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  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: It is very much in the Russian and, even more so, Soviet political tradition for rulers to deprecate their predecessors. As they climb up the power ladder, the would-be Kremlin occupants must profess complete loyalty to the current leader in order to succeed. Once in power, the country's new masters bolster their authority by dissociating themselves from previous leaders. Along with the weakness of the country's political institutions, which undermines the legitimacy of the transitions, such repudiations almost inevitably result in the personalization of power, as the new occupants mold the political, social, and economic systems to their liking. Hence, Russian and—again and especially—Soviet history have often looked like a succession of very distinct personal political regimes—indeed, sometimes different states under the same name.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Cold War, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Part I of this Russian Outlook dealt with what might be called the errors of commission, or false attribution, in the "chaos-of-the-1990s" stereotype, which became a major theme of the Putin Kremlin's propaganda. The economic crisis of that era, mostly inherited from the decaying Soviet economy, was laid at the revolutionary regime's door. Yet the "chaos" legend also contains errors of omission, for, on closer inspection, there was a great deal in the 1990s besides the alleged "chaos."
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Politics, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Russian president Vladimir Putin's term expires in March 2008. Despite the propaganda barrage designed to persuade everyone of an orderly change of government, the coming Russian presidential succession is far from a done deal. The stability and legitimacy that flow from democratic arrangements are compromised when these arrangements are weakened, as happened under Putin, ushering in uncertainty and risk.
  • Topic: Corruption, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Criticizing preceding regimes is a popular pastime of Russian leaders. But in denouncing the “chaos of the 1990s,” the Vladimir Putin regime seems to have an additional purpose: to defame the idea of liberty itself. Part I of this two-part Russian Outlook examines the claim that the revolution was entirely responsible for Russia's economic woes in the 1990s. Part II will take issue with the assertion that the Yeltsin years brought nothing but “chaos.”
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Part I of this Russian Outlook dealt with what might be called the errors of commission, or false attribution, in the “chaos-of-the-1990s” stereotype, which became a major theme of the Putin Kremlin's propaganda. The economic crisis of that era, mostly inherited from the decaying Soviet economy, was laid at the revolutionary regime's door. Yet the “chaos” legend also contains errors of omission, for, on closer inspection, there was a great deal in the 1990s besides the alleged “chaos.”
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Since its disastrous showing in the 2003 Duma elections, Russia's badly splintered and quarrelling democratic opposition has been trying to find ways to forge a common platform that would unite and energize its sizeable but apathetic and disillusioned constituency. The stakes are very high. The liberal (that is, in Russian political parlance, right-of-center, pro-market, pro-reform, and pro-Western) forces view the Putin Kremlin's turn to recentralization of national politics and the economy as a dead-end street, leading to creeping authoritarianism, rampant corruption, political crises, economic slowdown, and even disintegration. In this perspective, forging a united opposition strong enough to contest the Kremlin's control over the Duma in 2007 and the presidency in 2008 acquires particular urgency.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia