Institute of Sociology
of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

POLIS (Political Studies)

2016, No 01

Topic: The Theory and the Practice of the World Politics





Presenting the Jubilee Issue. We Are 25 Years Old! RPSA / SPSA – 60 Years! (p. 6-7)



Gaman-Golutvina O.V.Political Science Facing the Challenges of Modern Politics. To the 60th Anniversary of RPSA / SPSA (8-28)

Abstract. The text dedicated to the 60th anniversary of Russian Political Science Association is devotedto the genesis, mission and role of this organization in the context of political development of the pastdecades and current trends in the evolution of modern politics. The key threats the modern political scienceis facing are divided into two main sets. The first one includes relations of political science and politicalpractice, or how global and local challenges shape the modern social knowledge. The second set includesdevelopment issues of the discipline: correlation of the world science mainstream with the agenda andconfiguration of Russian political science; dichotomy of the foundations of political science – theoretic,conceptual and imperatively pluralistic; conjugation of fundamental and applied areas and their thematiccontent; comparative analysis of the effectiveness of research strategies and methods; the relevance of theapplied performance evaluation system of scientific activity in political science. The importance of politicalscience today is determined, in the author’s opinion, by the fact that the dominant feature of the current era (post-modern in its essence) has become the compound symbiosis of politics and economics. Ideas, ideals, interests and technologies of their conjugation constitute the subject of political science. In terms of the second law of thermodynamics, political science is an institutional tool against irreversible dissipation ofsocial energy. The complexity of political science in this case is that is operates with patterns of probabilitycharacter, most of which are applicable only in a short time perspective. This, in the author’s opinion,determines the need for constant self-reflection of the discipline, which does represent the mission of RPSAand its social function – to create the formats and provide for stability of professional communication.The author examines the formats and technologies of implementation of RPSA’s social function asa significant civil society institution which continues to form its identity in the context of qualitative increasein complexity of social changes and domination of nonlinear processes.

Keywords: political science; challenges and threats; nonlinear processes; professional communication; methodological and methodic foundations of political science; political expertise; RPSA; IPSA



Alekseyeva T.A., Lebedeva M.M.What Is Happening to the Theory of International Relations (29-43)

Abstract. The article is written in the form of dialogue – one of the long standing scientific traditions of the problems examination, the authors consider it to be the best for the discussion of the present state and contentsof the theory of international relations. In the article are regarded the questions of the reasons of interest to thetheory of international relations, especially to the national, non-Western directions of its recent developmentas well as to the main perspectives of such an interest. From this point of view, of special interest is the Russian attitude towards the international relations. The question of the ontology of the “international” is examined,how it is changing and whether it is changing at all. The authors pay attention to the correlation between the theory of international relations and the ideological aspects of international relations: where the theory comesto its end, and ideology starts to play? Finally, the scholars study the problem of the theory / praxis correlation.It’s obvious that these questions do not have the unambiguous answers. So, the main task of the article is tostart the wider discussion concerning this problem in our country.

Keywords: theory of international relations; Russian studies of the international relations; international relations; non-Western theories of international relations; ideology; international political theory 

Nikitin A.I.New System of Relations between Great Powers for the XXI Century: “Concert” or Confrontation? (44-59)

Abstract. The year 2015 marks the 200th Anniversary of the Vienna Congress of 1815 that initiated so called “Concert of Europe” – relatively stable century-long system of interstate negotiations between that time“great powers” and empires. The article introduces the international research projects of 20 researchersfrom 9 countries who elaborated and proposed principles and mechanisms for a new “concert of powers”for the 21st century. Basing upon statistical and qualitative parameters the author figured out three models(for 10, 13 and 17 countries) for the required modern system of negotiation on global issues. Such a systemshould rather compliment to than compete with the existing international institutions like UN or G7.But it may provide better legitimacy (by involving new actors – rising powers and collective actors likeEU) and higher efficiency in reaching compromises (by avoiding excessive formalization that breaks theUN SC). Difficulties and weaknesses on the way towards a new “concert of powers” are inspected too.Project is focused not only on redesigning the geopolitics of the global political/security dialogue, butas well on ways for reforming the existing interfaces between powers and international organizations likeUnited Nations, OSCE, and non-Western integrative formats like SCO, CSTO, BRICS.

Keywords: global issues; theory of international relations; confrontation; negotiations; Vienna Congress; “concert of powers;” superpowers; balance of interests

Oznobishchev S.K.“The New Cold War”: Reminiscences about the Future (60-73)

Abstract. The Ukrainian crisis pushed back and seriously aggravated relations between Russia and the West in the security sphere, having provoked the discussion about the return to the Cold War times. Theattempt is presented in the article to demonstrate that the present stage of interrelations between Russiaand the West is being deprived of immanent features of the Cold War. The author considers that theundertaken efforts in the artificial creation of the ideologems, trying to create foundation for the “newconfrontation” are unconvincing. The crisis that broke out creates serious and long-term difficulties on the way to recreation of confidence between the sides and for the turn over to the constructive cooperation. The active search of the sides for the decoupling of crisis situations and the necessity for joint counteraction to the global challenges make it necessary to cooperate in the security field,diminishing the possibility of returning to the Cold War in its “classic” form. However, the multiplyingcontradictions and mutual concerns, that were not resolved for years and even for dozens of years, createdthe grounds for the new possible “hybrid” confrontation based on other conditions. At the same time thedecisive inclusion of Russia into the fight against the terrorist quasi-state ISIL creates the conditions forthe gradual return to the active cooperation with the West in the sphere of international security and maybecome a serious obstacle on the way to fixing the appearing tendencies of returning to the Cold War.

Keywords: Ukrainian crisis; Cold War; ideological struggle; arms race; anti-Western moods; “separate identity” of Russia; multipolar world; Syria; terrorism; ISIL; ideology; propaganda 



Buzgalin A.V., Kolganov A.I., Barashkova O.V.Russia: New Imperialist Power? (74-87)

Abstract. This paper argues the importance of using modern methodology of Marxist analysis for the study of imperialism and the so-called “empires”. This methodology allows to show the mechanismsof economic, political, ideological, and other types of manipulating “periphery” by capital and statesof the “centre”. On this methodological basis it is proved that capitals and state machines of semiperiphery countries in general and Russia in particular are mostly objects of imperialist subjugation and manipulation and only in some rare cases these countries and their capitals are able to be subjects of theimperialist policy. The authors analyze the contradictions in relations between the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the West, and present a system of political, economic and geo-political arguments provingthat Russia as a rule does not act as a subject of imperialist policy, and only in some cases (generallyrelying on the Soviet legacy) Russia is able to withstand the “rules of the game”, given by the imperialistpowers. It is argued that these few cases when Russia withstands the “rules of the game” is the mainreason for the imperialist powers’ diatribes against the “Russian imperialism”.

Keywords: Russia; imperialism; Marxism; Ukraine; political and economic power; geopolitics; capital; state.



Ilyin M.V.“Flaky Pastry” of Politics: Recipes and Improvisations (88-103)

Abstract. The article further develops critical investigation of heterogeneous institutional arrangements (flaky pastry) initiated in the first part of the article. Institutional ambiguity rests on two modes ofexistence – temporal on line and extemporal off line. Human agency provides an interface of bothmodes that can be associated with ongoing improvisations and fixed recipes. Procedures and criteriaof saturation and purification are discussed. Each of the three basic cognitive schemata – a thing, anorganism and an ecosystem (community of life forms) – helps to single out various aspects of life. Some cognitive schemata suit particular aspects of politics better than other analytic instruments. Combination of heuristic capabilities is the key issue. The article further presents sequencing and orientations of specific aspects of reforms. Particular attention is focused on the risks and prospects of alternative strategies of reforms, their recipes and improvisations. Transformation of institutions by saturating them with new practices is claimed to be naturally advantageous. It is saturation of traditional institutions be democratic practices that accounts for success of conclusive cases of democratization.

Keywords:institutions; processes; langue; parole; on line; off line; agency; complementarity; thick and thin institutions; saturation and purification of institutions; formal and informal institutions; institutions of various scale; orders; regimes; practices; reforms

Brown A.Political Leadership and Political Power (104-120)

Abstract. According to the author of the article, the personalisation of politics by the mass media, and an increased focus on the leaders of the major parties in parliamentary democracies, especially on who ever is prime minister, leads to an exaggeration of the contribution of the top leader to the policy process andto unrealistic expectations of the role this leader can play across the entire policy spectrum. It is alsolinked to a naive and unsubstantiated belief that a ‘strong leader’, in the sense of one who maximises hisor her personal power, dominates his or her Cabinet and political party, and attempts to take all the big decisions in different areas of policy, constitutes the most admirable and successful type of leadership. Inreality, insists Professor Brown, effective leadership is more often than not collective and collegial. Whileit is clear that groups and governments, even within democracies, are also not immune from makingfoolish, damaging and sometimes arbitrary decisions, the likelihood of this happening is substantiallygreater under unconstrained, or only weakly constrained, personal rule. When a leader can carry the daythrough the exercise of individual power, by pulling rank – rather than through a process of persuasionof colleagues of independent standing who are not afraid to provide counter-arguments and to questionthe conclusions of the top leader – then the incidence of mistakes with tragic consequences will mount.It is time to take a fresh look at the advantages of collective and collegial leadership and to appreciatethe value to be derived from the talents, diversity of experience and political insights of a larger and morerepresentative group than that which typically surrounds the top leader.

Keywords: leader; leadership; power; democracy; politics; authoritarian regime 

Satarov G.A.Trust as an Object of Political Sociology. Part I (121-138)

Abstract. The article deals with the problem of measuring public trust in modern Russian public institutions, and discusses the political practice of using the results of these measurements, socio-political and methodological problems of evaluation of trust as part of public opinion. The author proves the legitimacyof the question of how the traditional polling methods correspond to the complexity of the studied socialcategories and events, and justifies his own position on the example of credibility issue of the key statepolitical institutions. He demonstrates the inadequacy of routine approaches and presents alternative methods applied in three studies conducted by the INDEM Foundation in 1998‑2015. The authoranalyzes formal statistical characteristics of the relationships between the sets of estimates of confidencein various institutions and other characteristics of the respondents, and demonstrates the correlationbetween changes in the nature and structure of public opinion and changes in the political process. Itis established that after 2000 there was a transition from a diversified assessment of confidence in thevarious authorities to a rather monolithic one, as well as changes in the social framework of trust andseparation of the trust assessment from political demands to the authorities. The article establishes zonesof influence of conformism on the assessment of confidence in public authorities. Such confidence is notinstitutionalized due to its instability and lack of influence on political behavior. Lost is the additivecharacter of adjacent estimates of confidence, as well as the forecast potential of traditional survey results. Basing on this study, the author draws the conclusion about the need for new approaches to the study of public opinion.

Keywords: trust; political sociology; public opinion; opinion survey; consistency; mathematical and statistical methods; social network analysis; data mining

Rozov N.S.Neopatrimonial Regimes: Diversity, Dynamics, and Prospects for Democratization (139-156)

Abstract. This paper develops the previous publication of the author (“Polis. Political Studies”. No. 6. 2015. P. 157‑172) where he presented a theory of transformation of political regimes, analyzed the conceptsof political regime, political relations, political cooperation, routine and conflict strategies, described theconditions of regimes’ crises and the nature of neopatrimonialism. Here the author’s attention is focusedon the structural typology of neopatrimonial regimes which is built on the basis of different relationsbetween the regime’s core (the patronage network) and the periphery (groups and individuals outsideof the network). Thus partial democracy, harsh authoritarianism and totalitarianism are distinguished,each with its own specifics of neopatrimonial relations. The diversity of neopatrimonial regimes in Africa,Latin America and post-Soviet space is considered in these terms. The factors of stability and turbulence,the reasons for choosing a particular vector of regime’s transformation are analyzed. The post-Sovietregimes changes are considered in three dimensions: democracy – authoritarianism – totalitarianism,the level of bureaucratization, and stability – turbulence – crisis. The known factors of state breakdownsand regime transformations are refined for neopatrimonialism, and conditions for post-crisis democraticdevelopment are formulated on the elaborated theoretical basis.

Keywords: neopatrimonialism; bureaucratization; regime’s transformation; political relations; political crises; post-Soviet regimes; the conditions of democratization

Mchedlova M.M.Sociocultural Meanings of Politics: New Logic of Interpretation and Religious References (157-174)

Abstract. Extension of the theory of politics to include sociocultural meanings in its explanatory scheme reflects the current uncertainty of its theoretical and methodological foundations, politico-institutional references, political and ideological implications. Fluctuation of the contours of the “familiar world”corresponds to rising distrust in the existing institutions and actors, suggesting a crisis of their legitimacyand effectiveness. A qualitatively new nature of conflict in society, archaization of political ideologies andpractices, transformation of the structures of social and power configurations indicate a change in thereference values of load-bearing structures of political life, reflexive schemes and ideological intentions.Redefinition of the standard linear epistemes and ideological discourses of modernity is accompanied by incorporation of socio-cultural referents and new references of modernity into the theoretical constructs.Religion ceases to be just a private affair of a particular person, and returns to the public space in variousforms, reflecting the diversification and diversity of the semantic and practical presence in the theoretical schemes and political practices. Many political issues acquire social resonance only because they aregiven a religious meaning, whereas religious intentions are in demand primarily in the political space. Thereligious reference is perceived differently in the modern world, causing controversy and debate aboutthe prospects for human development, actualizing new methodological and ideological constructions.

Keywords: politics; epistemology; reference; religion; diversity; modernization; changes; democracy; identity; sociocultural factors and meanings



 Kliucharev G.A., Trofimova I.N.Some “Lessons” of Theory and Practice of Civic Education (175-191)

Abstract. The article examines topical issues of civic education. The subject of the analysis is a contradiction between specific goal setting of the educational process, on the one hand, and the variety and unpredictabilityof political life, on the other. This contradiction is particularly pronounced in transitional-inversion types of societies, including Russia. The aim of the article is to study approaches to the construction of a modernmodel of civic education that provides effective functional and dynamic interaction of the political systemand its social environment. The main attention is paid to what theoretical developments may constitute theconceptual framework of a modern model of civic education. The competence approach to civic education isgeneralized. This approach emphasizes the importance of matching the cognitive, emotional and behavioralcomponents of citizenship, as well as its effective implementation in the relationship of the citizen withthe public and political institutions. At the same time the perspective directions of civic education (civicengagement, rational behavior, the balance of interests of the state, society and the individual, et al.) aredetermined in view of “skills of the 21st century” (leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, individual responsibility, cooperation and curiosity). It is shown that many of these skills can be implemented indifferent socio-political contexts, as indicated by the examples of historical and today’s local and regionalexpertise. It is concluded that solution of the contradiction between “education and politics” is possiblein the framework of a broad approach to the definition of civic education. Civic education includes allprocesses that affect beliefs, obligations, opportunities and actions of people as members or prospective members of society. This definition implies eclecticism of civic education and reflects the interaction of the different social, cultural and political contexts. It is not so much the ideological content of a particular model of civic education that is important, as the development of knowledge, values, attitudes and skills that enable the individual to coordinate the cognitive, emotional and behavioral components of its relationship to society and the state.

Keywords: civic education; active citizenship; civic competence; politics; individual; state; society


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