Evolving Inclusive Democratic Governance in Russia


1) “What are inclusive institutions in contemporary Russia?”

Human social organizations that are open to membership could be regarded as inclusive. I was influenced in defining organizational inclusiveness from Jean Paul Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason. Within Sartre’s organizational paradigm there is a phenomenal or existential element for an organization. Inherently an organization has the capacity for ad hoc change and reform. Therefore the set of organizations that exist in Russia today that are inclusive should not be narrowly defined. I would like to include business organizations as inclusive as well as government and quasi-governmental agencies that interact positively with the general public.

Urban areas have more organizations than rural because there are more people in urban areas. Governing powers coordination centers are located in urban areas generally, as well as the people, financial centers are located in urban areas too so that is where organizations seek access to government monetary resources develop too.

Fortunately this course is structured for beginners in the subject of governance in Russia. I haven’t been to Russia- Helsinki was as close as I have been, so research into the topic of Russian organizations that exist and are inclusive in Russia brought me to several obvious Internet sites providing, indirectly, information about the state of Russia development since the end of the Cold War and in particular since the year 2000.

Humans can organize to help themselves and to improve their living conditions unless it is legally outlawed. Business is one of the more efficient ways to do so. Business models are malleable and adaptive regarding membership and may include ownership co-ops, joint partnerships and incorporation. The may be dedicated to virtually any purpose, and especially as corporations may be for-profit or non-profit. The Council on Foundations appears to be an inclusive venue for forming sundry forms of organizations and interactive deliberative structures including non-profits.


The website above lists five most-common kinds of existing organizations in Russia that international grant makers encounter:

Public organizations;

1. Foundations;

2. Institutions;

3. Autonomous non-commercial organizations; and

4. Associations (unions).”
The site https://gosuslugi.ru

seems to be a good point to find numerous services for citizens in Russia. It is “an official Internet portal for government services” and appears to have quite a substantive on-line listing of useful urls. Some of the services, for example, obtaining documents or information regarding water, may require a fee.

Below I will make a list of several Internet indexed sites that are relevant to the topic of inclusive social organizations in Russia including business sites.




http://rushmarket.com/ Russian business websites






https://www.oidp.net/docs/  includes a brief history of initiative budgeting

https://www.forskningsradet. “Local government budgeting reforms in Russia: implications and tensions”

https://www.ned.org/region/  Russian 2017 budget including citizen initiative support


https://truthout.org/articles/  -public votes on how to spend a pot of money




2) “Examples of Civic Engagement”

Street protests are civic engagement, although a raucous and crude sort. The e-government sites of the state allow civic engagement. Social media allows free expression.

Professor Grigori Kliucharev has interesting things to say about civic engagement in this report. One learns that ‘twenty-six percent of Russians do not believe civic participation will change anything’ (paraphrased.)


Aleksandr Sherstobitov of St Petersburg University, Department of Governance, published an article about social media and its support for citizen engagement and reform oriented activism, including the development of non-governmental organizations engaging citizens for motivating government policy improvement and “civil initiatives of different areas: election observation, anti-corruption activity and local issues, etc.



https://www.gosuslugi.ru/category a government services website for Russian

One may define civic engagement in numerous ways. If one specifically chooses for the term to mean how the government engages with citizens instead of being somewhat insular and aloof, then the range of possible answers might exclude numerous examples of citizen self-organizing. The sovereign governmental power of a nation is what is challenged historically from within and without. Those in a position to run a government as authorities sometimes repress dissent. Russia has opposition parties such as The Other Russia. For observers from afar t may be difficult to identify the actual identity of the players for opposition parties that probably are composed of people with diverse political interests while, alternatively, President Putin is mostly interested in keeping opposition parties within the boundaries of certain general political criteria that would include basic agreement with principles of democracy, private property, and several other traditional western civilization values.



3) “In what cases we can see the real deliberation in contemporary Russia? What are the key factors?”

The meaning of the term deliberation is somewhat amorphous for me. A dictionary definition is “slow and careful movement or thought”. One might expect to find that in courts, or in government agencies charges with management of public safety so they would develop plans and methods of how to accomplish such goals.

One would expect some government agencies to plan support for free enterprise economics and to assure the well being of the people of the nation, and to find ways to bring equal protection of the laws and equal justice to citizens and guests such as legal residents.



Tax policies in Russia might be given as an example of deliberation since they have been worked upon and upgraded or revised, pejoratively, over the history of post-Soviet Russia. Russian space policies have continued to provide support for the International Space Station, and when a Soyuz attached to the Station recently started leaking air because a micro-meteorite impacted and punctured it, there was a plan to tape the leak closed in place. Apparently there is a plan to use the Soyuz to return astronauts or cosmonauts to Russia; one hopes it does not become a convertible on the way. Evidently there is some sort of an engineering plan to repair the spacecraft enough to use it safely one more time.

The Federal Assembly of Russia has a history as a real deliberative body. They have rejected legislation before that was in disagreement with the preferred alternative of the President. The President after some revision usually has his way eventually. In the United States the legislature is free to lead whatever way global corporations and the most wealthy want. They may stray in certain respects, yet they will continue to uphold the inertia generally of the way things are and assuredly never reform capitalism at all nor bring the government into a direction that is in support of sustainable ecological economics. In my opinion plutocracy is the emerging global trend, though it tends to synergize at the top levels with the market and shared economic interests of the Chinese Communist Party therefor, to a certain extent, the sanctions regime of the United States and Europe ostensibly over the Ukraine and Crimea, have isolated Russia sufficiently to enable the Russia a certain liberty and independence form the developing global plutocracy.

I would think that the International situation vis Russia does affect the state’s ability to liberalize some areas of domestic policy, and of course, international economics opportunity. Protest movements tend these days to have nominal goals with ulterior motives, and they are international and commonly supported, at least some of the larger movements, by the American broadcast media , and that distorts politics from a normative development to the real-politk synthesis with the media as an agent of acceleration.

Corruption in government is destructive obviously, and one of the worst effects is to drive out public participation in governing policy. Yet one must recall that an overly powerful state was the problem for Russians in the Soviet era and reducing the power of the state while maintaining the economic vital interests and health of Russian in their working years and retirement era is challenging. If the state can reduce itself in size yet maintain the role of economic enabler of ecological economics and public economic well being it would be good, and better if it were possible to do so without public corruption while international sanctions exist.

4) “Just the imitation of inclusion and deliberation? Why?”

Opposition parties today have certain methods for public protests. Social media is one avenue of expressing suggestions for change and to make criticism. Traditional organizations that belie the real interests of the constituency of the parties may arise anywhere including Russia. If communists comprise a continuing substantial portion of the population of Russia the goals of some nominally market supporting party politics could actually be a restoration of state socialism. Since President Putin’s record as President generally is one for the advancement of market economics he might be wary of political developments that would support a recrudescence of communist power. Therefore one requires a degree of skepticism about political leaders in opposition parties actually expressing the true opinions of their followers.

One report states that Russia ranks 37 of 38 nations regarding stakeholder participation in legislation.


That isn’t very good, yet the circumstances of Russian history probably accounts for that; there hasn’t been so much time since the end of the Soviet state to train people in do-it-yourself aspects of democracy. The Soviet state could send a citizen to the Gulag for having a piece of bread in one’s pocket, Alexander Solzhenitsyn mentioned, in The Gulag Archipelago.

The Moscow Times published an article stating that 450 members of the Duma served in the military and that 86 of those were lobbyists for the Defense industry. That would tend to create much support for favorable spending for the military rather than the civil sector. Russia probably could use hyper-tubes for transportation of civilians, yet military priorities may occlude such civil developments if the Russia federal budget is like that of the U.S.A. that spends even more than Russia on defense.


Opposition party leaders criticize state corruption and cronyism. For instance President Putin apparently appointed a friend tor subordinate o lead the Russian National Guard. One might expect a President to appoint someone that is completely trustworthy to such an important position, so I am uncertain if that would qualify for as corruption. Perhaps in an ideal and developed, stable democratic and market founded society it would not be common to appoint friends or relatives to high political office, yet is Russia there yet? It is difficult to cast stones if living in a glass house; President Kennedy appointed his brother Robert to be Attorney General, and I am sure there are numerous other examples of something like nepotism in the political history of the United States.


Garry Kasparov and Alexei Navalny are two political leaders from opposition parties that would seem prima facie to be moderate reform-minded candidates for the Presidency of Russia that were interfered with by the Putin Administration and its supporters from running for the job. That would be an example of fake deliberation or opportunity to run for the office of President. It may be that President Putin has had to act as a kind of Platonic Philosopher-King for some time to Shepard the developing Russian state and to keep it within certain rational boundaries for development.

The appearance of the philosopher-king in the unexpected person of former President Boris Yeltsin was a remarkable historical occurrence. Apparently the philosopher-king may be a necessary tool for developing a government that involves the redistribution of a broken up government within an already existing society that has transitioned to a degree into chaos. Maybe it is comparable to military governors such as Douglas MacArthur in post-war Japan who provided much input on reform the Japanese government. It is probably at best a temporary role that the successful n of what coincide with the vacating of the special powers subsumed within an emerging stable democratic platform.

Yet the question arises; is President Putin the sole politician capable of serving in the Presidential philosopher-king role, and wouldn’t it at some point be better for public credibility if opposition party candidates that could continue a program of free enterprise and ecologically reasonable economic policies and security concerns be allowed to actually run and get elected, if the people chose to elect one?




Because free and fair elections are at the heart of democracy, credible and fair, representative government and elections held with, by and for the benefit of the people are requisite events that need to supported recurrently y government officials. Reform of a government, or continuing development of government and its institutions need to self-directed and managed by the people and real representative government if it is to evolve a democratic nature. There is some concern today, perhaps more so by outsiders, that Russia and its government is not working in that direction. Yet like the Pope I might say; who am I to judge?

The nature of Russian governmental political evolution is very remarkable. Probably never before has such a vast redistribution of wealth; public wealth occurred. Public wealth has been privatized and reallocated to private interest largely, and without much violence. People wonder if the redistribution was fair, and also wonder how fair it need be, and what fairness is exactly, since a key difference between communism and capitalism is the unequal distribution of wealth. Reasonable people like to keep the differences from becoming extreme and oppressive where individuals are reduced to degrading and dangerous social positions and lifestyles.

Because of world ecospheric challenges to the survival of the planet’s ecosphere, and because capitalism hasn’t been philosophically reformed since Adam Smith’s 1776 publication of The Wealth of Nations, it is fine to innovate and adapt different democratic criteria for a capitalist economy than has previously existed. One may limit the size of corporations to 5000 and ban owning shares of more than three corporations by any private citizen in order to prevent oligarchy or plutonomy. One may have a guaranteed minimum income and eliminate redundant social welfare benefits. It is possible to unify a veterans hospital network with public clinics for the poor to serve millions, and it may be reasonable for public screening of start-up corporations to determine if they have acceptable ecological harmlessness criteria much less benefit t rate a go ahead with special tax brackets. It is possible to encourage with tax breaks those unemployed the longest time to be first hired by employers. The goals of inclusion should be to better the life and liberty of the ordinary citizen and find avenues for the exceptional to advance, and that can be encouraged by government as well as the private sector.