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Political Opposition in Contemporary Russia: Socio-political Cleavages and Party System in Comparative Perspective

Student: Ivan Petrov

Supervisor: Boris Makarenko

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Politics. Economics. Philosophy (Master)

Final Grade: 8

Year of Graduation: 2019

The following paper presents a research, that belongs to the sphere of the contemporary opposition studies. The object of the research is the political opposition in modern-days Russia, the subject of the research is the position of Russian opposition parties within the Russian politics, considering both the structure of inner political landscape and the impact of systematic factors, which determined the difference from the dissimilar countries of the similar competitive authoritarian / hybrid regime type. The basic scientific paradigms of the research are the behavior approach, the systematic approach and the new institutionalism. The particular research was made to answer the following questions: • What types of opposition do exist in Russia? • What was the dynamics, that had formed such a pattern? • What combination of factors had formed such the pattern and the dynamics? • How does this correspond to the formation of incumbent-opposition relations in other regimes of the competitive authoritarian / hybrid type? To address the goal there were made the analysis, consisted of two parts: • Firstly, in chapter 3 it was made a content-analysis of the political programs and speeches of candidates, who participated in the 2018 presidential elections. • Secondly, in chapter 4 it was made a comparative case study of the incumbent-opposition relations in the three dissimilar hybrid regimes- Russia of 2010-s, Ukraine of 2000-s and Mexico of 1990-s. The content-analysis was theoretically based on the cleavage theory by S.Lipset and S.Rokkan and the political opposition classification by R.Dahl. The case study was theoretically based on the group of indexes, the most important of which were the Parliamentary Power Index, the Effective number of parties and the A.Leiphart's cleavage index, and also- the World Bank data and the descriptive information from the relevant country study and the hybrid regime study publications. The general assumption of the research was that the contemporary Russia belongs to the group of the competitive authoritarian / hybrid regimes, characterized by the limited competition and the significant political misbalance, marked by control of the incumbent on the administrative resource, the electoral commissions and the major mass-media. Another assumption of the research was that the strategic behavior of the oppositional actors would correspond directly to the state of the political regime and the last would correspond directly to the impact of the factors, which influence could be found through the comparative perspective. The results of the research had confirmed such the assumptions: • Firstly, it was found, that by the optics of the mentioned theories there can be highlighted the three clusters of the oppositional actors by their structural positioning beyond the 2018 elections, and the three clusters of the oppositional actors by their strategic positioning on the 2018 elections. Those clusters were found to form the pattern, which provides us with relevant ideas about the division of Russian opposition and the strategic priorities of its actors, which would help to estimate their acts appropriately and to make the correspondent forecasts. • Secondly, it was found, that the constitutional formula- the system of checks and balances, based on both formal and informal constitution,- is the most crucial variable, influencing the degree of competitiveness of the non-democratic regimes. The other three were the % of oil rent in the budget, the number of the hard, geographically fixed, cleavages, and the strength of the foreign linkage and leverage of democratic powers.

Full text (added June 4, 2019)

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