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Interpreting change

This book focuses on the Western difficulties in interpreting Russia. It begins with by reflecting on some of the problems that are set in the foundations of Russia's post-Cold War relationship with the West. The book points to problems that emerge from linguistic and historical 'interpretation'. It looks at the impact of Russia's decline as a political priority for the West since the end of the Cold War and the practical impact this has had. It then reflects on the rising influence, especially, but not only, in public policy and media circles, of 'transitionology' as the main lens through which developments in Russia were interpreted. The book then examines the evolution of the West's relationship with Russia since the end of the Cold War, focusing particularly on the NATO-Russia relationship. It focuses on the chronological development of relations and the emergence of strategic dissonance from 2003. The book also looks at Russian domestic politics, particularly the Western belief in and search for a particular kind of change in Russia, a transition to democracy. It continues the exploration of domestic politics, but turns to address the theme of 'Putinology', the focus on Putin as the central figure in Russian politics.

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Deciphering power in Russia

the wider Russian political landscape, whether from the population or from the political elite, or both. This has evolved into a heightened focus on the personalised nature of Russian power, and it has provided a platform for much speculation about the increasing narrowness of Putin’s advisory circle, the inherent instability of ‘Putin’s’ system and consequently (again) about the Putin era coming to

in The new politics of Russia

with status as federal subjects). The federal subjects vary widely with respect to both population and territory. Whereas the autonomous areas comprise more than 50 per cent of the federation’s territory, they contain only 18 per cent of its population. The most controversial issue of Russian politics during the years 1992–93 was the elaboration of a new federal constitution. The primary controversy ran along the basic fault lines in Russian politics: the division of power between the President and the Parliament, and between federal authorities and the regions. The

in Implementing international environmental agreements in Russia
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The state of surprise

Russia. The situation in academia is similar. Peter Rutland, a professor of government and long-term Russia specialist, has noted that only three of eight Ivy League universities have appointed a tenured professor in Russian politics since the collapse of the USSR, and none have appointed any in economics or sociology. In Germany there are only three professors of Russian politics, and one each in Russian

in The new politics of Russia

(finally) of the urban middle class as a revitalising force in Russian political life after the ‘de-democratisation’ of Vladimir Putin’s second term as president and the disappointments of Dmitri Medvedev’s term. The almost unanimous enthusiasm the protests generated in the mainstream Western discussion led to the emergence of an expert orthodoxy that they represented the beginning of the end of the Putin

in The new politics of Russia
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environment were in a dire state when the Union was dissolved in 1991. Several of these problems, in particular air pollution and the danger of nuclear radiation, are of a transboundary character and of such gravity that they pose serious threats to the outside world.6 Moreover, post-Soviet Russian politics have more than anything been characterised by chaos and unpredictability; all the more interesting is it then to see whether relatively stable policy patterns can be found across various cases in Russian environmental politics. Finally, although there has been a certain

in Implementing international environmental agreements in Russia
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Reinterpreting Russia in the twenty-first century

, echoes loud today in the approach to Russian politics. The result, now, as then, leads both more to emotionally exaggerated fiction than sober analysis, 10 and to the wrong frames of reference for the bases of Russian thinking, politics and policy. The war in Ukraine has only heightened this sense of partisanship and the static nature of the debate about Russia in entrenched positions

in The new politics of Russia
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1990s, its record of implementation efforts during the same period is correspondingly poor. Table 7.1 gives an overview of the most important actors in the Russian implementation of international commitments in fisheries management, nuclear safety and air pollution control. The relative strength of the agencies at the various levels is discussed in the next section. Lessons In Chapter 1, we set out the book’s dual aim: to contribute to the literature on Russian politics, in particular by providing specifics on centre–region relations, and to make our findings

in Implementing international environmental agreements in Russia
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build on and extend many of Dahl’s original eight preconditions for polyarchy: 1) The popular election of the parliament or legislature and the head of government; 2) Open and accountable government, and the continuous FAD1 10/17/2002 5:40 PM Page 4 4 Federalism and democratisation in Russia political, legal, and financial accountability of government directly, to the electorate; 3) Guaranteed civil and political rights or liberties: freedoms of speech, association, assembly and movement, and the right to due legal process; 4) A lively civil society.24

in Federalism and democratisation in Russia
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‘We’ve moved on’

whispers about the informal and obscure aspects of Russian political life. The resulting commentary is often dramatised and hyperbolic – and misleading – and, taken all together, the smoke and noise from the bombardments and speculation obscure our vision of already complex and difficult to understand developments in Russia. Partly as a result of these problems, much Western

in The new politics of Russia