Personalized Power in Russia, By: Zack Bradley

Personal Power plays a large role in Russian politics, and may have recently played a role in the death of Russian politician, Boris Nomstov. Some believe that the Russian constitution promotes personal power in its politics. The interpretation of the constitution has monopolized the presidential position in government, and therefore does not allow for a plurality system. Without checks and balances it seems valid to agree that this is most definitely hindering democracy in Russia.

When analyzing Vladimir Putin in specific specialists agree that the media is altered in favor of the United Russia party, which makes it extremely difficult for opposing leaders to shift the balance of power. Allowing most of the governmental power to be in the hands of the president makes it especially difficult for apposing parties to offer candidates with the same attractiveness to the public eye. These reasons lead me to believe that that a consolidation of power into one individual leads to the demise of democratic principals, in regards to the inability for fair opposition. If opposing candidates hold a large disadvantage due to the rise in personalized power of the president, then it doesn’t seem that Russia runs free and fair election, henceforth hindering the democratic outlook of their nation.

In the recent news a scandal has broken out that may have a connection to the rise in personal power and the abuse of that power with President Putin. On February 27th 2015 Vladimir Putin’s Political rival Boris Nemstov was shot and killed on the side sidewalk in Moscow Russia. While alive, Nemstov was very verbal about his animosity towards President Putin. From the Yeltsin days Nemstov remained in the political spotlight and for this reason, many believe that Putin was the one behind the murder. We can see Personalized power playing an obvious role in this situation when, after the homicide Putin assumed absolute control over the investigation. It doesn’t seem morally right for Putin, to undergo the investigation of Nemstov’s death especially with allegations that he himself was the reason behind it.

Is the personalized power instilled in Putin what may have lead him to murdering his own Rival? Does a lack of checks and balances make the Russian President feel that he is above the law? If the allegations are correct then it seems that these point are valid. With the checks and balances of a democratic regime the leader is constantly regulated and checked on, but without restrictions what limits their power? If the Russian Constitution promotes personalized power, and that personalized power is used to suppress opposing parties ability to shift the power of government, then doesn’t it seem that the election actually are not free and fair? Overall, I believe that Personalized power in Russia is being utilized to limit opposing parties ability to a fair election, which in return is detrimental to democracy in Russia.

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2 thoughts on “Personalized Power in Russia, By: Zack Bradley

  1. Personalized power is certainly in the way of Russia’s chances for democracy. In Lilia Shevtsova’s article, she makes the argument that “for deep and inherent reasons, the Russian system can reproduce itself only within the framework of authoritarianism and anti-Westernism”. This could be to say that Russia is stuck in this cyclical cycle of leaders who exert too much of their own values and who rule with a closed mind; they are not voted into power by free and fair elections and they are not making the necessary, positive changes needed to begin a democracy. Current President Putin and his “Putinism” will leave terrible consequences on Russia and the only hope, as stated in Shevtsova’s article, is the urban minority who support the idea of state based on the rule of law; and that the interests of the individual outweigh those of the state.

  2. Comment: Emelie has asked me to take a look at her class’ blog.
    The paper reflects an accurate view on the political situation in Russia that I know. There is no such thing as Western-style democracy under Vladimir Putin, as far as I’m concerned. He knows he will not politically survive in the level playing field. Monopolizing power by eliminating opposition, using force, and/or manipulating the rule of law is the way for him to stay in power. He prefers money and power to Western-style democracy.

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