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Politics In Russia: A Reader

by Joel Ostrow CQ Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 512 pages
AU$116.00 NZ$119.13
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Covering the major contours of any Russian politics course, and comprehensive enough to serve as a core text, this new reader includes sections from the Soviet political system and its collapse, to the debate about post-Communist transition and efforts toward political and economic reform. Ostrow’s choice of readings is guided by a central insight: To understand contemporary Russia, and to bring the study of Russian politics to life, students need to know that there are strongly competing interpretations of Russian politics past and present—and these interpretations are best represented by watershed examples of the voices in the debate.

A former journalist who worked in Russia, Ostrow’s substantial headnotes blend needed background with insights from his experience, to create a nuanced treatment of Russian politics.

1. An Introduction to the Soviet Political System
1.1 ''Introduction,'' from Soviet Politics, 1917-1991, Mary McCauley
1.2 ''Terror as a System of Power,'' Merle Fainsod
1.3 ''Soviet Stability and its Sources,'' Seweryn Bialer

2. The Collapse of the Soviet Union
2.1 ''What Was Socialism and Why Did it Fail?'' Katherine Verdery
2.2 ''Glasnost Gutted the Party, Democratization Destroyed the State,'' Joel M. Ostrow
2.3 ''Causes of the Collapse of the USSR,'' Alexander Dallin

3. Core Tasks for Postcommunist Russia
3.1.''Crucial Junctures and the Demise of Democracy in Russia,'' Joel M. Ostrow
3.2 ''The Democratization of Russia in Comparative Perspective,'' Zvi Gitleman
3.3 ''Ten Myths About Russia: Understanding and Dealing with Russia’s Complexity and Ambiguity,'' David Foglesong and Gordon Hahn

4. The Economy: Market Capitalism or Institutionalized Corruption?
4.1 ''A Normal Country: Russia after Communism,'' Andrei Shliefer and Daniel Triesman
4.2 ''The Triumph of Bureaucratic Capitalism,'' Lilia Shevtsova
4.3 Excerpts from ''Comrade Criminal'' and ''The Criminal State,'' Steven Handleman

5. The Executive and the Legislature
5.1 ''Liberal Technocrats as an Adornment of the State,'' Lilia Shevtsova
5.2 ''Inside the Putin Court: A Research Note,'' Olga Kryshtanovskaya and Stephen White
5.3 ''Majority Control and Executive Dominance: Parliament–President Relations in Putin's Russia,'' Paul Chaisty

6. Political Parties
6.1 ''Party Politics in Russia: From Competition to Hierarchy,'' Vladimir Gel’man
6.2 ''Political Opposition in Russia: A Dying Species?'' Vladimir Gel’man
6.3 ''Russia’s Client Party System,'' Stephen White
6.4 Selection from ''Symptoms of the Failure of Democracy in Russia,'' M. Steven Fish

7. Elections
7.1 Excerpts from “Corrupting the Elections: Enter the Oligarchs” and “Abandoning Democracy: Anointing a Successor,” Joel M. Ostrow
7.2 ''Russian Elections: An Oxymoron of Democracy,'' Misha Myagakov and Peter Ordeshook
7.3 Selection from ''Symptoms of the Failure of Democracy in Russia,'' M. Steven Fish

8. Nationalism and Chechnya
8.1 ''The Spectre of Russian Nationalism,'' Rafael Khachaturian
8.2 ''Chechnya: A Dirty War 1999-2002,'' Anna Politkovskaya
8.3 ''Conclusion: Nationalism as Political Posture,'' Marlene Laurelle

9. The Media
9.1 ''Dictatorship Becomes the Only Game in Town,'' Joel M. Ostrow
9.2 Selections from ''Symptoms of the Failure of Democracy in Russia,'' M. Steven Fish
9.3 ''Constrained or Irrelevant: The Media in Putin’s Russia,'' Masha Lipman
9.4 ''Russia: Why Do Journalists Die?'' Oleg Panfilov
9.5 ''Rebirth of Russian Nationalism: State Control of the Mass Media Is the Principal Cause Of the Growth of Xenophobia in Russia,'' Oleg Panfilov
9.6 ''Journalism of Intimidation,'' David Satter
9.7 ''All the News the Kremlin Thinks is Fit to Print,'' Dmitriy Sidorov

Joel M. Ostrow, Benedictine University