Culture and Civilization Matters

June 24, 2010

Political Transition: From Totalitarian Regime to Autocratic Rule

Filed under: Term 5 St. Petersburg — wadatripp @ 5:09 am

INTRODUCTION

In his paper, Russia: Behind the Headlines, Russian journalist Alexi Pankin, provides a historical context for the political ebbs and flows in Russia from the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.





FROM TOTALITARIAN REGIME to THE DISMANTLING OF SOVIET RULE to a TRAGIC MISSED OPPORTUNITY through ECONOMIC SHOCK THERAPY culminating in AUTOCRATIC RULE with the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED

  • Here, Pankin asserts that Russia’s greatest achievements in Democracy happened under Gorbachev in his dismantling of the Totalitarian system:



  • Pankin further asserts that in 1991, with fall of the Soviet Union, the United States was presented with a significant Opportunity to bring Western Style democracy to Russia as it had done previously in Japan and Germany:




  • Given that this opportunity was missed, Pankin outlines how Yeltsin’s Chaotic “Economic Shock Therapy” and Corrupt Privitization programs crippled the country creating an overwhelmingly perception of Western style Democracy:



  • Which ultimately culminated in the emergence of Vladimir Putin as an Autocratic ruler who has the “Consent of the Governed” in establishing a Vertical of Power in the Kremlin



  • VLADIMIR PUTIN: RUSSIA’s GOLDEN BOY

    In the Frontline Documentary “Putin’s Plan” Victoria Gamburg explores the dynamics of Putin’s Vertical of Power and the Opposition of “Other Russia” led by Garry Kasparov.




    Valadimir Posner, Russian host of the “Posner Show” suggests that Putin has become Russia’s Golden Boy and that the opposition cannot expect to get many votes.





    AUTHORITARIAN PERPETUITY OR EVENTUAL DEMOCRACY?

    Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, Gary Kasparov is convinced that- over time – Western style Democracy will ultimately prevail in Russia.




    Dmitri Trenin appears to agree with Kasparov suggesting that Russia’s evolving Capitalist society could ultimately develop into a Democracy.




    However, as David Dollar outlines here, is important to remember that the general pattern of authoritarian regimes opening up their markets and eventually ending up with Democratic Government have one important exception: Countries that sit on large reserves of oil.




    RUSSIA’S POLITICAL TRANSITION: QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

    • How have the vestiges of Imperial/Tsarist and Totalitarian/Soviet rule influenced Politics in Russia over the past two decades?
    • Do the Russians equate the chaos and corruption of Yeltsin’s rule with Western Democratic Rule?
    • How do the Russians feel about the current Authoritarian “Vertical of Power” of Vladimir Putin? Would they prefer a different kind of Governmental System?
    • Can Russia continue to prosper economically without reforming its existing Authoritarian system of Government?
    • Will Putin remain Prime Minister for life or will the Free-Market Consumers of Russia today transform into Pro-Democratic Citizens in the future?

    Click HERE to return to the Russia main page.

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