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Изменчивость и преемственность в российской политике

Статус: Майнор
Когда читается: 3, 4 модуль
Преподаватели: Гайворонский Юрий Олегович, Крикунов Кристина Александра, Макаренко Борис Игоревич, Медведев Сергей Александрович, Миронюк Михаил Григорьевич, Титков Алексей Сергеевич
Язык: английский
Кредиты: 5
Контактные часы: 78

Course Syllabus


The course is intended to introduce the students to contemporary Russian politics in its entirety. It is designed as an overview of principal political institutions of the Russian state. These institutions are analyzed through the lens of comparative political science using neoinstitutional methodological approach, looking not only at the formal framework, but also on the actual performance of actors and institutions, which evolved in Russia since early 1990s. Another subject matter of the course is Russian space, its structure, topology, history, modes of appropriation and governance. It problematizes the idea of space as a key to understanding politics and governance of Russia, as well as national economy, society and culture. The course also looks at the “regional dimension” of politics, categorizes Russian regions, overviews center-periphery relations, Russian political culture, and briefly describes the country relationship with the outside world.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The course aims at strengthening students’ knowledge of contemporary Russia, developing skills to interpret and analyze political events, intellectual and historical outlook, to maintain professional and public discussion.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Know: basic ideas and concepts of comparative political science; main features of Russian political institutions and actors; current state and perspectives of different political processes in contemporary Russia.
  • Be able to: analyze institutions, events and actors of Russian politics; use rhetorical strategies and presentation techniques.
  • Know how to: search valid political information in different sources; to use complex approaches to analysis of political events, combining the “thick description” approach (case study) with comparative theoretical concepts.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Theme 1 (Prof. Boris Makarenko). Russia’s way to modernity. Specific features of Russia’s political development and the model of post-Communist transition.
    Concepts of modernization, political development, democratization and its application to Ru sian studies. Structure and agency factors of political development: general approach and the specifics of post-communist world. Historic prerequisites of modernization processes in Russia.
  • Theme 2 (Prof. Boris Makarenko). Political culture and political subcultures in Russia.
    The concept of political culture and political subcultures. Different approaches to interpretation of political subcultures in Russia: “three of four Russias” Evolution of political subcultures in Russia.
  • Theme 3 (Prof. Boris Makarenko). Civil Society in Russia
    Specificity of emergence and development of civil society in Russia: comparative politics approach. The problems of “social capital” and “horizontal confidence” in Russia as an explanation. Achievements and limitations of civil society in Russia. The problem of GONGO’s. Civil society and the government. The “third sector” in Russia.
  • Theme 4 (Prof. Boris Makarenko). Political pluralism Russian-style. Political pluralism and political competition in Russia. Elections Russian-style
    Cleavages and divides in the Russian society. Emergence of political pluralism in Russia. Evolution of the electoral system and its effects. The concept of “two majorities” (presidential and parliamentary elections). Reforms of political system: 2012-2013 and its effects. Political regime and public policy.
  • Theme 5 (Prof. Boris Makarenko). Political parties in Russia
    Role and functions of political parties in a political system: comparative politics approach and Russian realities. Evolution of party system in Russia. Principal political parties in Russia. The phenomenon of “post-Soviet party of power”.
  • Theme 6 (Prof. Sergei Medvedev). Russian Space: Topology and Structure
    Russian space as an asset. Russia-mythology and images of space. Space as the dominant of Russian modern history. Territory as a key marker of modernity. Westphalian territorial thinking: Space = resource = power. Russian space as burden. Problems of Russian space: Low population density, savage nature, marginality, amorphousness, lack of borders. Statecraft in Russia: A big state as a response to large space. Huge strategic requirements: spatial development (infrastructure), territorial control, territorial defense. Space vs. the State as the main opposition of the Russian history; takes place at various levels: politics, society economy, culture, language. The concept of Internal Colonization: Russia as a permanently moving Frontier – the colonizing state and the colonized territory. Agents of colonization
  • Theme 7 (Prof. Sergei Medvedev). Economic and Territorial Governance: Distribution (Razdatok), Estates (Soslovie) and the Administrative Market. The Administrative- Territorial Division. Territorial estates (pomestie)
    Traditional Russian economic model. Spatial/strategic: Long borders, militant neighbors vulnerability of key centers. Mobilization of resources by the state: high taxation levels, unprecedented state expenditure on industrial production and capital; Concentration of land and human resources. State as a key economic agency: Role of Peter the Great. Russian political economy: Khozyaistvo instead of the economy, producer dependent on the state instead of an independent merchant, distribution instead of exchange. Economic functions of the state. Sectors of priority investment. Budgetary cycle in the USSR. USSR as a vertically integrated corporation: a single mechanism of resource allocation, a hierarchical organization. The administrative market: privatizing hierarchical positions and statuses. A system of multifunctional institutional districts (Gubernias in Russia, Oblasts in the USSR) to control space with all its contents. Organizing the operation of state institutions, and people’s daily lives, sanctioning ethnicity. Oblasts as key institutions of the state. Territorial estates (pomestie) as units of governance
  • Theme 8 (Prof. Sergei Medvedev).. The Political Culture of Russian Space: Mobilization and Modernization
    Space and political culture. The role of climate, geography and geopolitics. Surviving in the East European forest: role of the state. The roots of patrimonialism and the imperative of survival. External elements: the ideological bloc (Byzantium), the despotic bloc (the Tatars), the bureaucratic/policing bloc (the West).
  • Theme 9 (Prof. Nikolay Petrov) State-territorial composition. Federalism, Russian style
    State-territorial composition and its evolution. Disintegration of the USSR and Russia’s push back to Asia. Russian federalism: according to the Constitution and real thing. Subjects of federation: number, composition, statuses. Waves of regions’ enlarging and disaggregation in Soviet past. Parade of sovereignties in early 1990-ies and regions enlarging in 2005-2008. Regional boundaries, their stability. The federal reform of 2000 and federal districts. Logics of federal districts formation: political and managerial, their design and functions, changes of composition. Crimea’s integration into Russian space. Municipal reforms of 2003 and 2014. Managerial networks: military, of water basins, railroad... Associations of regional economic cooperation.
  • Theme 10 (Prof. Nikolay Petrov). Center-regions relations.
    Center-regions relationship in dynamics: the pendulum model - from “weak center – strong regions” to “strong center – weak regions”. Russia’s overcentralization and overunitarization. Representation of the center’s interests in regions: Chief Federal Inspector, regional offices of FSB, MVD, prosecution, Investigative Committee, courts. Federal officials’ horizontal rotation as a mean to provide for their independence from regional elites. Dekorenization of the federal part of regional elites and its growing conflicts with proper regional elite. The Federation Council and the State Duma, the State Council and the Public Chamber in terms of regional interests’ representation. Regional lobbyism. Regional representative offices in Moscow, fellow countrymen associations.
  • Theme 11 (Prof. Nikolay Petrov). Regional monitoring.
    Regional monitorings of different kinds: socio-political, economic, media etc. Ratings of democracy, 1998-. The Committee on Civic Initiatives’ monitoring of regions’ socio-economic and political development in 2014-2018. Socio-economic non-wellbeing and risks: credit stability. Political design: primitivization. Protest activism: geographic expansion. Center’s interference: governors’ replacements and increasing pressure against regional elites. Risk factors superposition.
  • Theme 12 (Ass. Prof. Yuri Gaivoronsky). Subnational Political Regimes
    The concept of subnational regimes: autonomy, competition, and quality of performance. The evolution of the center-periphery relations in post-soviet Russia. Regional autonomy and subnational authoritarianism under Yeltsin. The dynamics of Putin’s recentralization and survival of subnational political regimes: federal districts and presidential envoys to federal districts, the federation council, gubernatorial elections, «United Russia», and subnational elites.
  • Theme 13 (Ass. Prof. Yuri Gaivoronsky). Political Features of Intergovernmental Transfers
    Fiscal federalism and evolution of transfer politics in Russia. The structure of intergovernmental transfers: grants, subsidies, and subventions. The current dynamics and distribution of transfers: regions of Russia as winners and losers. Political sensitive transfers. Intergovernmental transfers and the “pork barrel” politics: the role of regional competition and lobbying. The distributive politics and public employment. The influence of geopolitical vulnerability on the distributive politics.
  • Theme 14. (Ass. Prof. Mikhail Mironyuk) . Russia in the Changing World
    What world are we living in? Rules based international order: a reality and myths. Trust and mistrust in international relations. Russia’s quest for new foreign policy after the collapse of the USSR. Russia and the West: from honeymoon to disillusionment. Russia in the age of uncertainty and the quest for great power status. How to decipher Russia’s foreign policy: theory of foreign policy-making and Russian practices. Seminal public speeches of Russian leaders (Munich security conference’ 07, UN General Assembly’15, etc.).
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Participation
  • non-blocking Essay/presentation
  • non-blocking Exam (written)
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.2 * Essay/presentation + 0.3 * Exam (written) + 0.5 * Participation


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Derek Averre. (2016). The Ukraine Conflict: Russia’s Challenge to European Security Governance. Europe-Asia Studies, (4), 699. https://doi.org/10.1080/09668136.2016.1176993
  • Greene, S. A. (2012). Citizenship and the Social Contract in Post-Soviet Russia. Demokratizatsiya, 20(2), 133–140. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=asn&AN=83862997
  • Makarenko, B. I. (2012). The Post-Soviet Party of Power. Russian Social Science Review, 53(4), 27–56. https://doi.org/10.1080/10611428.2012.11065482
  • Makarenko, B. I. (2014). New Watersheds in Russian Society. Sociological Research, 53(4), 32–60. https://doi.org/10.2753/SOR1061-0154530402
  • Ross, C. (2012). Federalism and democratisation in Russia. Germany, Europe: Manchester Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.6C7EE20
  • Shleifer, A., & Treisman, D. (2005). A Normal Country: Russia After Communism. https://doi.org/10.1257/0895330053147949

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • McMann, K. M. (2006). Economic Autonomy and Democracy : Hybrid Regimes in Russia and Kyrgyzstan. New York: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=198840
  • Reuter, O. J., & Robertson, G. B. (2012). Subnational Appointments in Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from Russian Gubernatorial Appointments. Journal of Politics, 74(4), 1023–1037. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022381612000631
  • Shevtsova, L. (2010). Putin’s Russia (Vol. 2nd ed). Washington DC: Carnegie Endowment for Int’l Peace. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=551790