Russian Government and Politics

2nd edition

by Eric Shiraev

Part III: Political behaviour and participation


Renown Russian-American sociologist and Michigan State University professor Vladimir Shlapentokh, who launched objective social polling in the Soviet Union, emigrated to the United States and later studied world attitudes toward the U.S. in the aftermath of 9/11, has written a letter to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) protesting against the mass firing of Radio Liberty Russian Service journalists and broadcasters at the station’s bureau in Moscow. Radio Liberty was reporting on sociological research not covered by the Kremlin-controlled state media in Russia. Professor Shlapetokh described Radio Liberty, along with a private Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy, as “the last bastions in the fight for vanishing freedom of speech in the country.”
Chapter: 9. Topic: the media in Russia.

Web links

Information sites in Russian

Opinion polls

  • The non-governmental organization, Levada Analytical Center (or Levada Center), was established in 2002. Today it is one of the largest full-service agencies carrying out public opinion and market research.
  • Since the launch of the Russian Federation in January, 1992, the CSPP has been conducting Barometer surveys monitoring mass response to transformation across Central and East Europe and the former Soviet Union.
  • The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) is the oldest and the leading marketing and opinion research company in the post-Soviet space.

Russian news

Political websites in opposition to the current government of the Russian Federation

Alexei Navalny: Russia's new rebel who has Vladimir Putin in his sights. The lawyer-turned-crusading democrat has a touch of the PM's populism that makes even some of his own supporters uneasy.
Chapter: 9. Topics: Populism, freedom of speech.

Russian opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny was accused by investigators of faking documents allowing him to work as an attorney.
Chapter: 9. Topics: freedom of speech, politics and the media.

Americans have a right to act stupid? Read how Russia’s Communist paper covers US policies.
Chapter: 7. Topic: political parties

Increasing reprisals against the human rights movement in Russia is compelling evidence of the fact that the government in place sees it as a dangerous adversary, says with confidence Oleg ORLOV, board member of International Memorial and member of the Council of the Memorial—a human rights center.
Chapter 9. Topics: political mobilization, censorship

Russia's New Vigilantes
Chapters: 7 and 9.
Topic: Nationalism How anti-immigrant passions are shaping Russia's political scene.

Practice questions

Chapter 7 - Political Parties

  • Which party had a monopoly on power in the Soviet Union? p.155
  • Describe the stages of the development of the multi-party system in Russia. p.157-58
  • Describe the differences between the Russian 'left' and 'right' political ideologies. p.159-60
  • Describe the differences between 'liberal' and 'conservative' political ideologies. p.160-61
  • What is the most powerful political party in Russia today? p.162
  • What are the main goals of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia? p.163-65
  • What are the main goals of the Communist Party of Russia? p.166-67
  • What is 'The Other Russia'? p.169
  • What is the authoritarian view of the Russian party system? p.171
  • What is populism? p.172

Chapter 8 - Presidential and Parliamentary Elections

  • When was the first Russian Duma elected? p.175
  • When did the first Duma elections take place after the disappearance
  • of the Soviet Union? p.176
  • Who were two main candidates in the 1996 presidential elections? p.181
  • When did president Yeltsin resign? p.182
  • Who was Putin at the time when Yeltsin resigned? p.182
  • How many presidential elections did Putin win from 1999 to 2010? p.182-83
  • What is the main source of funding of federal elections in Russia? p.185
  • What is the average presidential election turnout in Russia? p.185

Chapter 9 - Political Communications and Mobilization

  • What is political mobilization? p.190
  • What is gatekeeping in political communications? p.191
  • Which institution was in charge of the Soviet media? p.191
  • Who owns the post powerful Russian TV networks? p.194
  • What is agenda setting? p.194
  • What is the official paper of the Russian Communist Party today? p.196
  • Name the Kremlin's main strategies of political mobilization. p.200-02
  • Does the government allow muckraking in the Russian media? p.201
  • Who was Anna Politkovskaya? p.204
  • What is creative authoritarianism related to the media in Russia? p.209