A large amount of the controversy surrounding the definition of Russia’s political system originates arises from the deep-seated impact that Soviet Union had on the countries and the rest of the world. From the disintegration of the Soviet Union after the Cold War, Russia has had numerous difficulties in their quest to develop a stable and working political system. This conclusion was reached after the seven decades in which the Soviet Union exercised power over their territory, and which triggered conflicting opinions concerning the political structure to be adopted in the country. For example, authoritative officials working in the executive and legislative arms emphasized divergent views concerning Russia’s political course, as well as the governmental policies that should accompany the particular direction. From this statement, it is obvious that the Russian political system was marred with chaos and conflict owing to the powerful influence originating from the Soviet Union rule over the seven decades. However, with the formulation of an original constitution and the implementation of a democratic disposition, it is clear that Russia is negotiating towards a liberal approach regarding its political system.
Describing Russia’s political system can prove to be a difficult task especially when analyzed against the backdrop of the present-day European political affairs. After a long stretch of far-reaching administration under the Soviet communist, most of the political stakeholders and academics that were concerned with the state of Russia’s chaos defined it as an “oligarchy with a monopolistic state’ (Hancock, 2012, p.416). However, other analysts and publishers others have defined the political system as a ‘nomenklatura democracy’ that left the civilians in a powerless situation characterized by little influence over the status quo. Nevertheless, Russia’s political system exhibited an incorporation of an authoritarian and a democratic system. To that extent, Russia’s political system can roughly qualify as a federal presidential republic. The underlying principle behind this description of the Russian political system comes from the authority awarded to the president when the 1993 Constitution came into place after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The creation of the Russian federation prompted the need to abandon communism and implement approaches that were more democratic.
It was mentioned earlier that the Russian political system was hybrid in nature. To that extent, it contained aspects of authoritative leadership that originated from the ultimate authority awarded to the president in the system. After intensive constitutional amendment, the powers entrusted in the President failed to represent a laissez-faire system. In Russia’s political system, the President enjoys extensive authority vis-à-vis the public announcement of verdicts and directives. In addition, such verdicts and directives carry with them the legislative legitimacy that overrides any lawmaking reviews that would legally render the mandates unconstitutional as they contravened most legislation that were already in place (Hancock, 2012). Vladimir Putin exploited this authoritative element of Russia’s political dispensation to introduce and maintain considerable influence over the achievement and execution of power in Russia. While not exactly helpful, the constitution introduced an element of democracy by barring any president for running for office for more than six terms. This clause provided an opportunity for the Russian people to choose their preferred head of state.
The circulation of power within the Kremlin was another significant challenge towards realizing a high degree of democracy in Russia. The Kremlin occupies the innermost circle of power and controls the administration by exercising a supreme democracy. Consequently, the element of liberalism is lacking within the system because of their significant authority focused within the Kremlin. Focusing power and authority in a few positions and individuals promotes elements of centralization given that the important type of authority lies with the Kremlin. Although the course headed for liberal democracy is sluggish, it is a step up from the dictatorship system common in the Soviet Union government. One of the noteworthy transformations within Russia that served to accelerate the democratization process was the adoption of a capitalist mode. Previously, the Soviet Union had implemented a strong tradition of communism in all its regions. However, after the disintegration, the financial and trade limitations typical of communism were discarded.
After the end of the Cold War, economic reforms and trade liberalization took center stage in most global forums. In a stroke of good fortune, the decline of the Soviet Union conjured an opportunity for Russia to engage in the transport, trade and exchange of workforces, assets and products across national borders. The promotion of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) with other countries in Europe, Africa and Asia exposed Russia to different global forces such global institutions (World Bank, United Nations and IMF) as well as different aspects of globalization (Hancock, 2012). The combined effort of these two main forces served to shape the face of Russia’s political system drastically by introducing advanced features of democracy. IMF and World Bank achieved this feat by pegging extensive political reforms to their monetary aid, which Russia received to help in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.
In concluding, the disintegration of the Soviet Union was a significant event in the political system within Europe. By shifting the Russia’s power base from a communist republic to a presidential system, the journey towards democracy had gradually started. Furthermore, the influence of global actors such as international organizations, individual leaders and globalization served to accelerate the democratization process in Russia.
Hancock, M. D. (2012). Politics in Europe. Washington, D.C: CQ Press.