- Business and the State in Contemporary Russia
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- The Return of Global Russia: An Analytical Framework - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
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This could explain why many Western policies with respect to Russia have been misguided, and seemingly aimed at stripping the country of its political agency, its capacity for independent action. These policies have clearly stemmed from the unipolar world paradigm, which long dominated Western political thinking.
Western political elites have tried relentlessly to enforce their own neo-liberal dogmas and sense of societal values on Russia, while failing to see that even back at home the support for them was not as strong as they believed or proclaimed. Far from it, in fact, as we can now see through the deep societal divisions that have been exposed in the West. At the same time a deep feeling of dissatisfaction, inequality, brutality of police, rise of terrorism and insecurity, as well as social, environmental, technological and anthropological risks have further divided contemporary societies.
These events should clearly show that the world cannot be dictated by one country, one people, or — crucially — one set of ideals. It is most important at this juncture to recognise, however unwillingly, that these ideologies must return to polity and geo-policy.
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Russia has always been both a deeply ethnically and religiously diverse society, and also a profoundly traditional one. Although integration with Europe was a priority for its rulers in many key periods of its history — it was never the sole priority.
There is every chance that its relations with Europe and the US could improve, provided the process is rooted in mutually-respectful, organic development, rather than the imposition on a subordinate of a particular concept of globalization and hierarchy. Successful inter-cultural and inter-civilizational communication requires both mutual understanding and good will.
Yet we are living in an age of ignorance and unwillingness to learn. Prejudices, misperceptions, and myths are reinforced in online echo-chambers of our own making. People now live in an era of near instantaneous communication in which half-truths, distortion, and outright lies, have become highly consumed products. So far, the numerous technological advances have accelerated our interactions, but they have not, on the whole, opened up avenues for deeper, more meaningful dialogue. Added to this, there are a number of external imperatives that should provide sufficient impetus for all parties to ensure relations move to a new level of mutual benefit: threats from extremist groups, terrorism, severe environmental changes, or economic crises — to name but a few.
Russia seems to remain, in the eyes of a significant part of the international community, something of an errant schoolchild. On the other hand, from the Western viewpoint one can identify visible features of Russian political institutions and practices which are considered to be at least obsolete in the West. They include the absence of clear distinctions, checks and balances between different powers, Russian attempts to present itself as a self-identified separate civilization with its own unique set of values, or strong inter-connection between State and Orthodox Church, to name but a few.
Business and the State in Contemporary Russia
Politicians must realise that this dangerous brinkmanship leaves the rest of us facing a precarious situation in which there is an escalating risk that the worst-case scenario will play out — not in their rhetoric, but on our streets. Reason must prevail. Perhaps because of the isolation of the Cold War, within Russia there is a greater understanding of the importance of those periods during which Russia was a weighty European and Asian power. There is also a significant reservoir of goodwill — even today — towards even those countries that display hostility to Russia.
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Scant recognition was given to achievements in institutional development where they were successful, while failures or aberrations were writ large. These memories are very raw for people across the post-Soviet space. Even the younger generations — born after the fall of the USSR — were profoundly affected by what they saw and experienced during those difficult years. Living standards have risen since those dark years, as have birth rates and life expectancy. The blinkered approach outlined above cannot but hinder meaningful cooperation with Russia on international issues of major concern.
Recent experience has taught them that change is usually for the worse and best avoided". In June , Putin's decree was approved by the "Concept of the Russian Federation's foreign policy". According to this document, the main objectives of foreign policy are the following:. In a article in the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung dedicated to the participation in the annual economic forum, it was proposed to create a European economic alliance stretching from Vladivostok to Lisbon.
As steps towards the creation of the alliance indicates a possible unification of customs tariffs and technical regulations, the abolition of the visa regime with the European Union.
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In August , according to experts the Russian-American relations have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War era. The September President Barack Obama 's visit to Moscow and his talks with Putin were canceled due to temporary asylum in Russia, a former employee of the CIA Edward Snowden , disagreements on the situation in Syria and the problems with human rights in Russia. It is written in the form of an open letter to the American people, containing an explanation of the Russian political line against the Syrian conflict.
It is also the Russian president warns against President Obama's thesis "About the exclusivity of the American nation". The article caused a mixed reaction of the world community. In , Putin won the first place in the annual ranking of most influential people in the world by Forbes. In his speech, he urged the formation of a broad anti-terrorist coalition to combat ISIS and blamed the events in Ukraine on "external forces", warned the West against unilateral sanctions, attempts to push Russia from the world market and export of color revolutions.
For the first time, he also held a meeting with President Obama to discuss the situation in Syria and Ukraine , but in the outcome of the negotiations and despite the persistence of deep contradictions the experts saw a faint hope for a compromise and the warming of relations between the two countries. Russian politician Boris Nemtsov and commentator Kara-Murza define Putinism in Russia as "a one party system , censorship , a puppet parliament , ending of an independent judiciary, firm centralization of power and finances, and hypertrophied role of special services and bureaucracy , in particular in relation to business".
Russia's nascent middle class showed few signs of political activism under the regime as Masha Lipman reported: "As with the majority overall, those in the middle-income group have accepted the paternalism of Vladimir Putin's government and remained apolitical and apathetic". In December , the Russian sociologist Igor Eidman VCIOM categorized the Putin regime as "the power of bureaucratic oligarchy " which had "the traits of extreme right-wing dictatorship — the dominance of state-monopoly capital in the economy, silovoki structures in governance, clericalism and statism in ideology".
In August , The Economist wrote about the virtual demise of both Russian and Soviet intelligentsia in post-Soviet Russia and noted: "Putinism was made strong by the absence of resistance from the part of society that was meant to provide intellectual opposition". In early February , Aleksander Auzan , an economist and board member at a research institute set up by Dmitry Medvedev , said that in the Putin system "there is not a relationship between the authorities and the people through Parliament or through nonprofit organizations or other structures.
The relationship to the people is basically through television. And under the conditions of the crisis, that can no longer work". About the same time, Vladimir Ryzhkov pointed out that a bill Medvedev had sent to the State Duma in late January , when signed into law, will allow Kremlin-friendly regional legislatures to remove opposition mayors who were elected by popular vote: "It is no coincidence that Medvedev has taken aim at the country's mayors. Mayoral elections were the last bastion of direct elections after the Duma cancelled the popular vote for governors in Independent mayors were the only source of political competition against governors who were loyal to the Kremlin and United Russia.
Now one of the few remaining checks and balances against the monopoly on executive power in the regions will be removed. After the law is signed by Medvedev, the power vertical will be extended one step further to reach every mayor in the country". It is claimed that Putin models himself on the Tsar Peter the Great , whose reign is reminiscent of a Russian imperial greatness which the Kremlin is keen to promote.
A presidential commission asked Putin in to grant the request of one of Nicholas II 's last surviving relatives to rehabilitate the House of Romanov. An alliance has been forged between the Church and the Kremlin since Putin became President of the Russian Federation. An adherent of the Russian Orthodox Church , Putin has allowed the regaining by the Orthodox Church of much of the importance that the Church had enjoyed in the Russian Empire and has won the enthusiastic support of its religious leaders.
Some commentators have said that current Putin holds many neo-Soviet views, especially concerning law and order and military strategic defense. The first politically controversial step made by Putin, then the FSB Director, was restoring in June a memorial plaque to Yuri Andropov on the facade of the building, where the KGB had been headquartered. In late , Putin submitted a bill to the State Duma to use the Soviet anthem as Russia's national anthem. The Duma voted in favor. In September , Putin was quoted as saying: "The Soviet Union is a very complicated page in the history of our peoples.
It was heroic and constructive, and it was also tragic.
The Return of Global Russia: An Analytical Framework - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
But it is a page that has been turned. It's over, the boat has sailed. Now we need to think about the present and the future of our peoples". In February , Putin said: "It is my deep conviction that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a national tragedy on a massive scale. I think the ordinary citizens of the former Soviet Union and the citizens in the post-Soviet space , the CIS countries , have gained nothing from it.
On the contrary, people have been faced with a host of problems. For example, Nursultan Nazarbayev was categorically opposed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and he said so openly proposing various formulas for preserving the state within the common borders. But, I repeat, all that is in the past. Today we should look at the situation in which we live. One cannot keep looking back and fretting about it: we should look forward".
In April , during his formal address to Russia's Parliament , President Putin said: "Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century. As for the Russian nation, it became a genuine drama. Tens of millions of our co-citizens and compatriots found themselves outside Russian territory. Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself".
In December , Putin said in the interview to the Time magazine: "Russia is an ancient country with historical, profound traditions and a very powerful moral foundation. And this foundation is a love for the Motherland and patriotism.
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Patriotism in the best sense of that word. Incidentally, I think that to a certain extent, to a significant extent, this is also attributable to the American people". In August , The Economist claimed: "Russia today is ruled by the KGB elite, has a Soviet anthem, servile media, corrupt courts and a rubber-stamping parliament. A new history textbook proclaims that the Soviet Union, although not a democracy, was 'an example for millions of people around the world of the best and fairest society'".