Henry Hale, Why Not Parties in Russia? Democracy, federalism and the state (2005), Chapter 4.

Main Argument:_ Hale proposes a theoretical framework that views party development as an outcome of a market for electoral goods and services—with candidates as consumers and parties as suppliers of goods such as reputation, organization, and financing. Hale concludes with the generalization that the emergence of a strong party system “hinges critically on the factors that affect the balance between parties and party substitutes in country” [235], which in turn depends on the historical legacies and transition paths that influence the relative political capital available to parties and substitutes and on the institutional context that defines the power of the major actors to intervene in the electoral market.

 

_Method:_  Theory building with Russia as a case study.

 

 

== Notes ==

 

_Overview of the Book:_

–  Hale’s framework provides a focus on the concepts of ideational and administrative political capital and party building and campaign strategies

–  It also allows for the existence of party substitutes—as political parties are not the only institutional forms capable of helping candidates win elections

–  In Russia, major party substitutes include the incredibly wealthy financial industrial groups and the political machines of provincial governors

–  The partial development of Russia’s political party system during the 1990s is explained by the intense struggle in the electoral market among parties, financial-industrial groups, machines of regional officials, and individuals with significant personal resources

–  The more recent trend toward an increasing value associated with party labels is in large part because of the Kremlin’s own determination to embark on institutional reform that promotes party penetration into the Russian polity

 

 

_Chapter 2:_

–  Hale provides an overview of the decisions associated with the adoption of Russia’s electoral systems, together with an assessment of how Russia’s legacy of patrimonial  communism influenced the nature of the political capital available to aspiring party builders at the critical moment of Russia’s 1993 foundational elections

–  Through juxtaposition of parties that survived elections against those that failed, Hale demonstrates the crucial role of campaign strategies for initial party success and of party-building strategies, including reputation building, for long-term success

–  Hale acknowledges the “issue-based” campaign successes of the Communist Party—until the Kremlin took aim in 2003 with its double-barreled shotgun of media control through state-owned television and creation of Leftist “decoy” parties

 

 

_Chapter 3:_

–  Hale assesses the strength of political parties within the electorate using survey data

–  Hales discovers net growth in major-party partisanship and a grounding of this partisanship in either common views of fundamental issues or sociodemographic characteristics

–  Hale also demonstrates that by 2003 parties had at least weakly penetrated elections to Russia’s regional legislatures

–  Political parties, however, had significantly less effects on candidate prospects in gubernatorial elections

 

 

_Chapter 4:_

–  An application of the electoral market logic

–  In simple terms, parties were generally strongest when party alternatives had the least incentive or resources to back prospective candidates

–  Hale provides new and valuable insights into how the changes of the Gorbachev and Yeltsin eras helped to create party substitutes— namely, the provincial political machines and the financial industrial groups

–  Although already privileged under the Soviet system, federal administrative units and state-owned enterprises saw their power increase during the transitional period

–  Yeltsin’s privatization program formalized the de facto ownership that directors had acquired of their firms under the Gorbachev era legislation granting increased autonomy to state enterprises

–  Oligarchs emerged as resource rich potential political forces controlling significant shares of the mass media

–  By 1999, a few financial industrial groups had become so powerful that they switched from a strategy of backing parties and lobbying deputies to a strategy of direct participation in the electoral process by promoting their own independent candidates

–  Regional governors and republic presidents had significant political capital which allowed them to operate and wield power outside of a party system

–  Here he introduces the concept of an electoral market:

–  The electoral market model neatly demonstrates that party development stalled in parts of Russia because candidates could obtain necessary goods and services from other good options—the financial-industrial groups and the regional political machines

 

*can connect Hale’s argument with Martin Shefter (1977), Golosov (2003) and Joel Migdal (1987)