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Russian Politics and Presidential Power

Russian Politics and Presidential Power
Transformational Leadership from Gorbachev to Putin

October 2016 | 312 pages | CQ Press
Russian Politics and Presidential Power takes an in-depth look at the Russian presidency and uses it as a key to understanding Russian politics. Donald R. Kelley looks at presidents from Gorbachev to Putin as authoritarian, transformational leaders who set out to build the future, while sometimes rejecting and reinterpreting the work of past modernizers. Placing the presidency in this context helps readers understand both the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the nature of the Russian Federation that rose in its place. And by setting the presidency within a longer historical context, Kelley shows how the future of the presidency is dependent on other features of the political system.

About the Author
Chapter 1: Executive Power in Russian Politics
What Does Executive Leadership Mean in the Russian Context?  
Authoritarian Modernizers: The Prototype  
Characteristics of Authoritarian Modernizers  
What Can We Learn from Past “Executives”?  
Earlier Authoritarian Modernizers  
The Brezhnev Era: The Long Calm before the Storm  
The Uncertain Interregnum: Andropov and Chernenko  
Chapter 2: The Gorbachev Presidency
The Starting Point: What Gorbachev Intended  
Gorbachev’s Rise to Power  
From General Secretary to President  
The Reform Agenda: Politics and Policy  
The Economy: Perestroika  
Judicial Reform  
Foreign Policy  
Political Reform: Democratization  
Democratization of the Communist Party  
The Gorbachev Presidency  
The Presidency of the Russian Federation  
The Battle of the Presidents  
Gorbachev as an Authoritarian Modernizer  
Chapter 3: The Yeltsin Presidency, 1991–1993
Yeltsin’s Path to Moscow  
From Outcast to President  
The President Becomes a President  
A Real President Gets a Real Nation  
Personal Rivalries  
Economic Reforms as a Political Issue  
Yeltsin’s Economic Reforms: Phase I (1991–1993)  
The Reform of the Party-State  
National Identity and the Union Treaty  
Judicial Reform  
The President and the Legislature  
Foreign Policy  
Yeltsin as an Authoritarian Modernizer: A Preliminary Assessment  
Chapter 4: Yeltsin and Russia Reborn
The Presidency and the Legislature  
Judicial Reform  
The 1993 Duma Elections  
The 1995 Duma Elections  
The 1996 Presidential Election  
The Second Term: From Victory to Resignation  
Yeltsin’s Economic Reforms: Phase II (1994-1999)  
Foreign Policy  
The First Chechen War  
The December 1999 Duma Elections  
Yeltsin’s Surprise Resignation  
Yeltsin as an Authoritarian Modernizer: A Final Assessment  
Chapter 5: Putin I, 2000–2008
The 2000 Presidential Election  
Vladimir Putin: From Spy Novels to the Kremlin  
The Putin Formula  
The Putin Presidency Emerges from Yeltsin’s Shadow  
Outside the Garden Ring: “Managing” the New Democracy  
The Presidency and the Legislature: The 2003 Duma Elections  
Judicial Reform  
The 2004 Presidential Election  
The Rules and the Game Change  
The Run-Up to the 2008 Presidential Election  
The 2007 Duma Elections  
Putin’s Economic Reforms  
Foreign Policy  
The Second Chechen War  
The 2008 Presidential Election  
Putin as an Authoritarian Modernizer  
Chapter 6: The “Tandem”
Dmitry Medvedev: Putin’s Friend from Leningrad  
Governing the Nation in Tandem  
Medvedev and Putin in Tandem  
Factional Realities  
Medvedev and Economic Reform  
Medvedev and Political Modernization  
Judicial Reform  
Foreign Policy  
The Russian-Georgian War  
Medvedev and the Legislature: The 2011 Duma Elections  
The Duma Election and Voting Fraud  
The 2012 Presidential Election  
Election Results  
Medvedev as an Authoritarian Modernizer  
Chapter 7: Putin II, 2012–
The “New” Cabinet  
Putin II: Old and New Realities  
Maintaining the Balance within the Garden Ring  
Controlling the Opposition  
The Economy: Prosperity and Modernity  
Foreign Policy  
Crimea and Ukraine  
Russian Foreign Policy and the World  
The Three Arenas of Russian Politics  
Inside the Garden Ring: Factional Politics in Putin II  
A Note on the Siloviki  
Outside the Garden Ring: Politics in the Rest of the Russian Federation  
The Authoritarian Modernizer Revisited  
The Legal System and the Courts  
Connecting Those Inside and Outside the Garden Ring  
Political Parties  
Civil Society  
Control of the Media  
The Leadership Cult as a Connection  
Putin as an Authoritarian Modernizer  
Chapter 8: The Future(s) of Russian Politics
The Future of the Russian Presidency(ies)  
What Will Drive Change?  
Changes in the Nature of Factional Politics  
Changes in the Nature of Electoral Politics at the National, Regional, and Local Levels  
Politics Moves to the Street: A Color Revolution or Moscow Spring  
What Is a Color Revolution?  
A Russian Color Revolution?  

Russian Politics and Presidential Power provides excellent insight into the Russian national character and the intellectual and emotional challenges that motivate people. The narrative is well written, , profound, and honest. The book is a very good resource for students who want to learn more about the nature of Russian politics.”

Irina Vakulenko
University of Texas Dallas

“Donald Kelley’s concept of 'modern authoritarians' as a central theme enables a reader to follow the complex personalities and course of events.  Perhaps even more valuable is the accuracy of the concept in portraying the Russian political experience. It is clear and presents the material that students need to understand.”

Richard Farkas
DePaul University

Russian Politics and Presidential Power is a fine text for undergraduate audiences and a good one for graduate students to review, too. The notion of the 'authoritarian modernizer' helps as a way to understand the Russian presidency and to get away from the tendentious arguments about Yeltsin and Putin that are so often indulged in. Kelley’s work is clearly written with well explained examinations of the turbulent eras covered.”

Gerry Hudson
The Ohio State University

“Russian Politics and Presidential Power is notable for Professor Kelley’s attention to political 'legacies' of past Russian and Soviet chief executive offices and practices.  Dr. Kelley demonstrates a number of the reasons for which Russian Federation politics have remained very fluid, and he acquaints the reader with many of the major political issues that have surfaced within the Russian political arena since before the disappearance of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.”

Barbara Chotiner
Professor Emerita at the University of Alabama
Key features
  • Reinterprets of the concept of authoritarian modernizer for the purposes of understanding the mindset of transformational leaders from 1985 onward.
  • Discussion of separate arenas of Russian politics demonstrates the complexity of politics in an electoral authoritarian regime.
  • Discussion of possible futures offers nuanced alternatives shaped by the nature of political institutions, strengths and weakness of major actors, and impact of tactical choices by politicians.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

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