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SPP 309

Author: Richard D. Anderson, Jr.
Description: Democracy in Russia arises from millions of people taking sides in choosing who governs. The resulting government is a very long way from the Dahlian ideal; it is not responsive to the people nor does it ensure civil liberties, and it is corrupt. But it is a lot different from the way Russia was governed a decade ago. This paper considers the abrupt shift from passivity to activism in political behaviour in Russia. Existing theories are inadequate because they focus on long-term socio-economic or cultural change, shifts in the behaviour of elites, or rational choice without regard to institutional settings. This paper proposes that the Russian upheaval came about because of a change in political discourse from a dichotomous discourse separating elite governors from the passive mass to a discourse in which the whole citizenry can be involved.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland