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Russian Challenges

Between Freedom and Energy

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Edited By Galina Michaleva and Andrey Ryabov

This book analyses the influence that oil and gas have on various sides of Russia’s contemporary internal and foreign policy. On the one hand, the factor oil and gas enabled the ruling elite to strengthen the state institutions and to stabilize Russia’s political and social system after decades of instability. Relying on the new economic opportunities contributed to the growth of revenues of the mass sections of population, and owing to the increased export of natural fuel resources Russia significantly strengthened its influence on international politics. But on the other hand, authoritarian tendencies increased in politics. The contributions of this book inquire into the gradually declining role of independent actors in relation to the government, and the increasing authority of the elites in power who continue to represent their corporate interests as being national ones.

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Maria Gordeyeva - The Choice of Russia:The Lure and the Misery of Political Stability - 153

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Maria Gordeyeva The Choice of Russia: The Lure and the Misery of Political Stability The Russian longing for stability which can be verified in practically every national survey undertaken in the past 10–15 years1 is by no means something particularly Russian. Stability as a paradigm of social development is becoming more and more attractive world- wide with the advance of such concepts as the “consumer society” and the “social state”. Moreover, stability seems to be the right path to overcome or rather sit out many of the current economic and social challenges. On the other hand, a number of dangers arise at the very moment when the “stable” development of a particular society becomes its ideology and philosophy. Political stability as a strategic tool is a part of every political system because, regardless of the features and the leading ideol- ogy, time and the continuity are the factors that give it credibility and thus legitimate the regime. It can be best implemented through a number of democratic mechanisms allowing for the necessary representation and decreasing tension attributed to the inability to satisfy the needs of all social groups. These mechanisms of political representation are probably the most efficient ones when it comes to bringing together various points of view and helping to trans- fer the existing disputes and disagreements into a civilized public discussion. They also provide forums and public arenas where dif- ferent opinions can be presented and defended. On the other hand, one should be...

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