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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The reality of Russia confirms the relevance of studying the specifics of the historical form of policy prevalent in the country. In order to analyze the nature of the existing order of power in post-Soviet Russia, different analytical categories are required compared to democracy or authoritarianism. This warrants using approaches and methods which lie at the border between political science and sociology. Such approaches allow for examining politics as a process and a result of not only the elites’ doings, but also a group of actors, which is not only not outlined, but, on the contrary, isn’t really limited. The author of this article offers an authentic policy typology, starting with its ideal variety, being institutionalized, based on universal trust rather than force and on competition between projects and decisions aimed at common benefit, conducted within an indefinite circle of free citizens. Compared to true policy, the main distinctions of other phenomena is a lack of institutionalization in the case of “under-policy”, lacking principles of unrestricted participation and alignment towards common good in the case of “pre-policy”, and the use of unlawful violence in the case of “anti-policy”. These phenomena can be described using the collective term “quasi-policy”. “Under-policy” and “pre-policy” are inherent to people’s “natural state”, and can be used as a means to adjust public life and the circulation of resources, while “anti-policy” is a perverse form of social order which arises from not knowing any non-violent solutions to various problems. Based on the empirical data, the author shows that “pre-policy”, which is becoming ever less effective, is prevalent in Russia, while also considering possible trends for its subsequent transformation. “Pre-policy” is characterized by syncretism of the governmental, economic and legislative domains of public life, being an archaic phenomenon by default. However, the degree of “pre-policy’s” archaism varies. In Russia’s case it is quite high. In Russia we see a high degree of integration on the social level within situational informal groups (cliques), combined with a low degree of trust on the societal level, which leads to there not being ideologically manifested political differentiation. The tendencies when it comes to the transformation of Russia’s “pre-politics” are multidirectional and conflicting: together with amplified “pre-policy” by means of increasing archaism, we can also observe pre-political actors occasionally resorting to certain principles of “under-policy” and “anti-policy”, when “pre-policy” is unable to help said actors solve the problems that they face.
power, politics, quasi-politics, Russian transformations
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