Russian Politics: The Paradox of a Weak State

Russian Politics: The Paradox of a Weak State

by Marie Mendras


Usually ships within 6 days


What has become of the Russian state twenty years after the collapse of Communism? Why have the rulers and the ruled turned away from democratic institutions and the rule of law? What explains the Putin regime's often uncooperative policies towards Europe and its difficult relations with the rest of the world? These are among the key issues discussed in this essential book on contemporary Russia by Marie Mendras, France's leading scholar on the subject. Mendras provides an original and incisive analysis of Russia's political system since Gorbachev's perestroika. Contrary to conventional thinking, she contends that today the Russian state is weak and ineffective. Vladimir Putin has dismantled and under- mined most public institutions, and has consolidated a patronage system of rule. The Medvedev presidency was but one chapter in the story, as Putin's re-election exemplifies. Political and economic power remains concentrated in the hands of a few groups and individuals, and the elites remain loyal to the leadership in order to hold on to their positions and prosper. Those at the helm of the state are unaccountable to the society they govern. Up until the economic crisis of 2008, ordinary Russians largely turned a blind eye to these authoritarian methods because living standards had markedly improved. The economic slowdown, rising corruption and unfair elections have put the leadership under pressure, and have caused unprecedented public protest.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199327843
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 08/28/2012
Series: Comparative Politics and International Studies
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

MARIE MENDRAS is Professor at Sciences Po University and Research Fellow with the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris. She runs the Observatoire de la Russie at the Centre for International Study and Research (CERI) and is an Associate Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House.

Table of Contents



1. Myth of a Strong State: Legacy of the Empire

2. Domestic Reform and Opening to the World

3. Defeat of Constitutionalism

4. Power of Bureaucracies

5. Hollowing out of Public Institutions

6. A Distrustful Society

7. Putin System: Unanimity and Autocracy

8. Putin System: Patronage and the Enrichment of the Elites

9. National Exceptionalism






What People are Saying About This

Stephen Holmes

A brilliantly textured portrait and fiercely argued exposé of the troubled and troubling political condition of Vladimir Putin's Russia. Paradoxically, as Marie Mendras lucidly explains, the Russian state abuses its citizens precisely because it is too weak to control itself. The most stimulating work yet published on the origins and evolution of post-communist Russian politics.

Stephen Holmes, New York University School of Law

Customer Reviews