Power Imbalance and Institutional Interests in Russian Constitutional Engineering

Gadis Gadzhiev

in Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 1: Institutional Engineering

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244089
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600364 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 Power Imbalance and Institutional Interests in Russian Constitutional Engineering

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Describes Russia as an incomplete democracy, in which a compromise regarding constitutional engineering was never reached and important decisions regarding power‐sharing were postponed, ultimately leading to the institutionalization of a super‐presidential regime created through brute force. The chapter emphasizes that Russia was the only post‐communist country that experienced a military intervention after democratic elections had taken place. The first part of the chapter focuses on how the process of amending the 1978 Russian Constitution deteriorated into a power struggle between the parliament and the president and describes the institutional structure that resulted from this contentious process. Finally, the chapter demonstrates how the Russian Constitution, which set clear rules for the institutional game but without respect for the division of power principle, has contributed to state weakness. It is emphasized that by concentrating power in the presidency, the executive has become overburdened and the state ineffective.

Keywords: constitution; democratic consolidation; incomplete democracy; institutional competition; institutional engineering; military intervention; Russia; state weakness; super‐presidentialism

Chapter.  9858 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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