The New Elite in Post-Communist Eastern Europe

By Vladimir Shlapentokh; Christopher Vanderpool et al. | Go to book overview

13
The Ruling Elite of Tatarstan Contemporary Challenges and Problems of Adjustment

Midkhat Farukshin

Regional or local elites play an important role in the political life of any society. The elite represents a distinct and influential force in the political process. It promotes its own interests and possesses considerable resources to do so. Russian history has shown that defying the vested interests of the local elite is bound to trigger conflicts and social tension.

Local political elites also serve as the vehicle of national policy in their respective regions -- a pillar in the mechanism of state operation. Normal operation of society and government is impossible without close cooperation between regional and national elites. Moreover, local political elites are a source of new blood for the national elite, predominant in the central organs of power.

The study of local political elites in Russia is a highly pertinent but little explored topic in political science and sociology. It is a broad subject since the political elite in every region of Russia has its own unique character. This essay explores the basic framework of the present-day ruling political elite in the Tatarstan Republic. Tatarstan is a political entity within the Russian Federation. The republic is located 500 miles east of Moscow; it covers an area of more than 26,000 square miles and has a population of 3.7 million people.

This essay will show that the slow pace of reforms in Tatarstan, ineffective government policy, and the membership and methods of forming the local elite provide ample evidence that the elite does not reflect the potential and the needs of the Tatarstan society. The elite is slow to respond to new social trends and is in need of a major overhaul.

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