If one say Russia Federation is an ‘authoritarian’ system, but they have a constitution, people have the right to vote, it has different parties and the their presidents are elected, almost all aspects of Russia are in line with the requirements of a democratic country. But if one say Russia is a democratic country, it has shown many features of a ‘authoritarian’ system, for example, Russian’s “friends and brothers” are countries of authoritarian’ system such as North Korea Iran Syria. And their relationship with democratic counties in the western world is so incompatible jus as fire and water. So is Russia Federation is an ‘authoritarian’ system or not?
As early as the time of the Moscow Principality, the founder of Russia, Ivan III, created a complete system of centralization and inherited later by The Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the modern Russian Federation. Although the parliamentary organization also appeared in Russia – the Duma, the Soviet Union adopted the system that give a high degree of sovereignty to places on national structure, and until now, and it establishes the separation of powers, appears to have achieved the Western decentralization basis of checks and balances. But this did not change the essence of its centralization: the Duma system at the end of The Russian Empire was not sustained for too long, and it was revolutionized. And to the contemporary Russian Federation, on the three-tier structure of administration, justice, legislation, as well as the rule of president, this “super presidential system”, in essence, is still an embodiment of the centralization. To sum up, although Russia dressed in Western-style coat of separation of three powers and counterbalance, it still retains the soul of the Eastern Centralization.
The Soviet Union’s Terminator, the former Soviet Communist Party General Secretary Gorbachev recently in his new book “Leave Kremlin” said, “Although Putin adopted a ‘dictatorship’, but his goal is in line with the interests of the majority … … Putin has played an important role in the stability of the Russia after Yeltsin: in fact, here refers to his commitment to avoid the split in Russia, “he also pointed out that” he (Putin) has begun to appear my previous problems, and that is arrogance. That is what defeated me ” (Online, 2015)
Almost at the same time, Putin was attacked and neglected at the G20 summit in 2014 , at that time the national economy was facing the crisis due to sanctions, Putin took the initiative to accept the “top officials” special program interview from ITAR-TASS . In the interview he denied that he would always be president, he said, “This is not suitable and would be harmful for the country,and I do not have such a demand.” He also stressed that “I will do everything I can for the country. And I will certainly act within the framework of the Constitution. ” But he also stressed that the possibility of continuing to run for president in 2018 and for re-election, he said, “I may become president again, if (Constitution) allowed, but that does not mean that I will make such a decision, and now it ‘s too early to talk about the problem, and it will take the time to consider the overall situation.”
Putin’s conversation in the interview, emphasizing that he is a patriot, choose to be a long-term president is out of loyalty to the country but not selfishness, if the country needs and he still has the will, he will continue to run for president. But these are carried out within the framework of the Constitution. It is an interesting topic and perspective to discuss whether Putin is a dictator and whether Russia Federation is an ‘authoritarian’ system.
In the Russian politics, the president was elected by voters, and implementing federal democracy, established separation of three powers and counterbalance among legislation, administration, judiciary. The president can not be reigned more than two terms. Russia is to implement multi-party system, the military and the national strength sector are nationalized. These are in line with the basic characteristics of democracy.
But the Russian politics has its specific characteristics , especially after Putin became president, it strengthened the presidency, weakened the freedom, decentralization and democratic system, and therefore have a considerable degree of authoritarian. In short, Putin is to achieve the maximization of individual power under the overall pattern of i constitutional and democratic institutions, Russia under the rule of Putin is a kind of special authoritarian’ system through the democratic form.
As he said, the Russian people have the right to criticize the president and thethe rights and mechanisms of government, the opposition and the general public can criticize the president and the state government in ways of demonstrations, speech and others through the state organs, even table a motion of no confidence to the president and to impeach the President, . But also he tried to intervene in press freedom through various means, including legislation and secret action. The female reporter Polit Kovskaya who is famous for fierce criticism of Putin’s was brutally shot in her Moscow apartment brutally shot. In March 2015, the Russian opposition politician, former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, was also assassinated.
Russia’s current presidential election system can be said to be tailor-made for Putin. Putin served the position of president from 2000 to 2008, in accordance with Constitution and politicians ethics, he can not continue to be elected as president again and have long-term ruling. But he used the constitutional loopholes, returned to the presidency after partnered with Medvedev as a prime minister, and modify the constitution, so that he can prolong the presidency to 2014. Moreover, during his term as prime minister, he also relied on the decree signed by the outgoing president to grasp the real power of the national government.
After Putin became president, in order to strengthen the federal power, especially the presidential power, nine federal districts has been set up, the president directly appointed the federal district plenipotentiary, weakened the local power, but also undermined the constitution on the central and local decentralization principles.
The Constitution, which was under the revising of Putin, further strengthened the presidency. Each of office term of the President is as long as six years, the president also has the right to appoint senior officials, including the Prime Minister, and may promulgate a decree without the direct passage of Parliament.
In order to ensure the unity of Russian political power, through the support of the reunification of the Russian party and its coalition party, Putin also try to control the parliament, thereby reducing checks and balances to the parliamentary and government , and highlight the administrative power.
In Russia, Putin is also good at manipulating public opinion and mobilize the mass movement, to enhance personal prestige, engage in personal worship movement, increase support rate, create social atmosphere for their long-term dictatorship. In the involvement and support of public power, People’s Front appeared in Russia, people “advocate” Putin and other pro-Putin organization, they shouted for the Putin flag, and even directly participated in public movement confrontation with the opposition organization .
In these respects, Putin is committed to the establishment of a system of personal authoritarian, but it is a unique authoritarian system created on the basis of Russian constitutional and democratic institutions created by.
The internationally accepted definition of authoritarian is that it is a form of government, ruled by an individual who has an infinite authority who rule it with individual will without the the control of the law and tradition(Svovik, 2012). The political power enjoyed by the democratic state lacks corresponding safeguards in the authoritarian system . Including the rule of law, political decentralization and checks and balances, equal suffrage, universal suffrage, freedom of speech and other basic human rights.
But they are not entirely embodied in Russian politics. It is not fair to categorise the Russian Federation as an ‘authoritarian’ system. Perhaps Max Weber’s words can explain the nature of the unique authoritarianism of Russia. He said that the formation of authoritarian system has correlation with the unique personal charm (Online, 2015). In the authoritarian government, it will also vigorously advocate personal worship. Putin does not have the infinite power of without restraint, but he can realize personal authoritarian in the democratic system. This dual contradiction, and his personal unique style and charm is related, it is a rare event with low probability.g