Affirmative section consultation and cooperation through dialogue networks



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The situation is really Serious, the paper notes, because no one seems to know how to remedy it. Even the IMF which, unfortunately, missed the crisis on the Asian financial markets, is at a loss unable to offer a way-out of the sudden budget problem in Russia.


RUSSIAN BANKING SYSTEM IS ON THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE
Victor Sergeyev, Moscow State Institute for International Relations, 1998; THE WILD EAST: Crime and lawlessness in post-communist Russia, p. 129 // acs-VT99

Despite an unprecedented growth in the number of banks and the amount of capital, Russia's banking system is still very vulnerable and subject to serious crises. The reasons for this are many, including poor legislative support of its functioning, lowquality management, the limited number of services offered, and the prevailing orientation toward "revolving" state-supplied money rather than toward rendering services to real people or even enterprises.


RUSSIA'S NEW CAPITALISTS HAVE MADE A MOCKERY OF THE SUPPOSED TRANSITION TO A FREE ECONOMY
Bertram Silverman & Murray Yanowitch, Profs. of Economics Hofstra Univ., 1997; NEW RICH, NEW POOR, NEW RUSSIA: Winners and losers on the Russian road to capitalism, p. 127, acs-VT99

At the beginning of this chapter we posed the question whether the new economic elite is living up to the expectations of free market reformers. The answer seems clear. Thus far, the evidence suggests that Russia's new capitalists have yet to follow patterns of behavior that inform some of the basic assumptions of the free market theory of privatization. History, culture, and institutional constraints continue to undermine radical reformers' assumptions about capitalist behavior.


RUSSIAN ECONOMIC DISASTER IS CREATING MORE POOR AND THEN KILLING THEM
RUSSIAN ECONOMIC PROBLEMS HAVE CAUSED A RAPIDLY RISING DEATH RATE -- UP 40% SINCE 1990
Bertram Silverman & Murray Yanowitch, Profs. of Economics Hofstra Univ., 1997; NEW RICH, NEW POOR, NEW RUSSIA: Winners and losers on the Russian road to capitalism, p. 137-138 , acs-VT99

Radical economic reform in Russia has paid little attention to the positive principles of freedom. The focus on financial stabilization and rapid privatization has undermined living standards and increased inequality and insecurity. Inflation has finally diminished, but the cost has been a continuing decline in both aggregate production and real wages, which are now more than 50 percent below their pre-reform levels. As we noted in Chapter 2, financial constraints have reduced spending on health and social services. Partly as a result, the number of deaths increased by approximately 40 percent between 1990 and 1995, a total rise of almost 1,700,000 people.


UNLESS RUSSIAN ECONOMY IMPROVES IN TERMS OF INCOME DISTRIBUTION A HUGE SPECTER OF POVERTY LOOMS
Bertram Silverman & Murray Yanowitch, Profs. of Economics Hofstra Univ., 1997; NEW RICH, NEW POOR, NEW RUSSIA: Winners and losers on the Russian road to capitalism, p. 55 , acs-VT99

Nevertheless, some apprehension may be called for. If it takes too much longer for Russia to emerge from its profound economic depression, the welfare of the poor will continue to deteriorate and a significant percentage of Russia's young people will not have escaped the social deprivation associated with poverty. Nor is the resumption of economic growth by itself a solution to the problems of the poor. As we have suggested, one of the major causes of poverty in Russia has been the growth in inequality. Therefore, social and economic policies to reduce income inequality and to repair the broken social safety net are also necessary.


ECONOMIC GROWTH AND POLICY RESULTS
FOCUS ON ECONOMIC CONCERNS HAS NOT MADE WAR LESS LIKELY
George Will, Washington Post Writers Group, The Chattanooga Times, May 26, 1998, Pg. A4, HEADLINE: Arms control fantasies acs-VT99

In On the Origins of War, Donald Kagan, the Yale historian and classicist, notes that one current theory of war's obsolescence holds that free markets and the communications revolution have sublimated aggressive energies in commercial relations that are too valuable to disrupt by violence. But, Kagan notes, "over the past two centuries the only thing more common than predictions about the end of war has been war itself."


HOW ECONOMIC TROUBLES IN ONE PART OF THE WORLD EFFECT OTHER PARTS IS UNKNOWN AND UNSTUDIED
DAVID E. SANGER, The New York Times, June 3, 1998, Section A; Page 10; HEADLINE: Central Europe May Catch Russia's Cold, U.S. Warns, acs-VT99

At the heart of that issue -- and of Mr. Rubin's comments today -- is the question of how economic troubles in one part of the world worsen troubles elsewhere, a little-studied subject that has suddenly become a top challenge in foreign policy.


THE SOVIET ECONOMY DIDN’T FAIL, IT WAS SABOTAGED FROM WITHIN BY GREEDY ELITES
Stanislav Menshikov, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Monthly Review, October, 1997; Pg. 49; HEADLINE: Revolution from Above: The Demise of the Soviet System; acs-VT99

This book is an eye-opener for anyone who is tired of the prevailing wisdom about today's Russia. As Kotz and Weir convincingly show, the Soviet economy did not fall apart by its own momentum. It was intentionally destroyed by members of its own elite who became increasingly anti-Communist and procapitalist. It was not a revolution from below since the popular majority still favored socialism, in spite of its many flaws. It was a "revolution," or rather counter-revolution from above led by Boris Yeltsin and the elitist coalition that supported him.


DEFINING DEMOCRACY
DEMOCRACY CAN BE DEFINED IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS, IT IS NOT A NORMATIVE STANDARD
Bruce Parrott, Prof. Russian & East European Studies at Johns Hopkins Univ., 1997; DEMOCRATIC CHANGES AND AUTHORITARIAN REACTIONS IN RUSSIA, UKRAINE, BELARUS, AND MOLDOVA, p. 4 , acs-VT99

Because the general notion of democracy has been interpreted in many different ways, it is essential to begin by discussing some of these variations and their implications for the study of postcommunist countries. After all, during their heyday Marxist-Leninist regimes claimed to be quintessential ly democratic and ridiculed the "bourgeois" democracies found in other parts of the world. More to the point, proponents of liberal democracy have long disagreed among themselves about which institutional arrangements constitute the essence of a democratic system. Equally significant, some admirers of the advanced industrial democracies prefer to call such systems "polyarchies" and to treat democracy as a set of normative standards against which all political systems must be measured, in order not to gloss over the serious defects of contemporary liberal polities."


NEO-LIBERALISM AND POLYARCHY ARE THE TRUE WORLD SYSTEMS, NOT CAPITALISM AND DEMOCRACY
John Bellamy Foster, Monthly Review, September, 1997; Pg. 51; HEADLINE: Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, U.S. Intervention, and Hegemony acs-VT99

Neoliberalism is usually thought of as a purely economic philosophy, stemming from the work of the arch-conservative economist Friedrich Hayek and other twentieth century economists (particularly those associated with the University of Chicago), and involving an attempt to construct a much more complete justification for a pure, self-regulating market economy than could be found in the work of Adam Smith himself. Yet, neoliberalism - it is important to understand - also has its political component in the dominant model of liberal democracy, termed "polyarchy" by one of its leading proponents, Robert Dahl.


RUSSIA WILL SUCCEED IN MAKING THE TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY
MANY SCHOLARS BELIEVE THAT RUSSIA CAN MAKE A TRANSITION INTO DEMOCRACY FOR MANY REASONS
Bruce Parrott, Prof. Russian & East European Studies at Johns Hopkins Univ., 1997; DEMOCRATIC CHANGES AND AUTHORITARIAN REACTIONS IN RUSSIA, UKRAINE, BELARUS, AND MOLDOVA, p. 24 , acs-VT99

Other scholars have taken a different approach that stresses the compatibility of postcommunist political culture with democratization in many countries. Research along these lines has revealed that major West European democracies and some East European countries show broad if incomplete similarities in political culture - and that some East European citizens exhibit greater acceptance of the rights of ethnic minorities than do most West Europeans. Analysts of this school have often stressed the depth of the ideological erosion that occurred during the final decades of communist rule. Arguing that postcommunist political culture is more prodemocratic than MarxistLeninist propaganda would lead one to expect, they have suggested that memories of the violence and repression experienced under communism have strengthened citizens' attachment to attitudes of tolerance and nonviolence conducive to democrat izat ion. Adherents of this school of thought also maintain that intergenerational turnover strongly favors democratization because younger citizens are more enthusiastic about a transition to democratic politics and market economies, partly because they can adapt more easily and have longer time-horizons in which to enjoy the personal benefits of reform.


THE INNER NATURE AND HISTORY OF RUSSIA SHOWS THAT DEMOCRACY CAN TRIUMPH THERE
Carl Linden, Prof. Intl. Affairs George Washington Univ., 1997; RUSSIA AND CHINA ON THE EVE OF A NEW MILLENNIUM, p. 97-98, acs-VT99

The view that Russia cannot free herself of despotism tends to give primary weight to the external political and not the inner character of Russia's historical experience. Indeed, the potential for tragedy and returning tyranny remains; but the Gorbachev and Yeltsin eras show that hatred of despotism and the spirit of freedom are not alien to Russia. It won the day in 1989, in August 1991, and in October 1993. Russia now has the task of securing its peace in freedom rather than despotism. It a daunting task, but is it an impossible task? This is a question the new Russia will have to answer in the travail of its rebirth.


THE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT AND PARLIAMENT NOW HAVE A FEASIBLE WORKING RELATIONSHIP
Peter Shearman, Prof. Political Science Univ. Melbourne, 1997, THE FOREIGN POLICY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, p. 25 , acs-VT99

Second, the previous system ic conflict between parliament and president has been replaced with a more normal and more functional relationship between these two key political institutions, despite the difference in policy orientation. There will continue to be disagreements over specifics , but the parliament and the governmental apparatus have demonstrated a greater ability to compromise and engage in more constructive relations.


RUSSIAN POLITICS IS LARGELY PERSONAL NOW, BUT WILL ADVANCE INTO A COMPETING PARTY SYSTEM
Thomas Remington, Prof. Political Science at Emory, 1997; DEMOCRATIC CHANGES AND AUTHORITARIAN REACTIONS IN RUSSIA, UKRAINE, BELARUS, AND MOLDOVA, p. 116, acs-VT99

As Gennadii Burbulis has pointed out, many Russian citizens may not be able to articulate their interests programmatically, but can identify individual political leaders as embodiments of their own political preferences. Thus, while it may be highly personalized and centered on leaders, the nascent political system is developing a more structured character."' There are grounds for believing, therefore, that along with the emergence of a more competitive and pluralistic environment for social interests, the foundations for a competitive party system are being formed.


RUSSIA WILL NOT STRAY FROM ITS DEMOCRATIC PATH
Lisa Hoffman, Scripps Howard News Service, The Patriot Ledger , March 24, 1998; Pg. 01, HEADLINE: Cleaning Russia's house ; Russian upheaval may be dramatic gesture acs-VT99

-- Is democracy endangered in Russia?

While political instability is certain to result, there are no signs that Russia is likely to stray from its democratic path, rocky though it has been for years.

The commitment to democracy has survived serious internal crises every year since Yeltsin took office in 1991. This time is expected to be no different.


RUSSIA IS CURRENTLY A DEMOCRATIC STATE
CURRENT RUSSIAN POLITICS IS BASED ON COMPROMISE AND RETENTION OF THE LEGAL CONSTITUTION
Thomas Remington, Prof. Political Science at Emory, 1997; DEMOCRATIC CHANGES AND AUTHORITARIAN REACTIONS IN RUSSIA, UKRAINE, BELARUS, AND MOLDOVA, p. 86-87 , acs-VT99

Second, the major political actors made policy decisions using constitutional procedures of legislative deliberation and majority decision, requiring compromise with other players, rather than by going outside the constitutional rules. Even the president avoided provoking a confrontation with parliament by bypassing the legislative process or exercising his decree powers beyond the limits of parliamentary tolerance. on a number of occasions the president accepted parliamentary decisions that he opposed, or settled for compromise agreements both in policy and personnel. As in the French Fifth Republic, contextual factors appeared to influence the distribution of power between president, government and parliament a good deal. Perhaps it is fair to conclude that the structure of incentives built into the institutional framework contributed to overcoming the destabilizing polarization between supporters and opponents of liberal reform which brought down the failed provisional regimes of the 1989-91 USSR and 1990-93 RSFSR constitutions.


CURRENT RUSSIAN POLITICS IS CHARACTERIZED BY CHECKS AND BALANCES WHICH PROMOTE STABILITY
Thomas Remington, Prof. Political Science at Emory, 1997; DEMOCRATIC CHANGES AND AUTHORITARIAN REACTIONS IN RUSSIA, UKRAINE, BELARUS, AND MOLDOVA, p. 86, acsVT99

First, no single seat of power or ideological camp dominated the political arena. The semi -presidential or "presidential -parliamentary" character of the regime gave the presidency a dominant position but not exclusive power over policy making. Executive power was divided between presidency and government, and checked by the Constitutional Court and and parliament. Parliament itself was decentralized through bicameralism and the dispersion of power in the lower chamber across an an array of left, centrist, and liberal partisan factions, each of which had a share of power in decision-making. Neither parliament nor government was firmly in the hands of a majority party or coalition. Parliamentary majorities were constructed out of broad coalitions that usually included large numbers of centrist deputies. The government was internally diverse. It often took positions in a rather nonideological, ad hoc way, staking out a centrist position to win the support, depending on the issue at hand, either of opponents or proponents of liberal reform. Its pragmatic strategy allowed it over and over to reach compromises with parliament, enabling the passage of legislative acts and the avoidance of a showdown with its parliamentary opponents.


RUSSIAN POLITICS, LONG ONLY THE PROVINCE OF ELITE PLAYERS, IS OPENING UP TO OTHER ACTORS
Chikahito Harada, Intl. Institute for Strategic Studies, July, 1997; RUSSIA AND NORTH-EAST ASIA, Adelphi Paper 310, p. 27-28, acs-VT99

Today, Russian politics remains a mainly elite game, played by competing government organisations and the leaders of stateaffiliated corporate groups. It is, however, opening up and more players are joining the field. These newcomers now include regional leaders and Mite groups who often attempt to assert their own interests over those of Moscow.


RUSSIAN PEOPLE ARE STRONGLY COMMITTED TO A DEMOCRATIC FUTURE
RUSSIAN VOTERS HAVE CONSISTENTLY SUPPORTED A DEMOCRATIC SOCIAL ORDER
Carl Linden, Prof. Intl. Affairs George Washington Univ., 1997; RUSSIA AND CHINA ON THE EVE OF A NEW MILLENNIUM, p. 124, acs-VT99

Boris Yeltsin decided to press on with the election, despite the risk of rejection by an unhappy electorate. The Russian people, in turn, made their decision. By their own free voice they endorsed the democratic social contract on which the new republic rested and rejected a return to the Soviet order. Yeltsin was given a second term and his communist challenger was turned aside.


THERE IS A DEEP DEMOCRATIC CURRENT IN RUSSIAN SOCIETY THAT CAN BE TAPPED FOR REFORM
Carl Linden, Prof. Intl. Affairs George Washington Univ., 1997; RUSSIA AND CHINA ON THE EVE OF A NEW MILLENNIUM, p. 96, acs-VT99

The democratic movement that emerged under Gorbachev and was extended under Yeltsin finds as many roots in Russian history as does the autocratic legacy. It has its antecedents in recurrent efforts at reform and civil democracy during the last two centuries in Russia. Among these were the miscarried Decembrist rising in the cause of a constitution in 1825, the reforms and emancipation of the serfs under Tsar Alexander 11, the local self-government or zemstvo movement, the post- 1905 parliamentary Duma, and the brief eight months of the provisional government in the 1917 Russian Revolution before Lenin took power in October and established the communist dictatorship.


RUSSIANS WANT AN ORDERLY SOCIETY, BUT ALSO VALUE CIVIC RIGHTS STRONGLY
Thomas Remington, Prof. Political Science at Emory, 1997; DEMOCRATIC CHANGES AND AUTHORITARIAN REACTIONS IN RUSSIA, UKRAINE, BELARUS, AND MOLDOVA, p. 115 , acsVT99

As William Reisinger et al. observe, confirming the findings of other researchers, individual civic rights are widely valued in Russia, but tend to be accompanied by a strong desire for political order. Thus while there is evidence of severe disillusionment, distrust, and alienation on the part of citizens toward the present regime, there is also evidence of abstract support for democratic principles.


RUSSIAN POPULACE AND POLITICAL CULTURE IS NOT AUTHORITARIAN, AND IS INTERESTED IN FREE POLITICS
Matthew Wyman, Prof. of Politics at Keele University [UK], 1997, PUBLIC OPINION IN POST COMMUNIST RUSSIA, p. 231-232 , acs-VT99

Chapter 5 presented evidence about issues related to Russian political culture. It found that in some respects, mass attitudes did not conform to stereotypes of an 'authoritarian' or 'subject' political culture. There were substantial degrees of support for the principle that the people should indeed choose their leaders. Majorities also appeared to favour the protection of a range of human rights: in particular freedom of movement, of speech and the press, and also freedom of association. There also appeared to be a higher degree of interest in politics than one might have imagined, although this seemed to have declined over time.


SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRACY IS NOT ABSOLUTE IN RUSSIA, BUT STRONG ENOUGH TO SURVIVE IN THE SHORT RUN
Thomas Remington, Prof. Political Science at Emory, 1997; DEMOCRATIC CHANGES AND AUTHORITARIAN REACTIONS IN RUSSIA, UKRAINE, BELARUS, AND MOLDOVA, p. 115 , acs-VT99

The evidence from public opinion surveys in fact is ambiguous. As negatively as Russians evaluate the present political arrangement, they continue to express high levels of support in the abstract for liberal freedoms, with elites tending to be still more inclined to support democratic values than ordinary citizens. The great majority of Russians consider themselves to have more political freedom than they did under the old regime. Two thirds and more of Russians surveyed in 1993 report themselves to be freer to say what they think than they were in the past, freer to join any organization they wish. and to practice any religion."' High proportions of the public continue to express support for certain general principles of democracy, such ;is freedom of speech and a free media. I'll At least in the short run, moreover, support for democratic principles appear to be more stable than support for the institutions of a market economy.


RUSSIA’S FREE ELECTIONS SHOW IT HAS COME OF AGE AS A DEMOCRATIC STATE
RUSSIA'S SUCCESSFUL RECORD OF FREE ELECTIONS SHOWS IT IS READY FOR DEMOCRACY AND SHAKEN OFF ITS SOVIET PAST
Carl Linden, Prof. Intl. Affairs George Washington Univ., 1997; RUSSIA AND CHINA ON THE EVE OF A NEW MILLENNIUM, p. 126, acs-VT99

Though Yeltsin's heart trouble and a host of economic and other problems clouded the prospects for his second term, the election was an undeniable victory for Russian democracy. Only a decade earlier, high politics in this vast country was pawn to unpredictable power struggles behind Kremlin walls. The shift to nationwide elections to determine who governs Russia was an historic transformation. Boris Yeltsin helped lead the way to this transformation.


SUCCESSFUL RUSSIAN ELECTIONS MEAN IT HAS TURNED THE TIDE TOWARDS DEMOCRACY
Strobe Talbott; Deputy Secretary of State, US Department of State Dispatch, August 18, 1997; Pg. 22; HEADLINE: The end of the beginning: the emergence of a new Russia; acs-VT99

That danger has not disappeared altogether, but it has diminished, and -- like Britain after El Alamein -- Russia may have turned the tide; it may be on the brink of a breakthrough. It has happened with a constellation of several events, of which I'd like to single out four.

First, in domestic politics, there was the presidential election 14 months ago. With Boris Yeltsin's victory over Gennady Zyuganov, the communist electoral tide began to recede from its high-water mark.
RUSSIA HAS SUCCEEDED IN HAVING FREE ELECTIONS
Grigory Yavlinsky; Russian economist and the leader of Yabloko, a democratic, reformist political party, Foreign Affairs, May, 1998 / June, 1998; Pg. 67, HEADLINE: Russia's Phony Capitalism acs-VT99

Perhaps the most often cited examples of successful Russian democracy are the Russian elections. Over the past three years, elections have become an accepted part of Russian life. This was hardly always the case. A mere three years ago, debate raged in Russia as to whether the ruling authorities would even allow elections to occur. But from the December 1995 Duma elections to the June 1996 presidential race to the subsequent gubernatorial and regional legislature elections, again and again elections have been successfully held in the Russian Federation. In many of those contests, notably the Duma election and some regional gubernatorial races, opposition candidates from the communist and other parties have won and taken office. With minor exceptions, voting and ballot counting have been peaceful and relatively free, while voter turnout has been higher than that of the United States.


RUSSIANS ARE FREER NOW THAN AT ANY TIME IN THEIR HISTORY
Grigory Yavlinsky; Russian economist and the leader of Yabloko, a democratic, reformist political party, Foreign Affairs, May, 1998 / June, 1998; Pg. 67, HEADLINE: Russia's Phony Capitalism acs-VT99

RUSSIA'S CURRENT democratic institutions also deserve a mixed review. Certainly there are reasons for optimism. Russians are freer than at any time in their history. They can now read what they like, travel, talk, worship, and assemble. Russia's citizens have quickly grown accustomed to these liberties. Technological advances such as the Internet, fax machines, and mobile phones will make it impossible for any one source ever to monopolize information in Russia again. Through this continuous contact with the world, with each passing day, Russia becomes a more normalized society.


RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY OFFERS MANY IMPORTANT POLICY BENEFITS
RUSSIA AS A DEMOCRACY CAN OFFER A UNQUE PARTNERSHIP TO SOLVE MANY OF THE WORLDS GREATEST PROBLEMS
Grigory Yavlinsky; Russian economist and the leader of Yabloko, a democratic, reformist political party, Foreign Affairs, May, 1998 / June, 1998; Pg. 67, HEADLINE: Russia's Phony Capitalism acs-VT99

A Western-style democracy in Russia would be a partner with the West in confronting the challenges of the 21st century. Russia and the West would work together better to maintain control over weapons of mass destruction and would be more likely to cooperate in containing regional conflict in explosive areas like the Caucasus and Middle East. Finally, the rule of law would govern business relations and allow for economic development and growth beneficial for both societies.

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