This book sheds new light on the continuing debate within political thought as to what constitutes power, and what distinguishes legitimate from illegitimate power. It does so by considering the experience of Russia, a polity where experiences of the legitimacy of power and the collapse of power offer a contrast to Western experiences on which most political theory, formulated in the West, is based. The book considers power in a range of contexts – philosophy and discourse; the rule of law and its importance for economic development; the use of culture and religion as means to legitimate power; and liberalism and the reasons for its weakness in Russia. The book concludes by arguing that the Russian experience provides a useful lens through which ideas of power and legitimacy can be re-evaluated and re-interpreted, and through which the idea of "the West" as the ideal model can be questioned.
Introduction 1. Dimensions of Russia: Developments after the USSR Klaus von Beyme 2. Never Show Weakness: How Faking Autocracy Legitimates Putin’s Hold on Power Stephen Holmes 3. Legitimizing the Russian Executive: Identity, Technocracy, and Performance Eugene Huskey 4. Legitimacy of Power and Security of Property Stefan Hedlund 5. Capitalism and Russian Democracy Boris Kapustin 6. Democracy in Russia: Problems of Legitimacy Boris Mezhuev 7. Power and Society in Russia: A Value Approach to Legitimacy Ruben Apressyan 8. Powerful Rationality or Rationality of Power? Reflections on Russian Scepticism towards Human Rights Elena Namli 9. The ‘Cultural/Civilizational Turn’ in Post-Soviet Identity Building Jutta Scherrer 10. Conservative Political Romanticism in Post-Soviet Russia Andrey Medushevsky 11. Bez stali i leni: Aesopian Language and Legitimacy Irina Sandomirskaia 12. Medvedev’s New Media Gambit: The Language of Power in 140 Characters or Less Michael Gorham 13. Legitimacy and Symphony: On the Relation between State and Church in Post-Soviet Russia Per-Arne Bodin