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   Course Title    Nationalism in the Electoral Politics of Contemporary Russia: Party Strategies and Voter Responses
Lecturer    Iulia Shevchenko
Institution    European University of St. Petersburg
Country    Russian Federation


Course Description and Objectives

The course is focused on the role played by nationalism in mobilizing electoral support in Russia. The course will consist of 7 lectures and 7 seminars. Students will leave the course with a broad, factual knowledge about interconnections between nationalism and electoral politics in Russia, as well as with an introduction to the current debates among scholars on the origins of nationalist mobilization.

In Eastern Europe nationalism has been both a force for progressive and revolutionary change, as well as mobilizing factor in authoritarian politics. The emergence of nationalism in Russia in the past decade is usually associated with the collapse of the communist regime. Many scholars view the field of political alternatives in Russia as a two-dimensional space that, in addition to the left-right axis, includes nationalism as an important dimension of electoral competition. In the light of recent electoral developments in Russia, however, this approach becomes seemingly irrelevant. Already in 1995, the share of the vote jointly cast for several nationalist parties fell quite drastically in comparison to the 1993 parliamentary elections, which made several analysts claim that nationalism ceased to serve as an important source of electoral mobilization. This claim was supported by the results of the 1996 presidential election. The 1999 parliamentary and 2000 presidential elections further decreased the share of the nationalist vote. Does nationalism wither away?

Course Requirements and Grading

Students will write 8-page midterm and 15-page final research papers. Students will choose the topic of their paper in consultation with the professor. They are also required to actively participate in all seminars.

Midterm paper: 30%;

Final paper: 40%;

Seminars: 30%.

Course Content and Readings

Lecture-Seminar 1

The cognitive foundations of contemporary Russian nationalism.

The specific aim is to establish what makes Russian party elites explore this ideological dimension in their search for political identity. It is argued that as a cognitive device, nationalism allows party politicians in Russia to explain the world in a way that is profoundly consistent with their intellectual backgrounds.

Mandatory readings:

Daniel, A., and N. Mitrokhin (1996), ‘Dissidentskie korni ‘novykh kraine pravykh’ v Rossii’, in Nuzhen li Rossii Gitler? (Moscow).

Erunov, I., and V. Solovei (1991), Russkoe delo segodnya (Moscow).

Duka, A. (1998), ‘Politicheskii diskurs oppozitsii v sovremennoi Rossii’, Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsial’noi antropologii, No. 1.

Recommended readings:

Yanov, A. (1987), The Russian Challenge and the Year 2000 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), pp. 75-134.

Ivanov et al. (1995), ‘Etnopoliticheskaia situatsiia v regionakh Rossiiskoi Federatsii’, Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniia, No. 6.

Lecture-Seminar 2

The evolution and electoral history of Russian nationalist parties.

It is stressed that nationalist parties lack their own organizational capacities and resources that makes the ideological niche of nationalists easily available for appropriation by their more organizationally developed rivals. The analyze of factors influencing the organizational underdevelopment of nationalist parties.

Mandatory readings:

Solovei, V. (1992), ‘Sovremennyi russkii natsionalizm: ideino-politicheskaia klassifikatsiia’, Obshchestvennye nauki i sovremennost’, No. 2.

Ermakov, Ia. et al. (1993), ‘Kommunisticheskoe dvizhenie v period zapreta: ot KPSS k KPRF’, Kentavr, No. 3.

Vite, O. et al., eds. (1992), Natsional’naia pravaia prezhde i teper’: istoriko-sotsiologicheskie ocherki (St. Petersburg).

Recommended readings:

Kholmskaia, M. (1994), ‘Komdvizhenie v Rossii: organizatsionnyi etap’, Vlast’, No. 12.

Verkhovskii, A., and V. Pribylovskii (1996), Natsional-patrioticheskie organizatsii v Rossii: Istoriia, sovremennost’, ekstremistskie tendentsii (Moscow).

Lester, J. (1995), Modern Tsars and Princes: The Struggle for Hegemony in Russia (London: Verso, 1995), pp.149-188.

Lecture-Seminar 3

The ideological and organizational evolution of non-nationalistic Russian parties.

The goal is to reveal the strategic ideological choices made by party elites under the varying constraints of electoral competition and to trace the impact of these choices on the organizational cohesion and sustainability of individual political parties. By assuming nationalist ideological stances political parties that can be safely located along the left-right ideological axis seek to increase their electoral appeal. The evolution of Russian political parties towards nationalism is greatly facilitated by the fact that nationalist parties lack their own organizational capacities and resources.

Mandatory readings:

Fish, M. S. (1995), ‘The Advent of Multipartism in Russia, 1993-1995’, Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 11.

Golosov, G. V. (1998), ‘Who Survives? Party Origins, Organisational Development, and Electoral Performance in Post-Communist Russia’, Political Studies, Vol. 46.

Recommended readings:

Golosov, G. V. (1996), Modes of Communist Rule, Democratic Transition, and Party System Formation in Four East European Countries, Donald W. Treadgold Paper in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies No. 9 (Seattle, WA: Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington), the chapter on Russian political parties.

Hahn, G. M. (1994), ‘Opposition Politics in Russia’, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 46.

Lecture-Seminar 4

Institutional design and the evolution of Russian political parties towards nationalism.

The aim is to trace how Russia’s president-parliamentary system facilitates the party elites’ adherence to nationalism.

Mandatory readings

Golosov, G. V. (1999), ‘Political Parties in the 1993-1996 Elections’, in V. Gel’man and G. V. Golosov, eds, Elections in Russia, 1993-1996: Analyses, Documents and Data (Berlin: Edition Sigma).

Mainwaring, Scott and Timothy R. Scully (1995), ‘Party Systems in Latin America’ in Building Democratic Institutions: Party Systems in Latin America, eds. Scott Mainwaring and Timothy R. Scully (Stanford: Stanford University Press), pp. 1-34.

Recommended readings:

Shevchenko, I. (1999a), ‘Konflikt mezhdu vetvyami vlasti i electoral'noe povedenie v Rossii’, Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, No 1.

Lecture-Seminar 5

Nationalist rhetoric on the Duma’s floor.

The Duma is an important arena of shaping the programmatic agendas of political parties. The goal is to trace the role of nationalism in coalition strategies of opposition legislative parties, specifically, in linking together the communist and nationalist wings of the Russian opposition.

Mandatory readings:

Chekalkin, V. (1995), ‘Federal’noe Sobranie Rossii: dva goda raboty’, Vlast’, 1995, No. 11.

Remington, T. F. and S. S. Smith (1995), ‘The Development of Parliamentary Parties in Russia’, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 4.

Makarenko, B. (1996), ‘Gosudarstvennaia Duma: pervaia godovshchina’, Vlast’, 1996, No. 12.

Recommended readings:

Fedorov, Iu. (1998), ‘Parlament v transformatsionnom protsesse v Rossii", in L. Shevtsova (gen. ed.), Rossiia politicheskaia (Moskva, Moskovskii Tsentr Karnegi).

Haspel, M. (1998), ‘Should Party in Parliament be Weak or Strong? The Rules Debate in the Russian State Duma’, in John Lö wenhardt (ed.), Party Politics in Post-Communist Russia (London and Portland, OR, Frank Cass).

Lecture-Seminar 6

Nationalist rhetoric and voters’ attitudes.

It is discussed to what extent nationalism helps individual political actors secure electoral support, that is, how well this mode of opposition rhetoric fits into the expectations of the voters.

Mandatory readings:

Shevchenko, I. (1999), ‘Explaining the Electoral Results’, in V. Gel’man and G. V. Golosov, eds, Elections in Russia, 1993-1996: Analyses, Documents and Data (Berlin: Edition Sigma).

Klyamkin, I. (1996), ‘Elektorat osnovnykh izbiratel’nykh ob’’edinenii na parlamentskikh vyborakhv 1995 g. po materialam Fonda Obshchestvennoe Mnenie’, in M. McFaul and N. Petrov (eds), Parlamentskie vybory 1995 goda v Rossii (Moscow).

Zdravomyslov, A. (1996), ‘Etnopoliticheskie protsessy i dinamika natsional’nogo samosoznaniia rossiian’, Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniia, No. 12.

Recommended readings:

Hough, J.F. (1994), "The Russian Election of 1993: Public Attitudes Toward Economic Reform and Democratization", Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 10.

Whitefield, S., and G. Evans (1994), ‘The Russian Elections of 1993: Public Opinion and the Transition Experience’, Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 10.

Lecture-Seminar 7

Nationalism in Russian regions’ electoral politics.

The goal is to analyze the roles played by nationalist rhetoric in the regional level electoral politics.

Mandatory readings:

Orttung, R. W. (1992), ‘The Russian Right and the Dilemmas of Party Organisation’, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 44.

Chugrov, S. (1996), "Elektoral’noe povedenie rossiiskikh regionov’, Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia, No. 6.

Golosov, G. V. (1994), Political Parties in Western Siberia, August 1991 — October 1993, Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies Occasional Paper No. 257 (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars).

Recommended readings:

Afanas’ev, M. (1995), ‘Povedenie izbiratelei i elektoral’naia politika v Rossii’, Polis, No. 3.



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