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Alternative title:

“Sovereign democracy”: the roots, contents and critique of contemporary russian political thought

Subject and Keywords:

Russia   authoritarianism   sovereign democracy   Putin, Vladimir


Background: The paper is devoted to the concept of ‘‘sovereign democracy’’ that emerged in Russia in 2005 and was thought to play an important political role. The concept, authored by Vladimir Surkov, the deputy chief of the Administration of the President, having both internal and external political goals, was the first attempt of the formulation of the values of the new political system under Vladimir Putin. The paper discusses the roots of ‘‘sovereign democracy’’, its contents, and critique. It also presents the circumstances of a decline of this concept in 2007–2008, which resulted from the new rhetoric of President Dmitry Medvedev.Objectives: The main goal of the following paper is to present and discuss the contents of the Russian political concept of “sovereign democracy”. Since this concept was the first, and as it turned out — only attempt by the Russian ruling elite to define its own ideological identity, the following study enables us to make some remarks regarding the axiology and ideological maturity of “Putinism”. Methods: The adopted perspective of the investigation imposes the employment of the historical method and the exegesis of the documents.Results: “Sovereign democracy” was the first effort of this kind to define contemporary Russian national interests, the challenges and opportunities, both in internal and external dimensions. It embraces a diagnosis of Russia’s main problems in the first decade of the 21st century: the vulnerability of the economy based on the export of oil and gas, the unfavourable international situation, and a possible unipolar world order. It has had national and international aims: consolidation of the political elite and a clear message to international society that Russia will not give up the reshaping of the world towards a multipolar one. Since its beginning, the concept was understood doubly — as a future “state ideology” and as a short-lived project for current political purposes. Despite the fact that it was officially adopted by the “One Russia” party, it was not recognised by V. Putin and did not obtain any official status. Conclusions: Being, in fact, the product of one man — Vladimir Surkov, the concept of sovereign democracy emerged in 2005 as a response to the need for a tool to obilise society before parliamentary and presidential elections. As a result of the restrained and sceptical attitude of V. Putin and D. Medvedev, the concept was not developed and abandoned by the “One Russia” ruling party.

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ISSN 2300-7249   ISSN 0239-6661




PAd P 101182 II



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