Representative Power and the Russian State
Russia traces its lineage as an organised polity to the princedom called ‘Rus’ which arose over one thousand years ago in Kiev, today the capital of Ukraine. For most of its history, Russia has been ruled autocratically. Since 1991, when the USSR dissolved and communist rule ended, Russia has been rebuilding its political institutions. Its future as a democratic state remains shrouded in uncertainty, however. President Boris Yeltsin’s decrees of September and October 1993, abolishing the parliament, demanding new elections, and then (in November) issuing the draft of a new and strongly presidential constitution, illustrate yet again the dilemma for an autocratic reformer: the use of authoritarian means, even to achieve democratic ends, reinforces the autocratic principle.
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