Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, February 10, 2012

Impressive analysis by Putin

Rebecca Small, who teaches in Virginia, pointed out an article by Vladimir Putin about governance. It sounds like his personal campaign platform, and like all well-constructed platforms, it's an impressive analysis. The question is, as it is with all platforms, how much is the statement political propaganda and how much is it honest intent. As a primary source document, it makes a great teaching tool.

The quotes below come from the version on the Russian Premier's web site. A shorter version appeared in the Washington Post.

Democracy and the quality of government
Sustainable social development is impossible without a competent state, while genuine democracy is a fundamental condition for developing a state designed to serve public interests.

Real democracy cannot be created overnight and cannot be a carbon copy of some external example…

Our society has changed radically since the early 2000s. Many people have become more prosperous, are better educated and are therefore more critical. New demands on the government and the advance of the middle class above the narrow objective of guaranteeing their own prosperity are the results of our efforts. This is what we wanted to achieve.

Political competition lies at the heart of democracy — it is its driving force. When such competition reflects the real interests of social groups, it strengthens the government’s power many times over…

Today, the quality of governance in Russia lags behind the readiness of civil society to participate in it. Our civil society has become much more mature, active and responsible. We need to modernise the mechanisms of our democracy so that they correspond to this increase in social activity…

We have to adjust the mechanisms of the political system so that they capture and reflect the interests of large social groups and ensure public coordination of these interests. The system should not only ensure the legitimacy of power, but also ensure that people have confidence that they have a fair government, including in those cases when they are in a minority…

Competition among states for ideas, people and capital is the reality of the global world. In fact, they are competing for the future of their nations within this developing global world.

We need a new kind of national awareness, with a focus on establishing the best, most competitive environment for everyday life, creative activities and enterprise. This vision should underlie all the functions of the state machine. We should always operate out of the belief that Russian people, and even more so Russian capital, know how things are organised in other countries and are entitled to choose the best…

In conclusion, I would like to emphasise that we are proposing concrete solutions. Their practical implementation will make the rule by the people – or democracy – true and real, and place the efforts of the government at the service of the interests of society. Taken together, these measures will ensure the sustainable and successful development of Russia and its modern society.

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