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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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Alexei Zudin - Regime and Rotation: What’s Next? - 165

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Alexei Zudin Regime and Rotation: What’s Next? On May 7, 2008 Vladimir Putin vacated his presidential post and transferred power to Dmitry Medvedev. The managed rotation of power was successfully completed. Two circumstances give special significance to this fact. Firstly, up to the last moment such a turn of events seemed improbable. Since the 2000’s the governing elite, headed by Putin, had set up a “monocentric” regime, which was not only personalised by a particular Russian president, but was actually centred on him. It was quite difficult to imagine that the key player of the regime would leave this central position. Secondly, the with- drawal of the key player made the transformation of the established political regime inevitable. For an adequate understanding of the changes, which started after the managed rotation, it is necessary to define how they correspond to the existing concepts and in what way they were determined by the regime’s development during the previous period. The Features of a Post-Soviet Cycle The transformation of political regime in Russia was for a long time perceived through the lens of a transition paradigm and rated by its location on a scale ranging from authoritarianism to democracy. The modification of this approach – caused by the introduction of intermediate concepts (first “democracy plus adjectives”, then “authoritarianism plus adjectives”)1 and a criticism of transitological 1 David Collier and Steven Levitsky, “Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research”, World Politics, 49, April 1997; Steven Levitsky and Lucan...

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