Reforms to Russia’s party system haven’t worked as intended
The new law on parties preserves old approaches to party-building, failing to push pseudo-parties towards uniting on the basis of real social interests, and even generating political schemes that further discredited the idea of a multi-party system.Reforms to Russia’s party system were intended to make the political class more active. What have we received in reality?
The new law on parties preserves old approaches to party-building, failing to push pseudo-parties towards uniting on the basis of real social interests, and even generating political schemes that further discredited the idea of a multi-party system.
The party-political situation in Russia acquired an absurd and destructive nature. Three lines actually dominate the political stage. They call themselves democratic, patriotic and centrist. However, these lines have nothing to do with representation of real social interests, discredit the party system in general and create preconditions for unlimited growth of social tension in all groups of Russia’s society.
Newly established and already active party structures that claim the role of segments of United Russia are oriented mostly at two goals: provision of access to bureaucratic offices and possibility of substantiation and further spending of huge budgets formed for party building on money of sponsors allocated under political and bureaucratic pressure (“political pyramids”). These structures have nothing to do with providing a feedback channel between President Putin and the majority of citizens who still support him. Moreover, the devastating victory of United Russia at parliamentary elections of 2003 planted a time-bomb beneath the whole system of relations between the President and the society.
Instead of helping the President to have real support of the people and helping majority of the voters to have active influence on the presidential policy in the interests of this majority United Russia became a rigid bureaucratic barrier between the President and the people. Policy of United Russia actually left the pro-presidential majority without representation of interests dooming it for growing discontent and loss of confidence not as much in the “party of power” as in the real authorities, that is in its top-ranking person – the President.
The group of economically active and educated population of the country oriented at liberal democratic modernization of Russia is left without political representation too. After the failure at the parliamentary elections the “democratic” parties – the Union of Right Forces (URF) and Yabloko – focused all efforts on confirmation of the achieved result, that is at transformation of a defeat into a devastation.
Their marginalization, inability to master new realities, and their increasingly-obsessive anti-Putin rhetoric are devastating Russia’s political vocabulary and and encouraging ordinary voters to assume that supporting civil society and democracy is the same as being against a strong state and pro-surrender in foreign affairs; given the West’s increasing political aggression towards Russia, this becomes equivalent to a collaborationist and anti-Russian stance.
On the other hand, the party ideological projects that try to oppose a different system of values to the “liberals-Westerners” have an increasingly growing disgusting nature and are accumulating representatives of the most rigid and aggressive xenophobic movements.
The “patriots” are actively making advances, on the one hand, to notorious revenge-seeking anti-Semitic and nationalist-socialist movements and, on the other hand, are virtually playing up to the “democrats” opposing the idea of statehood and power to the idea of democratic civil society. The “patriotic” stance is discredited in this flank and is becoming a synonym of reactionary, anti-humane and anti-intellectual stance.
As a result, instead of interaction and mutual strengthening of the civil and statehood lines their irreconcilable opposition is imposed on Russia.
It turns out that “civil” turns into a synonym of “anti-statehood” and “statehood” turns into a synonym of “anti-democratic.”
Instead of offering Russia a project of harmonization of relations between the citizen and the state the acting ideologists, despite their impotence and defectiveness, succeed in making the gap between the citizen and the state triumphant forever in Russia. No matter if this goal is achieved through establishment of an anti-democratic dictatorship regime or through entrusting of the country to external management through an “orange” scheme because in any case it is achieved through the final destruction of the Russian civilization project.
Unfortunately, this is not a new but an old bad Russian trend.
Communists together with heirs of the democratic extremists feel quite comfortable in various “civil committees” sponsored by internal and external enemies of Russia and ideologists of the “party of power” get united with the most notorious revenge-seekers into a kind of new “patriotic extremist” movement incapable of accumulation of really efficient intellectual forces and formation of modern and attractive model of development around which it would be possible to unite progressive groups of the Russian society.
The situation is worsened by the fact that in absence of all mechanisms of interaction between the authorities and society, even those that existed in Yeltsin’s epoch, the policy of the authorities and the policy of the President is becoming obviously reactionary. This is a policy of reaction to external challenges and initiatives. This is a protective and defensive policy. This is a retreating policy in circumstances of frontal assault on national interests of Russia.
The party-political, ideological and public-state system in Russia acts so that it has no mechanisms for facilitation of two most important processes: the process of national building (which is formation of harmonious interaction between the state and the citizen) and the process of national progress (for which a mandatory condition is when the nation exists and understands its national goals, plans and tasks).
The existing system dooms Russian authorities for a reaction, weak and self-destructive policy and the Russian nation, which is not fully born, for a fatal abortion.
In the geopolitical situation, which grew evident in the last year, all this may simply lead to collapse of the Russian project. Moreover so that large external forces standing behind the “Ukrainian orange coup” and other anti-Russian actions in the CIS obviously outlined destruction of Russia as a project as a deliberate and practical goal of their policy.
This is a shortsighted and lethal policy. It “exposes” the West to a hit of the forces that are really hostile to it and it destroys the new international geopolitical conglomerate started by Putin in 2001. What is the most important, it is working against the powerful and promising trends outlined due to the new horizons opened by the Russia’s modernization.
This way or the other, there is no party of national progress in Russia. There is only a false choice between the collaborationists and ultra nationalists left for the people. In reality this is a tangle of egoistic, unprofessional and reactionary ambitions of the “anti-democratic patriots” with “anti-patriotic democrats” in the uniform anti-Russian subversive activity.