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Thread: Explanation of Putin and Medvedev's Roles

  1. #1
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    Explanation of Putin and Medvedev's Roles

    Вы можете ответить в по русски, или по английски, но если вы ответить в по русски, есть случай, что я буду не понимать!

    Basically, i would appreciate a thorough explanation of what putin and Medvedev's real powers, the role of the дума in government, and how "democratic" Russian politics really are.

    In another note, a federation would infer that there exists a separation of powers at the federal, state and local levels, so my question here is whether that is really the case in Russia.

    Thanks all.

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    well, anyone?

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    I believe the topic is too big and too special for a forum thread. It is not something to answer in few sentences.

    Still...

    In Russian power personal relations mean more than in the "West" and the law means less. Still the law is not completely negligible. Putin and Medvedev are good friends and Putin is the leader - it is more important than "president and prime minister" stuff.

    Duma and other democratic mechanisms do work (particularly I believe that Duma is actually responsible for that discussed "anti gay propaganda law" rather than Putin), but not exactly in the way the democratic technology TM prescribes. Namely they don't provide the effective rotation of personalities in power.

    There is a balance between federal center and local powers but it is strongly displaced towards the center and again based not only on the law but on many other factors that make analysis really difficult.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Почтенный гражданин DrBaldhead's Avatar
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    It depends on what you actually want to know.
    What power does Putin have? According to our constitution, the president is the supreme leader of all the military forces of Russia. Also, he approves the goverment gathered by the prime minister appointed by him. The president can write laws and propose them to Duma which it may or may not approve. On the other side, the president can block any law that Duma might want to issue. The president can disband the goverment to gather new one if he wants. For example, Yeltsin used to swap prime ministers several times per year. The president can be removed from his position by the desicion of Duma. Yet, the president has the option to disband Duma and re-elect it anew.
    So we can conclude that he has the powers similar to an emperor, aside from the need to be re-elected now once per six years (until 2012 once per four years) not more than 2 terms in a row.

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    Почтенный гражданин dtrq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrBaldhead View Post
    On the other side, the president can block any law that Duma might want to issue.
    Just temporal veto, документ отправляется на доработку, but if Duma insist (2/3 of votes) he can't refuse.

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    Почтенный гражданин DrBaldhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtrq View Post
    Just temporal veto, документ отправляется на доработку, but if Duma insist (2/3 of votes) he can't refuse.
    Indeed it is. Thank for the important detail.

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    Ok, you guys basically told me what I was curious about. A lot of people here in the US look at the prime minister/president duo in Russia and see that Putin keeps his power longer than intended because he just swaps roles sometimes.

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    And it doesn't surprise me that although "Russian Federation" is the official name, most powers are still quite centralized.

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    Почтенный гражданин Dmitry Khomichuk's Avatar
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    Didn't want to post earlier because I don't live in Russia, but no one did it, so:

    Russia is still Federation. It has different forms of internal state subjects. Some are under federal control, some are almost independent republics (they have more rights than states in the USA in some spheres).


    Each federal subject belongs to one of the following types:
    21 republics (республика, respublika) — nominally autonomous, each has its own constitution and legislature; is represented by the federal government in international affairs; is meant to be home to a specific ethnic minority. De-facto they have wide range of relations towards federal government - from semi-independent to semi-federal district. Have their own Presidents, Ministers and Parliaments.
    46 oblasts (provinces; область, oblast) — most common type of federal subjects with federally appointed governor and locally elected legislature. Commonly named after their administrative centers. Usual state regions under central government control.
    9 krais (territories; край, kraĭ)—essentially the same as oblasts. The title "territory" is historic, originally given because they were once considered frontier regions. Unitary state district with some elements of ethnic traditional ruling forms. (For example cossacks). Can have non-standard structures (kinda rangers in Texas)
    1 autonomous oblast (autonomous province; автономная область, avtonomnaya oblast)—the only autonomous oblast is the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Today the only one left and has no sense because of Israel existence and low population.
    4 autonomous okrugs (autonomous districts; автономный округ, avtonomnyĭ okrug) — with substantial or predominant ethnic minority. Northern low populated regions kinda Alaska. Can have ethnic ruling forms because of tribalism.
    2 federal cities (город федерального значения, gorod federal'nogo znacheniya) — major cities that function as separate regions. The same as oblast but one city aglomeration with some local differences because of urbanization.

    Federal subjects of Russia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Some republics have almost de-facto independent status with their own foreign policy and ambassadors.
    For example Caucasus republics. They have relations with Muslim countries with their own ambassadors. The most radical one is Chechnya. Although federal forces "won" the war it looks more like vassalization with more acceptable local warband. And tensions today grow again. Dagestan and Karachay-Cherkessia are at the pre-second chechen war condition.

    Tatar republics Tatarstan and Bashkiria are using more political way but still claim "independence". For example when State Union between Belarus and Russia was formed Tatarstan claimed to be third full-powered side of the deal.

    The main differences as I see (from the USA) that Russia has central police/courts/investigators structure. More federal districts. And Parliament (legislatives) has secondary role to President and Ministers (executors). Parliament has more routine role of making usual laws. Also it is political zoo/arena.

    About Medvedev and Putin. When Putin settled him to the President's chair he was nobody, only public speaking head and foreign ambassador. Putin concentrated into internal problems. Today Medvedev belongs to his political/economical clan and they have some tensions with Putin's clan.

    So Russia is semi-unitary state (for Russian population in major) but still is federation because of other nations.

    P.S. Before 2008 Russia consisted of 89 subjects, but because of depopulation and other reasons some autonomic subjects were incorporated into regions for unification. I think Jewish Autonomic Oblast is the main candidate to disappear during next reform whenever it will be performed (too small, 95% of population are Russians).

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    Почтенный гражданин Dmitry Khomichuk's Avatar
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    Also we can add here South Osetia. It is a "country" of 1 town and 5 villages (50k population total) without army and industry. De-facto today it has the same status as Northern Osetia inside Russia so I will not be surprised they will simply unite one day.

    Abkhazia is more real country (300k population). They have sea coast (tourism), a bit of industry, local army and normal government. I'd say it is analog of Puerto-Rico by its status. Doesn't differ much from Caucasian Republics of Russia. Local population isn't conscripted into Russian Army but in Russia population from the Caucasus isn't conscripted too because of ethnic problems.

    They both use Russian currency. 90% of population has second Russian citizenship. Russian military bases are there and the Federal Border Service (of Russia) keeps their border. (No border with Russia)

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    When it comes to the average affluence distribution of Russian Households, would you go far as to say that those Oblasts under federal control tend to have a better off situation?

    Or in other words, are the autonomous regions basically neglected when it comes to federal funding for schools, public transportation, utilities, etc. ?

    Edit: I also wanted to ask, just totally legally speaking, when it comes to being a citizen of the RF, are you allowed at anytime to live, work, and travel within the republics and autonomous regions encompassed in the federation?

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    Почтенный гражданин DrBaldhead's Avatar
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    Not an easy question. The legal status of a region usually depends on what functions the local goverment is implementing. It affects what taxes the region can claim for itself and what it should collect for the federation, what actions can or cannot the local goverment do and so on. Usually such status is determined through some kind of negotiation and depends on the economical and cultural properties of the region. Yet, the conditions mentioned above can be different for particular regions even though they are named the same way as others.
    As for politics, any region or even a city can have it's own laws in particular spheres as long as they don't contradict the laws of the higher level.

    Yes, as a citizen of the RF, you're allowed to live, work and travel anywhere across Russia. Yet, you should keep in mind that cultural traits of some regions may differ significantly.

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    Почтенный гражданин Dmitry Khomichuk's Avatar
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    Citizen rights for the whole federation are the same. You can move free, no division. Difference is in budget distribution and type of local government elections.
    In general citizens have no restrictions. Just have additional rights like to elect current republic president. Although Moscow and St.Petersburg have special laws to work and live there. You should have a permission as far as I know. But it is for any citizen, doesn't depend on federal subject.

    For example Presidents of the republics are elected by locals (usual voting of every citizen). Federal region heads are settled by the federal government. As I said every republic has its own relations level with the federal government.

    Not sure about funding for schools and etc. but it seems that it is discussed at the lower level. Cities, etc.

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    Завсегдатай maxmixiv's Avatar
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    Or in other words, are the autonomous regions basically neglected when it comes to federal funding for schools, public transportation, utilities, etc. ?
    Probably the opposite is true. The regions are not even, but it has nothing to do with its status. There is no intelligible system, but poor region will get more money if its chief has more 'weight' within central authorities. Moscow city solves many of the problems on its own because the big share of all taxes, collected over the country, flows into Moscow budget.

    are you allowed
    Yes, of course.
    "Невозможно передать смысл иностранной фразы, не разрушив при этом её первоначальную структуру."

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    Почтенный гражданин 14Russian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gottimhimmel View Post
    Вы можете ответить в по русски, или по английски, но если вы ответить в по русски, есть случай, что я буду не понимать!

    Basically, i would appreciate a thorough explanation of what putin and Medvedev's real powers, the role of the дума in government, and how "democratic" Russian politics really are.

    In another note, a federation would infer that there exists a separation of powers at the federal, state and local levels, so my question here is whether that is really the case in Russia.

    Thanks all.
    Medvedev is like a figurehead or just swapping like you said. You'll just get replies from 'neo-soviet' Russian sympathizers of the communist era - as they are the only ones who reply in the politics section, unfortunately.

    They (Putin regime) even may circumvent the Constitution but no surprise there. The one universal conclusion I can agree with is that there is not a worthwhile alternative but that seems to be the excuse and rationale for indifference or even support.

  16. #16
    Paul G.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gottimhimmel View Post
    A lot of people here in the US look at the prime minister/president duo in Russia and see that Putin keeps his power longer than intended because he just swaps roles sometimes.
    A lot of people in Russia look at the institution of presidency of the US and see how many American presidents and high-ranking officials have close relations and just swap roles sometimes.

    Ronald Reagan -> Bush-father (was a vice-president under Reagan) -> Bill Clinton-hubby -> Bush-son -> Obama -> Hillary Clinton-wifey (is she next?)
    Of course, I can't help but pay attention to the granddad of this mafia, Prescott Sheldon Bush, whose financial relations with Nazis are still not investigated properly.

    All these facts bother a lot of Russian people. They consider that American democracy is in trouble.

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    Почтенный гражданин 14Russian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul G. View Post
    A lot of people in Russia look at the institution of presidency of the US and see how many American presidents and high-ranking officials have close relations and just swap roles sometimes.

    Ronald Reagan -> Bush-father (was a vice-president under Reagan) -> Bill Clinton-hubby -> Bush-son -> Obama -> Hillary Clinton-wifey (is she next?)
    Of course, I can't help but pay attention to the granddad of this mafia, Prescott Sheldon Bush, whose financial relations with Nazis are still not investigated properly.

    All these facts bother a lot of Russian people. They consider that American democracy is in trouble.
    I asserted that both the Republican and Democrat parties are essentially the same (here) last election but few replied. I'm not sure why that is relevant on the topic of the OP was asking about or are you implying that A is bad so who cares about B? "USA is no better attitude?' Sounds like a cop-out or excuse-making.

    Yes, the U.S. is in trouble (agreed).

  18. #18
    Paul G.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14Russian View Post
    I'm not sure why that is relevant on the topic of the OP was asking about or are you implying that A is bad so who cares about B? "USA is no better attitude?' Sounds like a cop-out or excuse-making.
    It had to sound like a parody. Although it was a joke, every joke is just a fraction of a joke.

    I meant if the American media tries to convince all the world that the US is the main democracy, the question of the topic (considering the discussion) sounds weird to me. Because it seems the topic-starter follows the US Media concept, which is wrong, obviously. It's all right only if we admire propaganda.

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