INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF THE PARTY SYSTEM IN KAZAKHSTAN AND RUSSIA: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
Lydia Karmazina, Ph.D. (Political Science), associate professor at the Department of Theoretical and Applied Political Science, School of International Relations, Abai Kazakh National Pedagogical University (Almaty, Kazakhstan)
The democratic changes underway in the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation are focused on the development of parties and the party system, which explains the immense interest in the process demonstrated by their own and foreign communities of political scientists. They concentrate on the emergence and stages of the parties’ development, their legal institutionalization, the “party of power” phenomenon, conduct of parties in election campaigns, the way a definite type of party system took shape, etc.
Kazakhstani political scientist D. Satpaev has offered a highly imaginative formula: “some trends of their political development make Russia and Kazakhstan look like identical twins.” This is particularly true of the process that resulted in a multiparty system, the similarity of which in both countries has been confirmed by Russian authors as well.
This article can be described as an attempt to present a comparative analysis of the emergence and development of parties as political institutions in both countries in the context of their histories. This approach suggests parallels, formulates common criteria, identifies common trends, and reveals the specifics of institutionalization of the party arena in Russia and Kazakhstan.
The Russian Empire: Party Development Experience
Between the 18th and the late 19th centuries Russia and Kazakhstan formed a single state marked by “catching up modernization,” which explains the synthesis (intertwining) and simultaneous existence of pre-capitalist, early capitalist, and developed capitalist relations. This explains the highly unstable social structure and social exclusion of some of the population groups.
The fairly wide gap between the development levels of the empire’s center (Russia) and its ethnic fringes made the situation even worse. While since the 17th century Russian society has been developing under the direct impact of the modernizing West and consistently responded to the pressure to reform, the Kazakh Steppe remained an intricate combination of the cultures of nomadic civilization and settled farming as well as trade and urban culture along the Great Silk Road. The specifics of the Kazakhs’ settlement, the geopolitical location of their territory, its natural conditions, climate, economic type, social life, and the need to administer vast territories created, at an early historical stage, steppe democracy as a highly specific type of state power based on the ruling elite’s traditions, customs, and authority. When Kazakhstan became part of……………..