Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2014

Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Political Science

Author's Keywords

Russia; Sovereign democracy; Belarus; Color revolutions; Public chamber

Abstract

The Russian Federation developed very different ideologies on the concept of democracy. In 2006, Vladislav Surkov, the First Deputy of the Chief of the Russian Presidential Administration, coined the term “sovereign democracy”. This gave a name to the Russian form of “managed” democracy and introduced a Russian alternative to Western liberal democracy: Sovereign Democracy. It asserts that Russia is a democracy and this fact must never be questioned by any state or such action will be viewed by the Kremlin as unwanted intervention in its domestic affairs. The Kremlin reacted to the recent Color Revolutions in the former Soviet Bloc by defining the concept of sovereign democracy. Russian democratic ideology, depicted within sovereign democracy, states both sovereignty and democracy are socially and culturally determined. The Kremlin argues Western interference, such as supporting the Color Revolutions, imposed Western conceptions of democracy on Russian civilians, and this interference is an attempt to influence Russia’s political philosophies and institutions. Putin and his administration emphasized the demarcation between Russian sovereign democracy and Western liberal democracy. Sovereign democracy allows the Kremlin to validate their increasingly undemocratic domestic and international policies. In particular, it led to the creation of the domestic agency, Russian Federal Public Chamber, in 2006 and heavily influenced the Kremlin’s decision to assist Belarusian President Alexsandr Lukashenko after the presidential elections in 2006. When the Kremlin proclaimed sovereign democracy as the uniquely Russian form of democracy, it crafted itself a defense against international criticism; because, to question sovereign democracy, and the policies it led too, would be tantamount to criticizing Russian social and cultural history.

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