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Putin Vs. Civil Society Essay

2090 words - 9 pages

The social-political status of contemporary Russia is quite the mixed bag. While you have Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party with a vast majority of the vote in nearly every election, there is a large variety of groups who speak out against him. In the days following the recent presidential election, where Putin was elected for a third term, tens of thousands of Russians protested the results of the election. Several different political and social groups make up these kind of protests, but what is interesting that most of these group’s ideologies have one thing in common—Nationalism. Nationalism come in various forms, but the three that are going to be discussed are Social, ...view middle of the document...

Society went from an ancient regime with a unified monarchy and church, and a nobility who used its power over the peasant population, to an atheist communist state, who collectivized and industrialized the nation and the individual.
The self-reconstruction that has seemingly been imposed by the new regime (under Putin) is being countered by “over-embracing” nationalist ideology. These radicals have been “suppressed [because they] might have become a danger to the course taken by former President Putin and his camp.” These groups have taken anti-liberal, anti- immigrant, and anti-Putin ideologies in response to the subtle suppression.
First to be discussed are the Imperial Nationalists. Imperial Nationalism is embodied in the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). Despite the groups appellation there is nothing Liberal about the group, as in actuality the group is very right-wing when it comes to its ideologies. The LDPR was founded in 1990 as the first sanctioned opposition party. The first presidential elections in 1991 are considered a success for the party, with its leader coming in third place. The LDPR has always had a platform that possessed populist ideas like eliminating taxes for small businesses and doubling the salary of teachers. It was populist ideas like this that would earn the LDPR its largest vote received to this day in the 1993 Duma elections. Zhirinovsky and the LDPR managed to secure twenty-three percent of the vote. The LDPR has not managed to hold that amount of the vote, and usually their percentage is always below ten percent for the Duma elections since 1993. The founder and leader of the LDPR, Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovsky, is a longtime standing figure in Russian politics. He has always voiced a strong disdain for Russia’s geopolitical “enemies” like the European Union, and the United states. At a rally in Vladivostok last year, Zhirinovsky said that “the EU was far worse than the Soviet Union... [and that] NATO was only the puppet of [U.S.] Interests”. Zhirinovsky believes that “Russia should be tougher, more steadfast and assertive in its foreign policy, as well as more explicit in stating its interests”. The ultimate foreign policy goal of the LDPR is to bring Russia back to the geopolitical power it once was (in the form of the Soviet Union). Zhirinovsky views the United States as the greatest threat to world, and accuses the U.S. of “aspiring for global domination”. However Zhirinovsky later changes his stance somewhat, suggesting that the U.S. and Russia should forget all their current allies and friends, and the two nations should form a strategic agreement, and essentially rule the together. While many political commentators accuse the LDPR of being an ultra-nationalist party, the group completely denies the accusations. The main defense against these claims is that, according to the LDPR, ultra-nationalists use force to get what they want while the LDPR uses the democratic system. Zhirinovsky claims...

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