has often used natural gas as a tool of control in diplomacy with Ukraine, cutting off access at crucial moments of Ukrainian negotiations over trade or other matters with Western Europe.
Putin personally supported pro-Russian candidates with money, advisors, and even campaign appearances, as Ukrainian politics has been divided between pro-Russian and anti-Russian parties in recent decades.
When protests in Ukraine forced pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich to resign, Russia granted asylum to him and invaded eastern Ukraine.
The Soviet Union was seen as the opposing polar power against the United States before it collapsed.
Russia has had to deal with a world in which the United States is a clear hegemon.
While Yeltsin's presidency seemed to signal an end to the Cold War tensions, relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated.
Natural gas exports are one of the tools of control used by former Soviet satellites and republics as they seek membership in NATO or the European Union.
Georgia and Ukraine were in the early stages of NATO membership when the Russian military took over.
Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2012 ended any chance of further integration in the near future, despite the fact that Russia pursued integration into the new globalized economy in the early 2000s.
Economic sanctions were imposed on Russia by all of the economic powers of the West after the G-8 was reduced back to the G-7.
Russia is facing a crisis of declining population that threatens to reduce its power and prospects for economic growth.
The decline in birth rates is one of the reasons for the crisis.
Russian women have a life expectancy of 77, while the average Russian man has a life expectancy of 65.
Most of the deaths of Russian men are alcohol related.
When two are needed to replace the current population, only 1.75 children are born to each Russian woman.
Russia has tried to counteract this trend by encouraging ethnic Russians living abroad to return to the homeland, and by stirring the patriotic nationalism of its people by asserting it as a civic duty to bear a large family to preserve the nation.
The terms that appear on the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam are tested.
The political culture of Russia is more likely to emphasize the protection of basic human rights than the British political culture.