To begin this discussion, let us first define the key terms needed. Authoritarian is a “type of government which the ruler demand unquestioning obedience from its people” that they govern. (Macmillan 30). In other words, the people who are being ruled, have no choice but to be obedient to their leader even if they do not agree with him or her. While democracy can be defined in Greek as “rule by the people.
” In other words, it is based on the people’s votes, where the majority votes wins, whereas, if an election is to be held, with regards to a decision, for example capital punishment, if majority of the voters agree to it, then capital punishment will take effect as a means of punishing criminals. Usually, the Executive which is said to reflect a semi-presidential system, has two main roles where the president is elected directly by the people and the Prime Minister appointed by the president. This is evident in post-communist Russia, when President Putin was elected by the people in adult suffrage elections.
This system creates “a certain amount of tension between the president and the prime minister, especially if they do not share the same political party or the same political ideas. ” (Munroe 91). This is evident when Voloshin resigned while Yeltsin was in power and was later reappointed by Putin after Yeltsin had resigned. Post communist Russia is deemed as being more authoritarian than democratic as its governmental style has more characteristics of that of authoritarian, where its president has more power than other official posts in its society.
The structure of the Post communist Russia differs significantly from that of the former soviet union. It has been characterized by a power struggle between the executive and the legislature branches, primarily over issues of constitutional authority and the pace and direction of democratic and economic reform. Conflicts started in September 2003, when President Yeltsin dissolved the Russian parliament (the Congress of People Deputies and the Supreme Soviet). Parliamentary members and their colleagues revolted and were overthrown only through military intervention.
According to Munroe, the “executive in most post-communist states reflects a semi presidential system, perhaps most similar in the Western world to France. ” In December 1993 a new constitution put forward by Yeltsin was approved in a nationwide referendum, and representatives were elected to a new legislature. Because of the presidential constitution, it gives extensive powers to the president. The executive branch dominates the legislative and judicial branches, and both presidents have exercised wide ranging powers over all threes branches.
They have usually used as their main instrument the Presidential Administration. This is a complicated organization that aims through complex methods of political and financial influence to ensure that the “cabinet of ministers prepares the draft legislation desired by the president, the parliament then adopts this legislation without introducing changes undesirable to the president, the court system renders judgments in cases where the president has an interest in the outcome that accord with his wishes. ” (Brittanica. com).
In addition, the Presidential Administration plays a key role in controlling and censoring the media, especially the national television channels, in trying to ensure that the president’s will and policies are implemented in Russia’s eighty-nine federal regions, and in controlling as far as possible Russia’s nascent civil society. It also interferes in the business world, indirectly mediating major disputes, indirectly granting favours to some companies and penalizing others. At the same time, it and the Cabinet of Ministers interact with business regularly on the political level.
In this way , business has exerted a major influence on government policy, more blatantly in Yeltsin tenure, less blatantly, but still substantially under Putin. The new constitution provides for welfare protection, access to social security, pensions, free health care, and affordable housing. At the same time, it considerably reduced the status of the regions and made all regions subject to central authorities. In 2000, the Russian central government assigned each of the country’s provinces and autonomous republics, regions and districts to one of seven new federal districts.
These districts were intended to enable the central government to control and monitor these constituent units , and they confirmed the supremacy of the central government over the regions. Given the multiplicity of important roles, it is not surprising that the head of the presidential administration and the president are usually regarded as the two most powerful figures in Russia’s government. This was especially during the four and a half years from March 1999, when Yeltsin appointed Alexander Voloshin to the head of the Presidential Administration, and October 2003, when Voloshin resigned from that position.
He was reappointed by Putin after Yeltsin resigned in December 1999, and provided continuity from one presidency to the next. If I am wrong in agreeing that post communist Russia is more authoritarian than democratic, then I may agree that it has an indirect democracy characteristics, where the people play a limited role in making decisions, such as in the passing of laws, between elections. Between elections the politicians rule, not in any supreme sense because they too have limitations, but they have a more active and direct role than the people.
If post commuinist Russia was fully democratic, then the people themselves would play a more direct role in running the state, in making laws and taking decisions. Also the state would provide institutional means whereby the people can exercise the right to decide. The referendum is one such mechanism, according to Munroe. Another example is “the right of recall, which gives the people the legal means of terminating the tenure in office of any elected official before his or her term is up”(Munroe 48).
There may be other evidences to prove that post-communist Russia is not necessarily more authoritarian. However, the features of being more authoritarian are more dominant as this is the way their government is formed under which the country performs. In conclusion, post communist Russia is more authoritarian than democratic as explained, the president dictates and the people act without having a ? say’ in decision-making and so on. It could also be classified as being a Semi-Presidential system whereby, as previously mentioned, the “executive has both a prime minister and a president.
The president is directly elected by the people. ” (Munroe 53). However our main focus in this paper is the show that post-communist Russia is more authoritarian than democratic. One may also believe that no one country’s governmental style is democratic there has to be some aspect of it which is authoritarian. At times, an analyst may find more characteristics of the government to be more authoritarian than democratic even though the country is of democracy in a formal sense.
This is so as many times the people may feel violated and limited with their freedom and decision making as well as other faults with the supposed democratic government. Looking for example on the Jamaican system where if a curfew or state of emergency is called on, the people are limited to their everyday happenings in the sense that after certain hours they have to be inside their houses, they cannot have parties after certain hours and so on , therefore they are being robbed of their freedom, legally.
On the other hand, some philosophers will argue that there is freedom in everything we do, it is just a matter of facing the consequences which sometimes we cannot avoid, in that, if a state of emergency should be called on, we still have our own freedom to go against it but there are consequences of being locked up or beaten by the authority. Some argue that after facing the consequences, the basic idea is that the choice was made and the freedom was used.
This is not the same in most instances when a country is said to be authoritarian, it would be difficult for a political analyst to say that there are more democratic elements in an authoritarian country than that of totalitarian or dictatorship. This is so as in an authoritarian country, the citizens would be so manipulated to adhere to this system that they, in most instances, would not know the difference between dictatorship or democratic to even say that they need a change or that they do not agree with their government, it would be the norm to them in most cases.
We therefore then say that post-communist Russia is more authoritarian than democratic as it is easy to find more elements of dictatorship in this state. Works Cited Britanica. com: Administration and Social Conditions Munroe, Trevor. An Introduction to Politics. Third Edition, 2002 Mclean, Iain, ed. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. Oxford Press.