In his essay “The Weakest Link of Managed Democracy: How the Parliament Gave Birth to Nonparliamentary Politics,” Ilya Budraitskis reflects on the model of “managed democracy” in Russian political culture and on the specific place of the Russian Parliament. In December 2011, many cases of falsification during the Parliamentary elections triggered a grassroots protest that was unprecedented in contemporary Russian history. For many years, Putin’s model of managed democracy has ensured that the Russian Parliament was the weakest branch of the State and at the same time the most discredited in eyes of society. However, paradoxically, the desire for a return to full-fledged parliamentary politics and representative democracy proved decisive for the emergence of nonparliamentary grassroots politics. This conjuncture is very different from that which exists in Western Europe and the United States, where mass distrust targets the system of representative democracy as such, without an aspiration to “improve” its shortcomings or distortions. It also differs from the Arab Spring revolutions, which attempted to destroy the corrupted political regimes as wholes. In his essay Budraitskis briefly traces the genealogy of this particular predicament since its dark origin in the 1993 shellting of the Parliament and discusses it in connection with the strategies and tactics of current protests.

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