Russian Government and Politics

2nd edition

by Eric Shiraev

Updates to the first edition

On pages 228, 229, and 234, the book contains material about the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of the most successful entrepreneurs and the most famous Russian prisoner today. You can follow the new updates from the site organized by his supporters (and supporters of Platon Lebedev, Khodorkovsky's key associate):

On page 108 of the book, you find information about Russia's Federal Districts. There were seven of them before January, 2010. Now there are eight districts. President Dmitri Medvedev divided the Southern Federal District to create a new North Caucasus Federal District comprising six of the seven North Caucasus republics, plus Stavropol Krai. Adygeya, which is an enclave within Krasnodar Krai, remains part of the rump Southern Federal District, as does Kalmykia. Medvedev named former Krasnoyarsk governor Aleksandr Khloponin to head the new federal district, promoting him to the rank of deputy prime minister.

Map of the new district:

Yuri Luzhkov, powerful Mayor of Moscow is mentioned on pages 111 and 179. He was fired from his post in September 2010 by President Medvedev for a "loss of confidence" in Luzhkov's ability to remain in the job.

President Dmitry Medvedev summed up the public discussion of the draft law On the Police Force.

In March 2010 Russia eliminated two of its 11 time zones. Now Russia has 9. More manipulation of time zones appears likely.

Updates to Part I: Russia: Continuity and Change

Additions to Web Links

Russia's dwindling population could make it hard for Moscow to implement its economic and diplomatic agendas in the decades to come.

Russia will host the 2018 Football World Cup in 2018. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter announced the decision in 2010, giving Russia the right to host the world's biggest sporting event for the first time. Going into the vote, Russia was considered a slight favourite. The country made its presentation to FIFA's 22 executive committee members last, after the other 2018 finalists: Belgium/the Netherlands, Spain/Portugal and England.

An insightful new book by Dr. Vlad Zubok about the generation of Russian intellectuals who sought to cleanse socialism of its totalitarian past.

The Cold War is one of the strangest chapters in the long, bloody history of international conflict. For 45 years it drove the politics and devoured the resources of the United States and the USSR. Using this excellent resource on politics and history for classes and papers, you can browse topics, names, and events.

Updates to Part II: Institutions and Elections

Additions to Articles

Political Planning
Almost all Soviet economic plans and programs, whether with a projected range of five years or twenty, have failed to achieve their targets. However, there have been long-term political plans in Russia that have fared much better fate than economic programs. Read about President Putin's plans: Putin's Long-Term Plan: The Anatomy of Perfect Machiavellianism (by Dr. Vladimir Shlapentokh).

Additions to Web Links

President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin very rarely disagree with each other publically. In the spring of 2011 they took an exception of this rule and clashed – although briefly – over the unfolding military campaign in Libya.

Russia's police reform has started abandoning the Soviet term militsiya and is adopting the more universal name politsiya, or police. However, the subsequent universal re-attestation has raised a number of questions.

Russia is stepping up in its plans to protect intellectual property rights. A special new court will be established to deal with this issue. For years, Russia was criticized for the lack of enforcement in the fields of patent, trademark, and other intellectual property rights.

Russian President Medvedev sends his first tweet using Twitter during his visit to the United States.

Updates to Part III: Political Behaviour and Participation

Additions to Articles

Political Participation
Russia's future evolution will depend greatly on the status of the Russian intellectual community, particularly that of the cultural elite who are considered the cream of the intelligentsia. This intellectual community is comprised of people whose careers require creative abilities, such as scholars, writers, film directors, actors, journalists, and others who are engaged in non-traditional activities. In Russia, history has shown that, as a rule, the business class is much less likely to resist authoritarian power than intellectuals. Now Russia is going through a rare period in its history when the Russian cultural elite is not playing an active role as an oppositional political actor, and is not able to offer ideas for change in society.

Political Mobilization
Vladimir Putin provides us with an excellent example of a politician whose attitude towards ideology is instrumental to his political longevity. He has shown that in the fight between ideology and political expedience, (e.g., to maintain authority and control within the country, or to achieve geopolitical ambitions in the international arena), ideology will almost always lose the battle.

Additions to Web Links

Russia's leading Communist newspaper slams US president Barack Obama for his domestic and foreign policies.