Vol 22, No 1 (2020)

POLITICAL PROCESS IN CONTEMPORARY RUSSIA: TENDENCIES AND PROSPECTS
Russia in Anticipation of Changes: Religious Factor and Socio-political Preferences
Mchedlova M.M., Kofanova E.N.

Abstract

The religious factor is now at the focus of theoretical and public discussions, addressing the issues of understanding and evaluation of its manifestation forms in various spheres of society: intra-Church, private, public and political. Numerous research focuses account for the variability of interpretations of how the religious factor impacts the political process, in Russia among other countries. The political connotations of the religious factor in relation to the domestic political sphere imply identification of its impact on the nature of socio-political demands, assessment of the situation in the country, visions of development, unity or demarcation lines in public consciousness and behavior. Demand for change in Russian society is shared by all religious and ideological groups, which is confirmed by sociological studies. This demand manifests itself in a plea to reform the political system to achieve greater openness on the one hand, and provide social guarantees, as well as ensure efficient institutional functioning, on the other. The issue of political subjectivity and readiness for certain actions demonstrates unequal activism among representatives of various religious and ideological groups. Filling the image of the desired future with the meanings of social justice related not only to common access to basic social benefits, but also to equality of all before the law, ensuring democracy and human rights, as well as universal geopolitical meaning, confirms the shared nature of the main socio-political parameters. These parameters demonstrate that there are no deep ideological obstacles on the way to articulation of common interests, which are aimed at socio-political changes or maintaining traditional foundations. In the context of Russian multi-religious society, which coexists with secular identities, the conclusion above is of key importance for ensuring social consolidation. The article is based on data from a nationwide representative survey of the Institute of Sociology 2018 (No. 4000), in which the authors personally participated.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):7-21
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CONTEMPORARY POLITICS OF IRAN
Iran’s Soft Power Tools in Kyrgyzstan
Garbuzarova E.G.

Abstract

The article examines the use of “soft power” tools used by Iran in relation to Kyrgyzstan. The analysis of the evolving fundamental concepts of Iranian foreign policy in Central Asia allowed us to trace a shift in the Islamic Republic’s international priorities in the region. Objective logic prompted the Iranian leadership to move from “exporting the Islamic revolution” to the pragmatic model of pursuing its national interests. Iran has consecutively incorporated soft power tools into its foreign policy activities in Central Asia. Given the pressure from the sanctions imposed by the United States, Iran attaches particular importance to improving the effectiveness of its soft power in order to expand cooperation horizons with the outside world. By the end of the 20th century, Iran’s leadership had already laid the foundations of its cultural diplomacy in the region, which mainly served to promote influence through the export of cultural values. The Iranian approach to soft power in world politics is based on the principles of reciprocity between different civilizations and peaceful coexistence of all countries and peoples. Through the Persian language, philosophy, literature and poetry, Iran influences the population of the Central Asian region, mainly the peoples sharing certain features with the Turkic-speaking world. Iran’s cultural and educational activities in Kyrgyzstan have demonstrated noticeable dynamics: the spread of soft power of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Kyrgyzstan is carried out through cultural institutions and educational projects. Despite the fact that Kyrgyzstan is culturally more inclined towards the Turkic world, the experience shows that Iran’s cultural values also find support among the population of the republic.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):22-31
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Iranian Foreign Policy in the South Caucasus: Identity and National Interests
Atrisangari F.

Abstract

Any foreign policy decision of a country is formed on the basis of certain principles and norms that constitute the identity and determine the role of this country. In case with Iran, although the norms that form the identity of the Islamic Republic are diverse and each of them can determine the role of the country outside its geographical borders, none of these norms totally dominates Iran’s foreign policy. Iran is a country located within (or neighboring to) several strategic regions, and in each of these regions it demonstrates different foreign policy strategy based on different norms. For example, Iran’s foreign policy in Transcaucasia is determined by principles and norms which, in some cases, are similar to the principles and norms of Iran’s foreign policy in Western Asia and, in other cases, are different from them. These divergent patterns of behavior can be accounted for by two concepts: identity and national interests. The article aims at clarifying the role of identity in determining Iran’s national interests in Transcaucasia and studies Iran’s foreign policy in the region within the mentioned framework. At the same time, the article seeks to examine the challenges associated with the principles and norms determining foreign policy, as well as identify the shortcomings of Iran’s foreign policy in the Transcaucasian region.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):32-48
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The Growth of Women’s Role in the Iranian Parliament since the Islamic Revolution of 1979
Esmaeili S.

Abstract

This article discusses the position of women in Iranian political life, enhancing the role of Iranian women policy, the story of their political struggle for the rightful place and role in the country’s political arena, as well as the results achieved by women in public organizations of Iran. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, based on the legitimacy of women’ rights and political participation, the rules and laws in Iran have been reviewed and changes have been made in respect of political rights and participation in the government of this gender group. The article deals with the problem of political participation of women in contemporary Iran, as well as the issue of enhancing their role in the parliament as one of the most important political institutions of the country.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):49-58
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RIGHT-WING POPULISM: ORIGINS AND MODERNITY
Responses of European Mainstream to Right-Wing Populism Challenges from the Perspective of the Resilience Concept: Case of the United Kingdom
Shein S.A.

Abstract

The article explores how European political mainstream responds to the challenges of right-wing populism and how it effects the resilience of the political system. The British case serves as the empirical material for the article. Focusing on the concept of resilience as a quality of a political system to respond and adapt itself to internal challenges, we use the classification of mainstream strategic responses developed by W. Downs and the analytical tools of historical insti- tutionalism. The article investigates mainstream (Conservative and Labor) strategic responses to the challenges of right-wing populism (United Kingdom Independence Party, UKIP) in the UK. The research concludes that the political mainstream is moving from ignoring strategies to mixed strategies, such as cooptation of the UKIP’s program with elements of political and institutional isolation. Such strategies are effective from the electoral point of view, however, they may be fraught with “unintended consequences” affecting the resilience of the whole political system.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):59-70
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The Evolution of Populism in South America: Was J. Bolsonaro’s Victory in the 2018 Brazilian Presidential Election a Precedent or a Model for the Region?
Ivanov V.G.

Abstract

The article analyzes the election campaign, public discourse, and policies of J. Bolsonaro as the President of Brazil. The new President represents the model of an irreconcilable right-wing populist who focuses on US foreign policy. Bolsonaro’s rise to power came amid the crisis of left-wing populism in Brazil. The article raises the question: whether Bolsonaro’s victory is a remarkable case or a new effective model of public policy and political leadership for Brazil and other countries in the region? The author concludes that it depends largely on J. Bolsonaro’s success as the President. At the moment, the interim results of his presidency are highly controversial and continue to divide and polarize Brazilian society.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):71-80
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POLITICAL PROCESSES IN CONTEMPORARY WORLD
Migration Policy in the Programs of FRG’s Leading Political Parties
Amiantova I.S., Ivanova E.A.

Abstract

The presented study is devoted to the reflection of migration policy concepts in the program documents of the leading political parties in Germany. The purpose of this work is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of migration policy concepts of Germany’s leading parties, incorporated in their programs. The research methodology is based on a combination of comparative descriptive analysis and elements of case study. The empirical basis of the research is constituted by program materials of 6 parties and party blocs, whose representatives became part of the Bundestag, according to the results of the 2017 federal elections. The author believes that despite certain differences, the majority of parties hold to the consensus stance on migration policy, which may entail maintaining the current course for the foreseeable future. Significant changes in migration policy are possible only if the leadership of the CDU/CSU is able to convince the leaders of the SPD to continue tightening migration policy in terms of restricting the flow of refugees. Attempting to sustain the existing model of migration policy with the current dynamics of the socioeconomic situation can lead to an increase in the popularity of AfD. However, this course of events does not threaten the stability of German political system, provided AfD does not ally itself with another influential party.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):81-91
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Searching for the EU Political Identity: Experience of the Italian Yellow-Green Government (2018-2019)
Alonzi R.

Abstract

The article focuses upon the subject of the EU’s political identity in connection with the experience of the Italian Yellow-Green Government (2018-2019). Taking into account general tendencies and attitudes of previous Italian governments towards the European integration process, the author pays special attention to the “European line” proposed by the coalition between the Five-Star Movement and the League. The author concludes that the supranational political nature and growing complexity of the European Union are not compatible with the one-sided approach to conceptualizing the EU identity. As a result, it is necessary to redefine the components of the EU’s political identity, as well as reconsider certain controversial concepts, such as sovranism and populism.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):92-104
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Rwanda - Burundi: Political Dialogue as a Method of Achieving Agreement
Ndayisaba A.

Abstract

The article analyzes the problem associated with the deterioration of relations between Rwanda and Burundi, which, according to various resources, are due to Rwanda’s interference in the internal affairs of Burundi. Special attention is paid to the role of political dialogue in the search for agreement between the two states. Thus, relations deteriorated further after the Bujumbura regime accused Rwanda of involvement in destabilizing the Bujumbura regime as a result of an attempt to support and arm Burundian refugees fleeing Burundi after the failed coup on May 13, 2015, committed against Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza. Rwanda also accuses Burundi of supporting the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). This diplomatic crisis requires a regional effort to bring both countries to the negotiating table. In this way, the role of interregional organizations, especially the East African Community (EAC), is more significant in order to encourage both countries to engage in dialogue, taking into account that current diplomacy requires multilateralism to discuss and solve the problem. Political dialogue will help relieve tensions and remedy the situation. However, historical, cultural and linguistic rapprochement, are the basic prerequisites that allow both countries to come to their senses and coexist peacefully. The current situation between Burundi and Rwanda is a time bomb, which poses a threat to the security, political and socio-economic stability of the entire Great Lacs region of Africa. For this, regional communities must ensure that Member States respect the principle of good neighborliness and peaceful coexistence, all in the interest of preventing the risk of any conflict and ensuring geopolitical stability.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):105-115
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CURRENT PROBLEMS OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
Authentic Development: Key Aspects of the Concept
Ilinskaya S.G.

Abstract

The article focuses on the social, political, philosophical and economic aspects of the concept of authentic development. Besides being based on Russia’s historical experience and socio-cultural values, the project relies on certain socio-humanitarian scientific studies conducted by domestic scholars of previous generations. By applying interdisciplinary and systematic approaches, the author is able to map out not only the socio-political and humanitarian components of the concept, but also a whole complex of problems the project is aimed to solve.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):116-133
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The Changes of Forms of Public Contestation in PostDemocracy
Savenkov R.V.

Abstract

The paper discusses the main trends in changing forms of political contestation of citizens in contemporary competitive and non-competitive political regimes. Social transformations led to the destruction of traditional social groups capable of joint political action. Along with social changes in the political sphere, the nature of the basic institution of political contestation - political parties - has changed, acting as political opposition. Contemporary political party reduces the scale of citizen involvement in political action, increasing the cost of political advertising, thereby becoming dependent on influential economic interest groups and state funding. The weakening of the political pressure of society through institutionalized channels led to the disappointment of the democratic system as a whole. Citizens in the contemporary world increasingly prefer noninstitutionalized and illegitimate forms of political action. However, observations of dispute practices in North Africa, the Middle East, Spain, the United States, France, and Russia in the 2010s demonstrate that the dominant position of institutional channels of influence on political and public decisions has been maintained. New opportunities of the Internet for organizing collective actions of citizens have not led to the formation of a new identity of dissatisfied people and the consolidation of effective online deliberation practices.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):134-143
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Russia and China as Viewed by Russian and Chinese Youth
Sorokina A.A., Maximenkova M.S.

Abstract

Russia-China relations are a major research focus in international relations, yet few studies have so far addressed the issue of how the two nations view each other. This study seeks to contribute to closing this gap by focusing on how college-age millennials perceive the counterpart country. We have selected students who have had experience studying abroad, namely Chinese students who have studied in Russia and Russian students who have studied in China. Our findings are based on the analysis of 150 in-depth qualitative narrative interviews conducted with Chinese and Russian students (75 in each group). The study demonstrates that ethnocentric stereotypes prevail and both groups engage in cultural ‘othering’. Meanwhile, students from both countries perceive Russian President Vladimir Putin as a central determining factor in shaping Russia-China relations.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2020;22(1):144-160
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