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Russia's Road to Deeper Democracy

Subject Democracy -- Russia (Federation)


It has become conventional wisdom that Russia is in the midst of a well-entrenched and lengthy retreat from democracya reaction to the turbulence of the 1990s and the hardships of the economic decline that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.Yet public opinion surveys suggest widespread support in Russian society for stronger democratic institutions and dissatisfaction with the degree of democracy provided by Russias current political institutions. In Russias Road to Deeper Democracy, Tom Bjorkman argues that the recent pattern of retreat from democratic values reflects the self-interest of a small segment of Russias elite that stands to lose from vigorous pluralism and stronger democratic institutions whose outcomes they cannot control.While acknowledging that Russian citizens must determine their own path to deeper democracy, Bjorkman insists that the United States can help create forward movement by drawing Russia into Western institutions and insisting that Russias leaders adhere to common standards of democratic practice. By doing so, Bjorkman argues, the United States. can strengthen the hand of those elements within the elite who promote policies that would move Russia toward greater democracy.

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