1-st year postgraduate student,
Chair of public policy
Political Parties and Civil Organizations as
The Democratic Institutions of The State
Political institutions as a basics of stable statehood development have hand particular range of constant characteristics at the one hand. At the other hand, as they develop, they gain new features which are provided by modern society. In compliance with such changing relations between institutions and character of their interaction transform.
So we can see recent changing of communication structure between political parties and civil organizations. Mostly it is connected with changes in normative regulation of their activity. For example in a period from 2000 to 2008 there were allocated at least five influential restrictions in political parties legislation in Russia:
In this situation initiatives of president Medvedev, which were represented in a Letter to Parliament in 2008, on liberalization of legislation on political parties seems to be if not restoration of status quo than at least not hardening of relevant one.
All that measures argue about state’s orientation to support parties.
However, most specific for political parties, in author’s opinion, is their loose of society’s support. Citizens don’t consider parties as a way to realize their interests, rather as a necessary attribute of political person’s career or particular interested groups.
In the opposite, civil organizations get support of people. Perhaps, it depends on the fact, that civil organizations, which are not connected with state by “authority vertical”, can represent and defend interests of citizens. It should be notified that state address the needs of civil organizations now. In this way we can interpret the legislative initiative of President Medvedev on concession of a right to participate in local elections for civil organizations and through uniting with political parties name the representatives on municipal officials elections.
As far as resources basis of political parties and civil organizations is different, we can suppose their activity to be parallel (not met). However, real political life indicates the opposite: cooperation between political parties and civil organizations is quite close.
As an example of cooperation we can take the joint action of “right” party “Yabloko” and human rights movement “Associaciya zelenyh Karelii” during the campaign on defend of V.Popov – the former head of Petrozavodsk-city parliament.
Vasiliy Popov was charged in slander on Karelian governor and in exaction from speaker of republican parliament A.Mazurovsky during regional election campaign in 2006.
Signature gathering campaign in defence of V.Popov was organized all over the country. The initiators of this action were “Yabloko” and Karelian regional civil organization “Associaciya zelenyh Karelii”.
Another example of collaboration is the number of co-actions against Government’s decision on increasing the entrance duties on cars of foreign made in Vladivostok and other regions.
This was the bright illustration of potential cooperation of human rights movement “TIGR”(Initiative citizens of Russia association) and “left” party “KPRF”.
However, the observation of political process in Russia argues that political parties and civil organizations can not always cooperate through the identity of goals, rhetoric or image. Opposite, identity sometimes can be particular barrier: once “TIGR” declared about its isolation and independence from anyone. “TIGR” initiated procedure of the official registration (which could divide distinguish of the movement from political actors) after the information and comments in Mass Media about “TIGR’s” transformation into “Molodaya Gvardiya KPRF”. Leaders of “TIGR” were ready to damp down relations with communists, because their own position was watered down under the “KPRF’s” pressure.
But we have also examples when political parties and civil organizations even in spite of particular ideological identity can’t build constructive cooperation. Opposite they begin do compete in public area. So was the situation with I.Yashin’s (young movement leader of “Yabloko”) reading out of the party as he participated in organizing political movement “Solidarnost”. The motivation was “inflicting the political harm to party”. A reputation of “Solidarnost”, its claims on participation in politics became unacceptable for “Yabloko”. As a result we can see so extreme form of conflict resolution.
All this examples show that in institutional aspect political parties and civil organizations in Russia don’t have well-established models of interaction. Contacts are not strategic, and agents pursue momentary interests in cooperation, or try to avoid spontaneous problems.
The goals of current research are to answer the questions: what is the most effective mechanism of cooperation between political parties and civil organizations? What are their motives of such cooperation? What role does self-dependency or “subjectivity” of political parties as far as civil organizations play in motivation of cooperation?
All this seems to be actual in conditions of state’s heightened attention to civil institutions and state’s yearning to control the development of such institutes.
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