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Exam 2
Communism, Russia and China
Political Studies
Undergraduate 1

Additional Political Studies Flashcards




-Deterministic theory (history happens despite what people do) that states that countries go through stages: Feudalism leads to Capitalism, which concentrates wealth into fewer and fewer hands and self-destructs and leads to Communism
-Marx believed that the revolution would most likely occur in the most developed capitalist countries where the proletariat (working class) would revolt
-Marx visualized the revolution as a spontaneous insurrection
-Lenin adapted Marx's ideas to create a voluntaristic theory in which the actions of dedicated revolutionaries could speed up the historic process
-Lenin saw the revolution taking place in the least developed societies because this allows for peasant participation along with the revolutionary leaders (vanguard)
-The revolution would be a product of planning by the dedicated activists that made up the Vanguard Party, such as the case of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia
Maoism, and Maoism v. Leninism
-Mao drew support from a mass-based party instead of Lenin's small vanguard party
-The Chinese Communist party (CCP) under Mao fought a long military battle to win power, while the Bolsheviks didn't have to fight
-Mao said that the peasants would lead the revolution, while Lenin believed it would be the working class
-The CCP consolidated their political power in the rural areas, while the Bolsheviks consolidated their political power in the urban areas
Similarities between China and USSR
-The Soviets were key advisors to the new Chinese government and helped them set up the same type parallel state / party structure for governing
-It worked like the Soviet system with the party in control and the state implementing the party's demands
-The Chinese economy was state controlled , like the USSR and China also had a huge bureaucracy
Differences between China and USSR
-China is a unitary system and tries to deny the existence of any differences in ethnicities, cultures or religions, while the USSR created a federal system on paper that paid lip service to ethnic diversity
-The military (PLA) has played a greater role in China because it was formed prior to the revolution and fought to bring CCP to power. It has also had to be a referee between factions in the CCP and to protect party control during uprisings
Imperial Russia
-Russia was a feudal monarchy headed by a tsar with autocratic powers that allowed for control of a large empire until the 20th century
-There were huge inequalities between the peasants and the elites in the late 1800s, industrialization and urbanization radicalized the working classes
-Intellectual formed the Socialist Party in 1898, which split into two factions, the Bolsheviks (majority) led by Lenin and the Mensheviks (minority)
-Loss in the Russo-Japanese War led to an uprising and temporary reforms known as the October Manifesto in 1905
Revolutionary Russia
-Heavy losses in WW1 led to another uprising in 1917 and democratic moderates deposed the tsar and took control of the army deciding to remain in the war
-The revolutionary soviets ruled the major cities and after Lenin's return from exile they were able to use deserting soldiers to oust provisional government in late 1917
-Lenin and his Communist Party created the first socialist revolutionary state, the USSR
The Soviet System
-Lenin died in 1924 and Stalin took over and controlled the development of the Soviet system from 1927-1953, creating a totalitarian police state that used terror to control opposition
-Khrushchev became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1957, ending the years use of terror and attempting some reforms, although his policies were not successful
-From 1964 - 1985 Soviet leaders returned to maintaining the status quo, while increasing the military buildup and aiding several nationalist movements in Asia and Africa, including the disastrous invasion of Afghanistan in 1979
Collapse of Soviet Union
-Gorbachev became leader in 1985 and began reforms toward economic freedom (perestroika) and political openness (glasnost)
-Economic reform proved difficult because of the entrenched interests of the Soviet bureaucracy and political reform unleashed tensions among suppressed nationalities
-Society was also more difficult to control due to higher levels of education and greater exposure to information
[Gorbachev resigned on December 25, 1991 and the Soviet Union ceased to exist, leaving 15 independent countries, with Yeltsin the leader of Russia
Russian Political Culture-Authoritarian Tradition
-Russia has almost always been ruled by authoritarian leaders
-Many Russians today still associate authoritarianism with greater unity and stability
Russian Political Culture-
Strong Leadership
-Russians' concern for stability and order supports strong leadership to ensure this
-Russian tradition even supports the notion of patrimonial, or seeing leaders as father figures who know what's best for the people
Russian Political Culture-Order Over Liberty
-Russians' main concern is that the state is capable of providing order
-Russians have less concern over ensuring their civil liberties are protected
Russian Political Culture--Closed Politics
-Russians are not used to government being open to public discussion
-Many Russians are still uncomfortable expressing their opinions openly
Russian Political Culture--Collectivism
-Russian tradition has supported society or the group over the individual with a history of collective ownership and state control over business and social services
-Many Russians still support government provision of welfare, education, healthcare and other services
Russian Political Culture--Nationalistic
-Russians have historically been preoccupied with national security and fear of invasion
-Fear of invasion or other forms of chaos has led to strong feelings of nationalism, where Russians are more likely to value the promotion of national values and interests above those of individuals and the wider community
Russian Constitution
-The 1993 constitution creates a federal republic with a dual executive
-There is also a bicameral Federal Assembly and a Constitutional Court
-An extensive Bill of Rights guarantees personal freedoms, including the right to a private life
Russian President
-The president is elected for a maximum of two four-year terms and serves as head of state, commander-in-chief, and foreign policy maker
-Powers include issuing edicts that have the force of law, appointing the prime minister, cabinet ministers and justices to the Constitutional Court, all with approval by the Duma, (except defense, foreign affairs and internal affairs), although rejecting the president's nominee for prime minister three times in a row will result in new elections for the Duma
-The president can dissolve the Duma and call elections at any time and
The president also has the power to veto laws passed by the Duma, but this can be overridden with a two-thirds vote in the Duma
-The president can introduce martial law or declare a state of emergency , but this requires the approval of the Federation Council
-The Russian president is considered extremely powerful due to his constitutional powers, his control of both chambers of the Russian legislature, and his new abilities to control regional governments
Russian Prime Minister and Cabinet
-The prime minister and the other ministers, including the most powerful (foreign, interior, intelligence, and defense) form the Government of the Russian Federation
-The government drafts the federal budget, oversees economic policy, and oversees the implementation of law and policy by the bureaucracy
-The prime minister takes over as acting president in case of death, resignation or impeachment, but new presidential elections must be held within three months
Russian Federation Council
-The Federation Council is designed to represent the different regions in Russia, but it is relatively weak
-It is made up of 178 representatives appointed by local legislatures and their executives, although Putin consolidated his control by appointing the governors and other executives since 2005
-The Federation Council has jurisdiction over relations between the federal government and the regions and republics and can discuss all laws passed by the Duma, although its approval is only needed for laws involving economic or defense issues and the Duma can override a Council veto with two-thirds vote
-The Council confirms nominations to the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court, approves changes to the internal borders of Russian subjects, approves presidential declarations of martial law or state of emergency, schedules presidential elections, and has the sole power to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president
Russia-State Duma
-The Duma is the major lawmaking body in the Federal Assembly and is made up of 450 members elected for maximum four-year terms, half by PR and half by SMDP in past elections
Since changes in electoral laws that took effect in the December 2, 2007 elections all 450 members of the Duma are chosen by PR using party lists
The Duma can discuss and adopt both federal laws and constitutional laws, which change or clarify the constitution
-Proposals for new laws can be submitted by either house of the Federal assembly, the president, the government, legislatures of local units of government, or even the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court
Powers include confirming presidential appointments for prime minister and other government ministers, except defense, foreign affairs, and internal affairs
-The Duma can introduce motions of no confidence in the government which can result in the president appointing a new prime minister
-The Duma remains fairly weak in comparison to the president and has been controlled by pro-Kremlin parties since the December 2003 elections
Russian Constitutional Court
-The Constitutional Court has the task of protecting and interpreting the constitution
-It is made up of 19 members nominated for 12 year terms by the president and confirmed by the Federal Council
-There is also a Supreme Court which is the highest court of appeal for civil, criminal, and administrative cases
Russian Subnational Government
-Under the 1993 Constitution, Russai has 89 equal "subjects", or components: 21 republics, 6 krays (territories), 49 oblasts (provinces). 2 "cities of federal significance" (Moscow and St. petersberg), and 11 autonomous okrugs, all of which have their own government institutions and their own systems of law
-Recent changes in law replaced regional leaders with appointed representatives in the Federation Council (2000) and allow the president to appoint regional governors (2005)
Russian Electoral System--President
-General election determined by majority popular vote without primaries
-If no one candidate receives over 50% of the vote, a run-off election is held between the top two vote getters within 15 days
-Voter turnout has been between 64 and 70% since 1993
-Voters may also choose to vote "Against All Candidates" and about 5% do so
-Candidates often run as independents without any party affiliation, which was true of Yeltsin and Putin
-Putin received 71% of the vote in the first round of the 2004 election
-Putin's hand-picked successor, Dimitry Medvedev, won with over 70% in 2008
Russian Electoral System--State Duma
-Beginning in 2007, all 450 seats are chosen by PR using party lists
-The PR votes are distributed based on the percent of vote each party receives, provided that each receives at least 7% of the national vote
-Charges were made in the 2003 election that taxpayer money and state television were used to promote parties that supported the Putin administration
-Additional charges were made in the 2008 presidential election when opposition candidates were denied access to media
Russian Electoral System--Local Government
-A 2005 law allows the president to appoint top regional leaders, such as governors, who are then confirmed locally
-This has been criticized as undemocratic and for giving Putin too much power
Russian Political Parties--United Russia
-Created in 2003 from the merger of two centrist parties, the Party of Russian Unity created in 1999 as a platform for then prime minister Vladimir Putin and Fatherland-All Russia, an opposition party set up by other political leaders
-The party won 222 seats in 2003, the largest block of seats for any one party in post communist Russia
-United Russia joined with other pro-Kremlin parties, including the People's Party, Motherland and the Liberal Democrats, to form a voting coalition of 316 seats that gave Putin considerable power to achieve his policy goals
-United Russia gained seats in 2007 winning 64% of the popular vote and 70% of the seats in the Duma
Russian Political Parties--Communist Party
-Left-wing, although they claim they would not restore state ownership and a planned economy
-They have received as high as 25% of the votes in the Duma in 1995 and their presidential candidate received 40% of the vote in 1996, but their numbers have fallen winning only 53 seats in the 2003 State Duma elections
-In 2007, the Communist Party won 12% of the vote for the Duma
-In the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, their candidate received 14% and 17% of the vote
Russian Political Parties--Yabloko
-Reformist party founded in 1993 and headed by Grigory Yavlinsky
-The party won 22 seats in the 1999 election and only 4 seats in 2003
-No seats were won in 2007
Russian Political Parties--Liberal Democratic Party
-Nationalist party with neo-fascist elements led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky who has been compared to Hitler
-The party's strength declined in 1999 winning only 17 seats, but it doubled its representation in 2003 and joined the pro-Kremlin block of parties in the Duma
-In 2007 the LDP won 40 seats in the Duma
Russian Policymaking
-The power over decision making in Russian politics has become fluid and changeable
-The executive is clearly dominant over the legislature and Putin has made the presidency even more powerful
-The greatest source of opposing power has come from oligarchs, but Putin has managed to exile or imprison several of the most powerful
-The relationship between government, bureaucracy and business is close and continues to be plagued with corruption on a significant scale
Russian Economic Policy
-Russia faces a number of serious economic problems, including 13% inflation, capital flight, poor manufacturing quality, decaying infrastructure, 10% unemployment, 33% poverty rate, high crime rates, and corruption within government and business
-The Russian economy has seen growth due to the increase in oil prices, but the dependence on exports of raw materials does not create stability
Russia needs to generate investment to fuel its economic recovery, but foreign investment has tended to fan the fires of nationalism and Russia's debt crisis makes it difficult to get new loans
-Russia's economic problems have made it impossible for it to achieve its goal of admission to the WTO
Russian Foreign Policy
-Russia is at odds with the EU and the United States over how to handle the problem of Kosovo, since Russia continues to side with its Serbian ally
-Russia has opposed the expansion of NATO to include former Soviet satellites and raised strong opposition to basing missile defense systems in Poland or the Czech Republic
-A continuing insurgency in Chechnya has led to a cycle of state violence and terrorist attacks that appears to have no end
-The military is large, ill-equipped, poorly paid, and suffering from low morale, which has brought up concerns over the possibility of looting and selling of weapons, even potentially nuclear weapons
-Tensions between Russia and the EU continue over the supply and cost of natural gas from Russia
-Tensions over the former Soviet republics intensified with the declaration of independence by Kosovo leading to the invasion of Georgia by Russian troops in support of the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Chinese Political Development--Dynastic Empire
-2000 years of imperial rule based on "mandate of heaven", wherein natural disaster or foreign invasion caused rulers to loose legitimacy
-Mixed feudal and state-centered system with a centralized bureaucracy that based advancement for senior government officials on examinations that included knowledge of Confucian ideas
-Confucian ideas reinforced the status quo emphasizing stability and harmony and acceptance of proscribed roles and behavior, including subordination to those above you
Chinese Political Development--Collapse of Empire
-Decline began in 1800s when Opium War with Britain forced China to open doors to trade and missionaries from outside and yield coastal territory to Western control
-The Manchu dynasty was weakened further by the loss to Japan in war of 1894-1895 and was overthrown by Sun Yat-sen in 1911
-Military took over government in 1920s and control resided in the Kuomintang (nationalist party) which was led by Chiang Kai-shek after Sun died in 1925
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cooperated with nationalists until 1927 when Chiang led attack on CCP forcing them to flee Beijing
Chinese Political Development--Rise of Communists
-Japan occupied Manchuria in 1931 and began attempt to colonize all of China in 1937
-Guomindang was forced to fight Japanese and the Chinese Communists
-The CCP led by Mao Zedong began Long March over 6,000 in which only 10% survived
-The CCP expanded its support throughout the countryside by beating back the Japanese and helping the peasants
-In 1945, civil war broke out between CCP's Red Army and the Guomindang
-The Guomindang fled to Taiwan in 1949 and Mao announced birth of the People's Republic of China
Chinese Political Development--Revolutionary Government
-Revolutionary governments often have trouble shifting from overthrowing to building and are forced to choose between bureaucratizing, which yields stability but weakens legitimacy gained through revolutionary ideology, or permanent upheaval, using periodic revolutions to maintain commitment to cause at the expense of social and economic stability
-China attempted a crash industrialization program known as the Great Leap Forward from 1958-1960 that tried to utilize large population and substitute hard work and enthusiasm for technology and resources, but created huge disasters ranging from floods to famine and resulted in the death of 15-20 million people in two years
-Mao and the "Gang of Four" launched an anti-establishment campaign known as the Cultural Revolution to combat the overly bureaucratic state and regain revolutionary spirit, but result was gangs of kids killing and destroying property and CCP members forced into positions in the lower class to be rehabilitated, leading to ten years of madness and chaos that left a generation without skills or an education
-"Gang of Four" was sent to prison, Mao died in 1976 and China came under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping who implemented a policy of Four Modernizations: industry, agriculture, national defense, and science and technology, as well as drafting a new constitution that established liberalizing tendencies, leading some to call democracy the Fifth Modernization
-The CCP elected the conservative Li Peng to the post of premier in 1987, dismaying members of the growing Chinese pro-democracy movement and in 1989 students led a protest that embarrassed the CCP who called in the military leading to what is known as the Tiananmen Massacre in which many were killed, injured or arrested
-The CCP has continued to clamp down on attempts at political reform, focusing on economic reform in a belief that people really care more about a better standard of living and more goods than democracy
Chinese Constitution
-The 1982 constitution describes China as a "socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants."
-The CCP leads the country, functioning as the vanguard of the people under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought
-Articles 33-65 include an impressive list of rights and duties, including freedom of speech press and assembly, but prohibiting acts "detrimental to the society, honor and interests" of China
Chinese Reality of Government
-China is a unitary government with all power centralized in the national government which is controlled by a small group of people within the leadership of the CCP
-All decisions are made by the party leaders and the government and the bureaucracy are responsible for approving and implementing the policies
-The military plays a supporting role in politics and has even taken over in times of chaos, such as the ten years of the Cultural Revolution
Chinese Leadership
-The leader of China is usually the head of the CCP, but this is not a fixed rule
-Power is distributed among the top members of the party, with leadership depending on personal relationships and the balance of power among the reformers and the conservatives in the group
-The current leader of China is Hu Jintao who serves as both party leader and President of the People's Republic of China
Chinese Executive
-The cabinet is known as the State Council and includes the premier, vice-premiers and ministers elected by the National People's Congress (NPC)
-The premier is the second most powerful person after the party leader, is limited to two consecutive five-year terms, and oversees China's economic policy
Chinese Legislature
-The National People's Congress (NPC) has around 3000 members elected by provincial congresses for five-year terms
-The NPC meets once a year where it discusses and endorses decisions already made by the party
-The Standing Committee of the NPC has about 135 members and meets when the NPC is in recess and has the power to declare and enforce martial law, oversee NPC elections, supervise the work of the State Council and Supreme People's Court, and appoint and remove members of the State Council on the recommendation of the premier when the NPC is not in session
Chinese Head of State
-The president and vice-president are elected for a maximum of two five-year terms by a vote of the Standing Committee of the NPC
-The president may sometimes be the head of the CCP as is the case with Hu Jintao
Chinese Cadres
-Cadres are dedicated party members who usually have some position of authority in China's huge bureaucracy
-Cadres are often the ones responsible for carrying out government policies and can determine their success or failure
Chinese Judiciary
-Chinese justice is administered through a system of more than 3000 people's courts at the district, county, municipal, and provincial levels
-All the courts answer to the Supreme People's Court, which is accountable in turn to the NPC
-The president of the Supreme Court is elected by the NPC and its other members are appointed by the NPC Standing Committee
Chinese Subnational Government
-China is divided into 22 provinces, but local government has little power and provincial leaders are appointed by the central government
-There are two Special Administrative Regions (Hong Kong and Macao) and five "autonomous" regions, the most problematic being Tibet, which China annexed in 1951 and for which the Dalai Lama continues to agitate for the creation of a trully autonomous Tibet
-China also has 11 military regions, which can become important at times of civil unrest or potential uprisings
China--The People's Liberation Army (PLA)
-The PLA has been used as a means of extending and consolidating internal police control, working as an extension of the party and the government
-The PLA is also used to recruit for the party and educate and inform the people
-The PLA took control of the country during the Cultural Revolution, but some of their power has been reduced by delegating internal security to other agencies and reducing the number of military men in the Politburo
-The government is aware of potential danger of divided loyalties within some military regions since the fighting between rival units during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations
China--Direct Elections
-Voting is a small and relatively insignificant part of political participation in China
-Chinese voters only participate in one election where they directly elect delegates to local congresses
Indirect Elections
-Members of local congresses elect delegates to county congresses who in turn elect delegates to provincial congresses for five-year terms
-Members of provincial congresses elect delegates to the NPC for five-year terms
China--Candidate Selection
-The electoral process is overseen by the CCP, which controls the election committees that draw up the approved slate of candidates for every elective office
-The system was changed after 1980 to allow for multiple candidates, a more open nomination process, and the use of secret ballots
Chinese Political Parties--Communist Party (CCP)
-The CCP is the only significant political party in China
-The CCP is the source of all political power, controls all other political organizations, plays a key role in deciding the outcome of elections, and dominates both state and government
-Policy changes occur through changes in the balance of power within the leadership of the party
-Membership in the CCP was about 64 million or 7% of the population in 2003
-Membership in the CCP provides status, career opportunities, and personal influence
CCP Party Structure
-The CCP structure is hierarchical with local members making up about 3.5 million Primary Party Organizations that elect committees for three-year terms
-Provincial and county-level party organizations oversee the PPOs and elect committees for five-year terms
-The National Party Congress is made up of about 2,000 delegates and meets once every five years for 1-2 weeks to confirm party policy
-The Central Committee is made up of about 200 senior party members and meets annually to approve the policies of the leadership and elect members of the Politburo and the Standing Committee of the Politburo
-The Politburo is made up of 18-28 party leaders and meets about once a month to initiate and discuss party policy
-The Standing Committee of the Politburo is made up of 6-8 top party leaders, including the general secretary and the premier, and meets about twice a week to make policy decisions
-Policymaking is done within a fragmented bureaucratic structure of authority, involving 25-35 top leaders, senior bureaucrats and government ministries
-Consensus building is central to the policymaking process, mainly because of the cooperation needed from the lower levels of government
-Decision making is a lengthy, disjointed and incremental process
Chinese Economic Policy
-China's opening up of its economy to free market forces has created a global economic power, but there is still widespread poverty and high unemployment
-Population growth continues at 16 million more Chinese every year, which makes it impossible for the state to keep up with the demand on resources
-The literacy rate is still low with 16% of adults illiterate and less than 2% of the population having access to postsecondary education
-The economic boom has also created problems with pollution and environmental degradation on a large scale
-Industry suffers from poor quality output, low productivity, and a shortage of skilled workers
-Economic problems are closely linked to government corruption and help to fuel a growing dissatisfaction with the leadership of the CCP and demands for democratization
Chinese Foreign Policy
-China's military power, including its nuclear capability, is seen as a potential threat in its region
-China has renewed its aggressive posture toward Taiwan and taken a more assertive stance with Japan over ownership of the Paracel and Spratley Islans in the South China Sea, an area thought to contain oil and natural gas
-China's role in the UN and its new membership in the WTO make it a key player in global politics and one that could potentially have considerable influence in many problematic areas of the world, including Africa and the Middle East
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