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

POLIS (Political Studies)

2016, No 02

Topic: Russian Political Science Reflection

 DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2016.02.00




Presenting this Issue. (p. 6-7)



Sungurov A.Yu.,Contemporary Russian Political Science Community – the First Steps to the Analysis (p. 8-20)

Abstract. In the article the history and features of the Russian political science community’s formation are analyzed. Apart from the milestones, the authors consider the main versions of the community’s emergence, as well as the phenomenon of community itself. In the course of the research the authors used various methods and sources: content analysis of information resources and documents of the professional organizations of political scientists of the Russian Federation, surveys and interviews of experts-political scientists and public servants. All this allowed not only to characterize the political science community by its features description, but also to reveal the existing development problems, considering regional political science schools’ development and functioning dynamics, as well as the role of political science community as an expert community in the state policy-making. The wide range of experts having taken part in surveys helped to describe the situation from various sides and to show a picture both from political scientists’ position and from high-ranked decision-makers’ viewpoint. In the conclusion of the article authors form conceptual conclusions which can be used by the professional organizations of the Russian community of political scientists to increase efficiency of their activity, develop regional political schools in the Russian Federation, and also produce constructive dialogue between the authorities and expert communities to improve quality of the decisions made and provide academia’s involvement in the research field. Authors emphasize that the present article is not exhaustive, and express their hope that other researchers will join the discussion on the role of political scientists’ professional community, which will considerably increase the quality of the research.

Keywords:political science; community of political scientists; Soviet and Russian experience; expert community

Malinova O.Yu.Rhetoric of Political Leaders as an Indicator of Significance of the Other: Comparative Analysis of References to the USA and PRC in the Context of Legitimization of Political Course of the Russian Presidents (2000-2015) (p. 21-37)

Abstract. The article starts with considering theoretical problems of the concept of the Other that points to the out-group in dialogical (co)relation with which the identity of the Self is constructed. This concept describes a fundamental and manifold phenomena that needs to be specified and classified. The author argues that a solution of theoretical issues about the figure of the Other lays in the field of empirical research. In particular, the issue of “significance” of the Other for constituting the Self could be decided only on the basis of systematic study of social practices that essentially rely on (co)relation with particular out-groups. Political rhetoric could be a good field for study of symbolic functions of the Other and factors that determine its significance. Shared representations of the Other are not only an important element of identity construction but also an instrument of the symbolic politics, i.e. public activity aimed at production and dissemination / intrusion of competing visions of social reality. The article demonstrates how a study of patterns of representation of particular macro political communities allows to assess their relative“ significance”. Basing on theoretical insights from the literature the author proposes a research method that includes manual coding of the frames of representation of the Other in the context of legitimization of political course with subsequent counting of their frequency added by discourse analysis of each group of frames. This method is tried on the case of comparative analysis of frames of representation of the American and Chinese Others in the rhetoric of the presidents of the Russian Federation (from 2000 to 2015).

Keywords: Significant Other; macro political identity; symbolic politics; political rhetoric; frame; mixed methods; image of the USA; image of China



Simonia N.A., Torkunov A.V. The Impact of Geopolitical Factors on International Energy Markets (the US Case) (p. 38-48)

Abstract. Using the U.S. oil and gas industry as a salient example, the authors provide a thorough and detailed analysis of world energy markets. They prove that faith in the universality of the regulatory functions of the market is clearly exaggerated. The Obama Administration has decided to halt (at least partially) the process of de-industrialization and thus reduce the mounting unemployment, stubbornly sticking to a rather particular method of re-industrialization – so-called “shale gas revolution.”However, the trends of the past year and a half cast doubt on the ability of U.S. businesses to increase exports of shale liquid natural gas (LNG), in 2016‑2017, due to the lack of profitability of this kind of energy resource. The article argues that the term “revolution” looks like a PR campaign, designed for consumption by the general population, and, most importantly, targeted at competitors. It lacks any significant feature of a “revolution”: neither an original product but the same methane and oil, nor any qualitative breakthroughs in mining techniques. Based on American sources the article discusses in some detail the technical features of the sector, and points to some negative aspects of this “shale bubble.” The authors argue that Obama was bluffing in saying that the United States was ready to supply Europe with a significant quantity of shale gas. Advocates of U.S. hegemony, in the opinion of the researchers, would like to use the decline in oil prices as an instrument of pressure on Russia. They favor a quick return to the situation of the 1990s. This turn of events would make concessions to Moscow unnecessary, as, according to Washington’s plans, Russia would become so weak that Washington could easily bargain on major political issues on its own terms. The shining image of the United States, until recently the undisputed world leader, has faded, and the nation has turned into the world’s biggest debtor stooping under the weight of all conceivable deficits. Washington apparently overlooked the obvious fact that globalization and the use of energy prices as an economic weapon can hit back like a boomerang. Currently, the main factor affecting pricing in the global energy industry, the authors argue, is geopolitics, and the main “volcano” of turbulence on world markets is the United States of America.

Keywords: oil; gas; energy; geopolitics; the US “shale revolution”; liquid natural gas; LNG

Arbatov A.G. It Did Not Work and Will Not Work? On the Reasons of the Failure of Anti-Missile Cooperation Between Russia and the United States (p. 49-61)

Abstract. Joint ballistic missile defense (BMD) means that one party puts saving the lives of millions of its citizens at the mercy of political commitment and the effectiveness of technical systems of the other. Such interdependence implies nothing but close allied relations, which should cover not only the sphere of missile defense, but the key directions of military and foreign policy. Russia and the United States do not have such a relationship, and in the foreseeable future it is unlikely to emerge. Perhaps, in the past, there was a widely accepted and quite naive belief that by the technical solutions for the integration of certain elements of BMD systems it would be possible to circumvent these fundamental military-political realities of the relations between the two powers. After many attempts to establish BMD cooperation in 2002‑2011,it became apparent that the whole idea was premature, and from the point of view of today’s realities somewhat utopian. Even a partial integration of some elements of the BMD systems implies common understanding of the origins, characteristics of missile attack risks, and their azimuths. The U.S. openly designs its anti-missile system against Iran, North Korea, and, unofficially, perhaps against China. Russia has never officially recognized the threats to its security from these countries. With regard to the BMD systems, Russia’s concern about the U.S./NATO program might be alleviated, among other things, by agreeing on confidence-building measures. Such agreements and defense programs adjustments would create preconditions for cooperation in some BMD elements, and later, for the integration of Russia’s and the U.S. defense systems as a whole. However, the revival of cooperative anti-missile elements and systems involves much more. It implies a deep revision of relations between Russia and the United States and its allies, which requires significant changes in the foreign and security policies of both parties. All of this goes far beyond relations between Moscow and Washington in the sphere of anti-missile defense – as important and complex as it is. And this problem of higher order, undoubtedly, is much more important for the future of Russia and of the rest of the world. 

Keywords: Russia; USА, international security; missile defense; ABM; cooperation

Pankevich N.V. Local Self-Government Within the State Governance (p. 62-77)

Abstract. The article studies the problem of the local self-government autonomy as regards its controversial political status as being conceived traditionally as being simultaneously included and excluded from state governance system. It is posited that in existent structural conditions that are enforced by state territorial principle of polities making autonomy of local self-government is elusive and states that it can be realized in alternative institutional environment connected with transnational deterritorialization of social processes. The article demonstrates two emerging possibilities of local government evolution. The first alternative is connected with creating other structural environment than the state – an urban network and leads to further autonomization. And the second is the trend to a deeper integration to the state structural order with losing the need for institutional autonomy. Any of these alternatives means that a marginal status of included/excluded institution will be lost. Today we face the process of differentiation of local political unities between two structural poles and this in turn makes it possible to discuss a new emergent field of politics for defining the form of aggregating the territory, political community and power apparatus. States and urban networks represent evolution alternatives and thus the distribution of local units can be conceived as a strategy in competitive process of institutional transformation.

Keywords: local self-government; autonomy; megapolis; network; state; territoriality; political form

Kochetkov A.P. Some Features of Civil Society Development in Asia (p. 78-89)

Abstract. The article discusses historical, socio-cultural features, and the complexity of the formation of civil society in the countries of Asia, for example India, Japan, China, the most important and significant countries of the Asian continent. Focusing on a number of similarities in the development of civil society in these countries, in general, inherent in the model of civil society, the author pays special attention to specific features of development of civil society of each of them. As the present study illustrates, the Western values are embedded into the value systems of several Asian countries, and this introduction of democratic values in Eastern culture has an impact on the adaptation of existing forms of relations between individuals and the authorities to the changing conditions associated with the rights and freedoms of individual, increasing the accountability of the authorities vis-à-vis an individual or society. The analysis of the genesis of civil society in India, Japan, and China clearly demonstrates a number of traits, in general, inherent in the model of civil society. In these countries, the shaping of civil society constitutes an extensive network of various non-governmental organizations. The activities of these organizations, whether the environmental movement in Japan, or numerous voluntary “grassroots” organizations in India are targeted at the protection of human rights, at tackling important social problems, promote social inclusion of the vast array of the population. However, according to the author, unlike Western countries, the basis of civil society in India, Japan, and China is not a self-organizing individual but a personality, motivated by interest. Due to the lack of a strong democratic tradition in the history of these countries, the role of interconnection between the civil society and the state is great, and the state enjoys a significant impact on its formation and development, and sometimes trying, as in China, to put this process under control.

Keywords: civil society; state; civil culture; democracy; non-governmental organizations; self-government; personality; India; Japan; China; civil society in Asia



Solovyov A.I.The State as Manufacturer of Policy (p. 90-108)

Abstract. The article describes the substantive and procedural grounds for the state as a specific political actor. In this context, the author describes the sources and mechanisms of state politicization, institutionalization of appropriate methods of power application, the structural organization of the political sphere, influencing the communication of the elite and society, as well as specific forms of definition of activities of public authorities. In this context, public policy is regarded as the main form of activity of a ruling mode, connecting the ideas of the ruling class with the interests of non-elite segments of the population; defined are criteria of social orientation of state policy, showing the reasons of conflict between the plans and forms of their practical implementation.

Keywords: government; policy; politics; public policy; public benefit; the ruling regime; political-administrative networks; symbolic politics; the distribution of public resources

Satarov G.A.Trust as an Object of Political Sociology. Part II (p. 109-130)

Abstract. In the second part of the article the author presents one of the implementations of his approach to analysis of public survey data, namely the statistical technique and results of its application, the necessity of which is proved in the first part of the article. The object of the statistical analysis is a network of nodes which represent the nominal values of sociological variables, and the links between nodes are statistically significant dependencies between the values of the variables, represented by the values of standardized residuals in the cells of the contingency tables. We study the local properties of such network in the nodes, which are variants of answers to similar questions about the trust in the four public institutions, given during the polls conducted on the representative nationwide samplings in 1998, 2001 and 2015. It is shown that the various characteristics that reflect of the centrality these nodes carry important information about the state of public opinion. The author demonstrates a qualitative change in the state of public opinion during the study period. It is shown that such changes are not homogeneous, but rather depend on the objects that are measured by the public opinion. The author substantiates the dependence of these changes on the state of the political system and society, and suggests a hypothesis, according to which, in some cases, the standard simple approaches to the analysis of the results of public survey data cannot provide relevant results, interpretable in a simple and familiar way.

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

Patrushev S.V.,Mass Politics: Essay of Institutional Reconceptualization (p. 131-151)

Abstract. In the article the authors attempt to re-conceptualize the idea of “mass politics” that is necessary for a more adequate understanding of the causes, factors and characteristics of growing mass political activity in Russia and around the world. Mass politics is viewed as the processes, which take place within the institutional space of mobilization, representation, participation and action. It is proposed to differentiate types of mass politics according to a distinction between concepts of “mass politics”, “politics of citizens”, and “politics of multitude”. The criteria used to categorize specific forms of mass activity are selected. The politics of citizens is defined by its’ participants orientation towards fulfillment of their citizen rights and freedoms, or towards fight for a provision / extension / practicing thereof. The individuals getting into the politics of masses, are in their pre-civil, pre-legal condition, they essentially dismantle (modern) politics. The politics of multitude is practiced in an extra-state space of freedom and equality, where an individual is fulfilling human rights. Taking S. Rokkan’s models of institutionalization and cleavages as a starting point, the authors elaborate a model which describes the foundations of mass mobilization and institutionalization of mass politics; they list a number of parameters which have to be analyzed to estimate the possibility of development of the politics of citizens, or of the politics of masses. Some of these parameters are verified using data from the mass survey conducted in the summer of 2014.It is demonstrated that in Russia there are preconditions for the emergence both of the politics of masses and of the politics of citizens. The survey data indicate some risks of individuals’ transforming into a mass; at the same time, there are groups of respondents who have to some extent mastered the citizens’ roles. Formation of a civic identity – empowerment – is a key condition for a democratic transformation of the political regime in Russia.

Keywords: masses; citizens; multitude; types of mass politics; political representation; political mobilization; political participation; political action; democracy; re-politization; Stein Rokkan; institutional model; identity; cleavages; empowerment



Linetsky A.I.Economic Development Impact of Political Institutions: a Mechanism of Influence (p. 152-170)

Abstract. Political institutions historically formed up in a country and being out of the government control may produce a great economic development impact. We argue that an impersonal gear of this impact consists of two inseparable parts: 1) compulsory (predatory) withdrawing of resources and goods from one part of people of a country and 2) arbitrary transferring them to another part of people. The two main features describe this off-market re-distribution process: the total volume of predatory withdrawing and the mode of allocation of its results to the main directions of use. The political system of certain type maintains predatory with drawing and allocation of its results by its own way. The state with hierarchic political system and political groups standing behind this state withdraw so much predatory rent and use it in such a way that it gives no chance for market economic institutions to get full and proper development. At the same time the command economic institutions flourish here, and the national economics becomes a central planning husbandry. The state with political system based on law and on human rights compulsory withdraw a certain volume of resources and goods with the single aim only: to create a full-developed market economic institutions and, hence, to secure supremacy of market in the national economics. Democracy based on universal suffrage plays a very special role in the process: it rather suppresses market institutions development than supports it.

Keywords: political and economic institutions; hierarchic political system; political system based on law and on human rights; democracy; off-market redistribution of resources and goods; political rent; predatory rent; economic growth; sustainable economic development



The Council of the State Duma: Real Veto Player or a Technical Executive? (p. 171-183)

Abstract. The implications of the Crimea becoming part of the Russian Federation are multifaceted; first of all, they can be seen in the political sphere. In order to legitimize the accession process, the powers of most political actors were mobilized, especially the ones of the institutional and partisan veto players, whose agreement is necessary for a change of the legislative status quo. Necessity to respond rapidly to the Crimean event was the cause of the emergence of political functions of the Council of the State Duma – the internal institutional structure, which used to be responsible only for organizational work of the lower house of the parliament. The subsequent formal confirmation of such functions is the reason to assume that Russia has a new veto-player. To understand the actual role of the Council of the State Duma in the legislative process, the author has analyzed its powers and considered qualitative and quantitative indicators which influence the agenda and legislative initiatives. The results show that the Council of the State Duma is a strong technical structure characterized by political composition and limited political opportunities.

Keywords: veto players; legislative process; legislative status quo; parliament; political institutions; political parties; the Council of State Duma; agenda setting



Gaman-Golutvina O.V.Integration Processes in the Focus of Andrey Baykov’s Research (p. 184-191)

Abstract. The author of the article considers the study of the integration problems in Russian political science. In early 21st century, integration has turned into a global trend: having acquired the status of a significant tendency, since the middle of the 20th century (marked by the success of, first, economic, and, then, political and managerial consolidation in Europe), this process has subsequently embraced different regions of the world. The strengthening of integration that started in some regions (overseas Europe, Asia, the Americas, and others) and in some periods, occurred almost simultaneously with the processes of decay in other regions (the USSR). A significant expansion of the area of integration at the beginning of the 21stcentury has emphasized the urgent need for understanding of this phenomenon, and it’s really happening; so far abundant and diverse literature has appeared. A characteristic feature of this literature is that until early21st century, the study focused mostly on European experience, which is often seen by default as a normative model. Awareness of the limits of this approach has stimulated the desire to move beyond the borders of the EU experience. In Russian literature, this direction has been actively and successfully developed by A. Baykov, whose works mark the promotion of the general theory of integration.

Keywords: integration; Andrey Baykov; convergence; regionalization; regionalism; comparative analysis