Democracy: The Russian Way

Russia under the leadership of Putin is currently going down a rabbit hole it will not be able to return from without considerable pain and damage to the Russian people.  Not only is the current path causing harm and risk to the Russian people but it is eroding the long term democracy of the nation.  The sway of personalized power, most clearly shown in the actions of Putin, have allowed the Russian people to become enslaved to the will of there leader.  As Shevtsova states in her scholarly work,  Putin has convinced his people that they are in a “besieged fortress” (178). This fight for survival and enemy at our gates mentality has allowed Putin to claim near authoritarian power all the while being re-elected with 63% of the vote (Reuters).  This is evident in the recent assassination of the main political opposition to Putin right outside of the Kremlin building, the symbolic building of Putins power (Reuters).  Even though Shevtsova uses the definition of democracy provided by Lipset, any range of democratic definition does not include the killing of the opposition party.

To further cement the personal power of Putin in his efforts to warp democracy to his will the creation of the siloviki or strongmen social class.  It is the goal of the this new social class to concentrate the generation of social and political power in the hands of the few.  This proves that the Putin administration does not have the best interest of the Russian people in mind, thus ruling out any possible working definition of democracy.  The traditional imperial administration of the Russian Federation is one so concerned with maintaining its personal power and influence that it is willing strive for a constant state of war and throw democracy to the way side.

3 thoughts on “Democracy: The Russian Way

  1. Josh, nice post! Another way to think about this is “is Russia a good example of a competitive authoritarian regime?”

  2. Mr.Hoffman,
    My question is….does the erosion of democracy in Russia have any effects on state behavior in the international system? What are the wider implications for the potential for peace or war?

  3. Comment: Emelie has asked me to take a look at her class’ blog.
    It looks that Russia is drifting farther and farther away from democracy. And anti-American feeling among Russians is growing. Michael Birbaum in an article in the Washington Post on Monday, March 9, quoted the independent Lavada Center as saying, “More than 80 percent of Russians now hold negative view of the United States.” It looks that Vladimir Putin is enjoying growing support from his people. He is effective, though. It’s obvious that Russia is headed for a darker day. And a return from the darkness is bound to happen, but it will be no doubt painful.

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