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Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 2: International and Transnational Factors$
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Jan Zielonka and Alex Pravda

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244096

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019924409X.001.0001

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Russia and the West: To Belong or not to Belong?

Russia and the West: To Belong or not to Belong?

Chapter:
(p.485) 18 Russia and the West: To Belong or not to Belong?
Source:
Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 2: International and Transnational Factors
Author(s):

Marie Mendras

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019924409X.003.0019

Addresses the question of how Western responsibility for the early promise and later disappointments of Russia's development in the 1990s should be assessed. It contends that internal dynamics and historic legacies have played a large part in shaping the behaviour of the Russian elite. The chapter focuses on Russia's relations with the democratic world, highlighting its attraction to Western, mainly European, ways of life and values, as well as a propensity for resisting influence and subordination. The chapter notes two major symptoms of a growing disregard for democratic rule, civil rights, and the rule of law: (1) the second war in Chechnya (2) Vladimir Putin's predetermined presidential election. The author points out to several reasons for the deterioration of democratic society in Russia's ‘new capitalism’: the flawed nature of elections, the pressure on powerful rivals not to compete, the scale of corruption and the frequency of financial‐political scandals. Nevertheless, the chapter also shows that in a number of cases Russia has demonstrated the will to play by international Western rules. Despite daunting internal problems, the opening of Russia and its immersion into the world of affairs has fundamentally changed the political environment.

Keywords:   Chechnya, corruption, democracy, elections, new capitalism, rule of law, Russia, scandals, Vladimir Putin, West

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