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Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 1: Institutional Engineering$
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Jan Zielonka

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244089

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199244081.001.0001

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Power Imbalance and Institutional Interests in Russian Constitutional Engineering

Power Imbalance and Institutional Interests in Russian Constitutional Engineering

Chapter:
(p.269) 10 Power Imbalance and Institutional Interests in Russian Constitutional Engineering
Source:
Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 1: Institutional Engineering
Author(s):

Gadis Gadzhiev

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199244081.003.0010

Describes Russia as an incomplete democracy, in which a compromise regarding constitutional engineering was never reached and important decisions regarding power‐sharing were postponed, ultimately leading to the institutionalization of a super‐presidential regime created through brute force. The chapter emphasizes that Russia was the only post‐communist country that experienced a military intervention after democratic elections had taken place. The first part of the chapter focuses on how the process of amending the 1978 Russian Constitution deteriorated into a power struggle between the parliament and the president and describes the institutional structure that resulted from this contentious process. Finally, the chapter demonstrates how the Russian Constitution, which set clear rules for the institutional game but without respect for the division of power principle, has contributed to state weakness. It is emphasized that by concentrating power in the presidency, the executive has become overburdened and the state ineffective.

Keywords:   constitution, democratic consolidation, incomplete democracy, institutional competition, institutional engineering, military intervention, Russia, state weakness, super‐presidentialism

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