Essay By Shevyakova Ekaterina 171 group Authoritarianism Average people often misunderstand political regimes and it is not surprising

Essay By Shevyakova Ekaterina 171 group Authoritarianism Average people often misunderstand political regimes and it is not surprising. Nowadays it is usually hard to distinguish in what regime live people of one or another country. Although totalitarianism is usually easy to identify, this challenge becomes much harder in case of authoritarianism and democracy. In this essay I will consider authoritarianism and try to figure out its particular features that differ it from other political regimes as well as empirically illustrate it. Considering authoritarianism I, first of all, must pay attention to its definitions that do not always coincide. According to Roskin, authoritarian regime is nondemocratic government, but not necessarily totalitarian (Roskin 2016, p.102). Another definition is represented by Linz, who describes authoritarianism as political systems with limited, not responsible, political pluralism, without elaborate and guiding ideology, but with distinctive mentalities, without extensive nor intensive political mobilization, except in some points in their development, and in which a leader or occasionally a small group exercises power within formally ill-defined limits but actually quite predictable ones (Linz 2000, p.159). Although both people were talking about the same point, it can be clearly seen, that the second definition is wider and broader, what allows anyone to understand the term more properly. In my view, one cannot fully realize the meaning of the term according to the first definition, so that I would prefer to use the second one. Different classifications distinguish different types of authoritarianism. I will highlight two of them which are more or less relevant to the contemporary world. The first one was elaborated by Diamond. Moreover, works of LevitskyWay and Schedler help to understand it better. Diamond shows three types of authoritarianism closed, electoral and competitive. Two last types belong to the category of so-called Hybrid Regimes, as they combine traits of authoritarian countries and democracies to some extant. The main differences between these types circle around the different level of competitiveness. Hence, closed authoritarianism is such a political regime, where the power of a leader or a leading group is absolutely undoubtful and unwavering. What is more, it usually preserves hegemonic rule, without any electoral competition, and democratic institutions can be disregarded even formally (Diamond 2002, p.167). Electoral authoritarianism represents a political regime, where elections are held, but they are not free and fair (Dahl 1971, p.3) as they violate 7 main principles of democratic elections empowerment, free supply, free demand, inclusion, insulation, integrity and irreversibility. These violations prevent opposition parties and candidates from winning elections and, simultaneously, draw an illusion of legitimacy of incumbents. Even though electoral institutions do exist, the level of uncertainty in them is low, so that they do not really influence distribution and succession of power (Schendler 2002, pp.36-46). Competitive authoritarianism is more democratic in its nature than two other forementioned regimes. Although there is also wide and frequent disregard of democratic institutions, they cannot be fully eliminated. There formal violation of democratic principles is substituted for using of informal tricks (for example, subornation). However, in competitive authoritarian regime democratic institutions play more significant role that allow opposition to compete with (and sometimes even win) incumbents in 4 arenas the electoral, legislative and judicial arenas as well as in media (LevitskyWay 2002, pp.52-60). As for the second classification, it was found by HadeniusTeorell, who claim that authoritarian regimes must not be classified only due to the level of competitiveness. So, they rather pay attention to how the power has been achieved. They distinguish three generic types of regime monarchy, military regime, and electoral regime. The last one they subdivide into three no-party, one-party and multi-party. They differ by what political actors are participating in politics (accordingly, 1)individual candidates, 2)one party or 3)more than one party, some of which may not experience power). Moreover, they assume existence of mixed types as well as some minor types of authoritarian regimes transitional regimes (that have temporary nature), theocracies (that concentrate political power in religious leaders) and regimes with no particular control over the states (HadeniusTeorell 2006, pp.5-9). Although all these types of authoritarianism differ a lot, they have several common features, some of which were already mentioned in Linzs definition of authoritarianism. According to Linz, there are several major characteristics. Firstly, political power is concentrated in arms of a ruling group or a leader. Secondly, limited pluralism that expresses the point that there is an official or a single or privileged party or a leader and other political forces are mistreated. Thirdly, leading political parties are often a creation from above, which means that they are formed by those people who are already experiencing power, rather than opposition (that is a trait of totalitarianism). Fourthly, ideology is not a necessary criterion of authoritarianism, as it is more dependent on emotional attitude of people on their mentalities. Fifthly, low and limited political mobilization that represents the fact that common people are in general excluded from political sphere at all, their interests and wills are prevented from being shown. Sixthly, opposition is usually limited with existence of semi-opposition a group of people who want to make certain changes in policy but not wide and fundamental ones (Linz 2000, pp.161-171). The term authoritarianism is not always used in the same way. Usually political scientists and political actors put different meaning in it. The first part of my essay was dedicated to the explanation, how political scientists distinguish and characterize this term, so now I will concentrate on the view of politicians. They often name political regime authoritarian if they mean what is, according to Diamond, named closed authoritarianism (Diamond 2002, p.167). Like North Korea, that is even in Russia called authoritarian. But what is for such Hybrid Regimes as electoral and competitive authoritarianism They are commonly misunderstood with democracy. For example, it is written in the Constitution of the Russian Federation that Russia is democracy (Constitution of Russian Federation, Section 1, Chapter 1, Article 1.1). The same fact is translated through media, so that common people believe that it is truth. However, if we look at Freedom House level of democracy, we will find out, that the mentioned statement is not true. According to the report of 2017, Russias Freedom Rating is 6.5 out of 7 (where 7 means least free), which is formed of 7 out of 7 for freedom in Political Rights and 6 out of 7 for Civil Liberties. Moreover, they claim that neither Press nor Net are free (Freedom in the World 2017), hence Russia cannot be democracy. Another justification of this fact was expressed by The Economist Intelligence Units Democracy Index, according to which Russia is correlated to authoritarian regime. Its rate in 2016 comprised to 3.24 out of 10, where authoritarianism is for everything under 4. Also there can be clearly seen a trend that every year from 2006 to 2016 this rate becomes lower and lower (from 5.02 to 3.24 accordingly) (The Economist Index). The concept of authoritarianism can make clearer situations that take place in the world of politics. A lot of recent news can be explained further and broader with its help. To start with, impeachment of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, who ruled for 30 years, leaded to establishment of a new president Emmerson Mnangagwa on 24th of November, 2017. However, a new president is a representative of the same ruling party Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). What is more, Mnangagwa was a henchman of Mugabe for several decades. Even though a new president talked about democracy and civil rights in his speech, they were already violated, as military forces cruelly dealt with supporters of Mugabe. One particular example is ex-finance minister Ignatius Chombo, who was taken to hospital as the result of beating (Reuters, 24th of November 2017). To sum up, authoritarianism in Zimbabwe is undoubtful, because there is existence of ruling party (that has been experiencing power for several decades already) as well as particularly no restrictions on leaders actions that causes violation of civil rights. Another point of my concern is the recent Russian law about foreign agents that was accepted by Vladimir Putin on 25th of November, 2017. According to it, foreign media that take money from abroad can be called foreign agents and restricted in their actions in many ways. They must give reports about their funding as well as information about their supervisors. Furthermore, they can be inspected without any notification. Decisions about what media sources are to be marked will be made by Justice Ministery (RT, 4th of December, 2017). Several media actors were already included in a list of foreign agents Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America, the Current Time TV channel, ect. (RT, 5th of December, 2017). Even though Russian officials pretend to obey democratic rule, it is seen in the reality that they are not. This law, for instance, is confronting such feature of democracy, as Effective Participation and Enlightened Understanding. It prevents people from having access to alternative sources of information and enforces the government to control all media, so that I believe it to be a justification of strengthening authoritarianism in Russia. What is more, 263 people were arrested in Moscow on the 5th of November, 2017 for anti-governmental actions. FSB claims that all these people were dangerous criminals from conspired union Artpodgotovka who were trying to make arsons of administrative buildings and provoke mass disorganization. In the reality to large extent among arrestees were people without any burning essences, they were not also agitating others with speeches and slogans (Reuters 5th of November, 2017). As far as I am concerned, it is justification of the fact that opposition cannot fully express its opinion, because of widely spread restrictions and lack of civil liberties that also confirms presence of authoritarianism in Russia. Last but not least is the recent case in Kazakhstan. The central street of one of its biggest cities Alma-Ata was named in honor of the current president Nursultan Nazarbaev. He has been ruling the country from the times of the USSR and has the right to stand for president elections unlimited number of times. His name is already assigned to the university and schools, his illustration is on one of banknotes and there is also sculpture of him on the main square of Kazakhstans capital (Reuters 30th of November, 2017). Judging by these facts, I can make a conclusion that Kazakhstan is authoritarian country where the leader is given wide privileges and even the cult of personality takes place. All things considered, I would like to emphasize that authoritarianism and its different subtypes are widely spread nowadays. Even though some countries pretend to obey democratic principles, they often turn out to be authoritarian in the reality and it was interesting for me to justify this fact. Works Cited Dahl, Robert A. Polyarchy, New Haven an London, Yale University Press (1971) 3 Diamond, Larry Thinking about Hybrid Regimes, Journal of Democracy 13,no.2 (2002) 21-35 Hadenius, Alex and Jan Teorell Authoritarian Regimes Stability, Change, and Path to Democracy, The Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Working Paper 331 (2006) 5-9 Levitsky, Stiven and Lucan A. Way The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism, Journal of Democracy 13, no.2 (2002) 52-60 Linz, Juan J. Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes, Ed. Lynne Rienner Publishers (2000) 159-171 Roskin, Michael G. et al., Political Science an Introduction, 14th Ed. Pearson (2017) 102 Schedler, Andreas The Menu of Manipulation, Journal of Democracy 13, no.2 (2002) 36-46 Constitution of Russian Federation, Section 1, Chapter 1, Article 1.1(1993) Freedom in the World 2017 Freedom House (URL HYPERLINK https// https// Viewed 2.12.2017 The Economist Intelligence Units Democracy Index (URL HYPERLINK https// https// Viewed 5.12.2017 Putin orders Justice Ministry to maintain register of foreign agents in mass media RT (5th of December, 2017) (URL HYPERLINK https// https// Viewed 6.12.2017 Russia lists 9 media outlets as foreign agents, including Voice of America, Radio Liberty, RT (5th of December, 2017) (URL HYPERLINK https// https// Viewed 6.12.2017