Donna Bahry, “The New Federalism and the Paradoxes of Regional Sovereignty in Russia”
During the 1990s Russia appeared to be a classic example of the perils of federalism in political transition. Powerful ethnically based republics challenged the center on key reforms, and a weak federal government appeared unable to counter their claims to sovereignty. Since the election of 2000, however, regional prerogatives have been substantially curtailed. An assertive center has dramatically reined in much more pliant republics. How could the center roll back the regions’ privileges so quickly? In fact, republic sovereignty was seriously limited. Federal authorities retained key controls over local resources, and federal inability to create effective market institutions constrained regional opportunities to develop countervailing external ties.
Henry E. Hale, “Why Not Parties? Electoral Markets, Party Substitutes, and Stalled Democratization in Russia”
Political party development in transitional polities can usefully be understood to emerge from imperfect competition in a market for electoral services in which candidates are consumers. The roots of weak party development are potentially to be found not only in institutional design and social cleavages, but also in the possible presence of strong party substitutes capable of successfully competing against parties in such markets. This model is shown to offer a solution to seemingly contradictory findings. It is backed by an original dataset on candidates and voting patterns in the understudied single member district half of Russia’s parliamentary elections.
Yanqi Tong, “Environmental Movements in Transitional Societies: A Comparative Study of Taiwan and China”
Economic development produces two types of environmental movement: pollution-driven protests and world-view motivated nongovernmental organizations. These different types require different political opportunities and therefore interact with the political process in different ways. Local environmental protests are mainly materialistic and do not challenge the political structure in fundamental ways. The political opportunity they require is not large, and they do not play a decisive role in political transition. Nongovernmental environmental organizations, in contrast, require the redefinition of state-society relations. They demand more political space, challenge the authoritarian political structure, and play a much bigger role in political transition. With democratization, environmental movements become a serious political actor and ally for political elites.
Pippa Norris, Stefaan Walgrave, and Peter Von Aelst, “Who Demonstrates? Antistate Rebels, Conventional Participants, or Everyone?”
Who participates in demonstrations? Analyses of participants have emphasized the role of political disaffection, strategic resources, and context. Against the backdrop of the rise of protest politics in both older and newer democracies, this article addresses the question by focusing on Belgium, a postindustrial society that exemplifies changes in protest politics and can be studied through detailed surveys of participants in demonstrations. Demonstrators are similar to the Belgian population in general. There is little evidence that they are antistate radicals. Yet some significant social, attitudinal, and behavioral contrasts demarcate different groups of demonstrators. Far from threatening the state, demonstrations have become a major channel of public participation in democracies.
Philip G. Roessler, “Donor-Induced Democratization and Privatization of State Violence in Kenya and Rwanda”
African regimes’ repressive strategies changed during the post-1989 wave of democratization. Conventional methods of coercion—targeting of the opposition by the official security forces—were insufficient and costly in multiparty regimes. Democratization enfranchised the opposition and broadened the range of political challengers to include rural constituencies and entire ethnic groups. Furthermore, human rights abuses raised the threat of international sanctions at a much lower threshold than during the cold war. Rulers in Kenya and Rwanda responded by privatizing state violence. Privatized repression allowed them to neutralize widespread challenges, while distancing themselves from political violence to minimize friction with aid donors.
Review Article: Nathan Gilbert Quimpo, “Oligarchic Patrimonialism, Bossism, Electoral Clientelism, and Contested Democracy in the Philippines”
The patron-client, patrimonial or elite democracy, and neocolonial or dependency frameworks have been the three prominent interpretations of Philippine politics. New interpretations — the patrimonial oligarchic state, bossism, and the clientelist electoral regime — are essentially variations of the patrimonial/elite democracy framework. Both old and new interpretations suffer from a critical weakness: a one-sided, top-down view of Philippine politics. An alternative interpretation is contested democracy, combining the frameworks of elite democracy and democracy from below. Philippine politics is characterized by a contestation between a patrimonial elite that promotes a minimalist view of democracy and subordinate classes and ethnic communities that want a more participatory and egalitarian democracy.