Inside Out: Domestic Political Change and Foreign Policy in Vladimir Putin's First Term

By Charap, Samuel | Demokratizatsiya, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

Inside Out: Domestic Political Change and Foreign Policy in Vladimir Putin's First Term


Charap, Samuel, Demokratizatsiya


Abstract: In the 1990s, scholars began to investigate the impact of democratization on the foreign policy behavior of transition states such as Russia. In the era of President Vladimir Putin, however, such analyses became problematic in light of the contradictory nature of Russia's recent political development. The author suggests a new framework for analysis that focuses on the explanatory variable of executive strength. Executive strength is defined in terms of the degree of internal fragmentation and the relative authority of the executive vis-a-vis other political institutions. The author then analyzes two relevant aspects of political change in Putin's first term: center-regional dynamics and business-state relations. The strengthening of the executive that resulted from these two shifts had several important effects on Russian foreign policy.

Keywords: executive branch, foreign policy, Putin, Russia

Introduction

How does political upheaval at home affect a state's behavior abroad? The vast domestic political change in Russia in the past twenty years has given political scientists occasion to address this question as it pertains to Moscow's foreign policy. In the 1990s, they sought answers through the lens of regime change, assessing the impact of democratization on the country's international conduct. (1) The notion that democracies do not go to war with each other (democratic peace theory) was refashioned for transitional regimes. New theories--most prominently, one that held that democratizing states are likely to behave belligerently in international affairs--were built and tested. (2) Although the operational assumption of the early studies--that politics, and thus foreign policymaking, in post-Soviet Russia was more "democratic" than it was during the Soviet period--was relatively uncontroversial, there is disagreement about the democratic trajectory of Russian politics under Putin. There is a consensus that pluralism has declined significantly since 2000, but academic analysis is divided over the impact of Putin's first term political reforms on the overall democratic quality of the Russian political system. Moreover, the apparent "consolidation" of a hybrid regime calls into question the utility of the term "democratization" in the Russian case. (3) Focusing on the regime's democratic credentials in a study of the links between domestic politics and foreign policy under Putin could therefore obscure more than it would illuminate.

This article addresses the external consequences of domestic political change in Putin's first term while avoiding assessments about the democratic quality (or lack thereof) of his regime. Given the degree of change, it seems likely that Putin's reordering of domestic politics has affected Russia's international behavior. For the most part, however, little work on this question has been conducted. (4) This article fills this gap by suggesting a framework for analysis and then investigating the empirical evidence from the political change that took place in Putin's first term.

Accounting for Change: A Domestic Politics Framework

One aspect of political change in post-Soviet Russia that seems likely to have an impact on foreign policy output is variation in the authority and capacity of the executive branch in domestic politics. (5) This analytical lens, which I call executive strength--derived from the political science literature on state strength (6)--provides for a higher degree of analytic specificity than state-centric approaches. A focus on the executive--in the Russian case, the president, the presidential administration, the government (pravitel'stvo) and the executive ministries--avoids certain assumptions in the state strength literature that have proven problematic in the post-Soviet context. (7) This concept is applicable across the post-Soviet states, where the executive has, on the one hand, played a central role in public life and, on the other, varied in strength. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Inside Out: Domestic Political Change and Foreign Policy in Vladimir Putin's First Term
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.