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4705.Regimes of the Modern World.

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Учебно-методическое пособие
И.В. Домбровская,
О.А. Петрова
Издательско-полиграфический центр
Воронежского государственного университета
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Утверждено научно-методическим советом
2012 г., протокол № 9
факультета РГФ 13 ноября
Рецензент канд. филол. наук, доц. Н.М. Шишкина
Учебно-методическое пособие подготовлено на кафедре английского языка
в профессиональной международной деятельности факультета РГФ Воронежского государственного университета.
Рекомендуется для студентов 4-го курса факультета международных отношений.
Для специальности 030701 – Международные отношения
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Comment on the quotations:
1. “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that
it bears a very close resemblance to the first” (Ronald Reagan).
2. “A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next
week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it
didn't happen” (Sir Winston Churchill).
3. “Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there
is no river” (Nikita Khrushchev).
4. “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).
5. “Politics is too serious a matter to be left to politicians” (Charles de Gaulle).
6. “I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office” (Thomas
7. “Princes and governments are far more dangerous than other elements within
society” (Niccolo Machiavelli).
8. “Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation”
(Henry Kissinger).
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1. Complete the following questionnaire in groups.
1. Tell the others about a politician (living or dead) who you admire.
2. Think of three adjectives to describe politicians who you admire.
a _____________
b _____________
c _____________
3. Think of three adjectives to describe politicians who you do not admire.
a _____________
b _____________
c _____________
4. Would you like to be a politician? Why? Why not? Discuss your answer with a
5. What are the arguments for and against a political career? Record the arguments
in the table below.
2. Complete this character reference, using the appropriate adjectives from the
list and the reporting verbs in brackets in a suitable tense.
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To whom it may concern
Alexander the Great
I have known Alexander professionally for many years, since I accompanied him on
his expedition against Persia. His army was very 0 __disciplined__ during that
campaign, reflecting a fundamental quality of the man himself. Furthermore, I
1(consider + always) __________ Alexander to be a 2 __________ leader, in that he
researches his campaigns in meticulous detail beforehand. It goes almost without
saying that Alexander is tremendously 3 __________ in battle, often risking his own
life before that of others. As a military commander, he is utterly 4 __________, an
essential quality in the heat of battle, when instant action can be the difference
between victory and defeat.
Alexander is generally 5 __________ of the cultures and civilizations of those he
conquered, although I 6(suspect) __________ that many residents of Thebes 7(argue)
__________ against this view.
Alexander is almost a legend in his own lifetime. Only the other day, his court
historian Callisthenes 8(observe) __________ that even the sea has been known to
draw back at Alexander’s command. It 9(believe) __________ that this extraordinary
event took place in Cilicia, but I cannot personally vouch for this.
I have no doubt that, at the age of 32, Alexander has a long and distinguished career
ahead of him and I am happy to recommend him to you without reservation.
3. Choose some other political / historical figure to write a character reference,
using the previous one as a model. While completing the task, use the adjectives
from the list and the politician questionnaire.
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4. Use the phrases in the box to answer the questions.
vote in favour of / against
a tied vote
a casting vote
a vote of (no) confidence
What do you do if you don’t agree with a motion or a bill?
What is there if someone wants to bring down the government?
What do you do if you don’t want to agree and you don’t want to disagree?
What happens if the Yes and No votes are equal?
5. Which of the words go together? Tick the boxes.
6. Use words from exercises 4 and 5 to fill in the blanks in the text.
The Downfall of Chairman George
George was very confident. He thought that he had an a) _____ majority on the
committee and so he was not worried when Jack resigned. But to his horror Maureen
Washington stood for election and, with her radical politics, won a b) _____ victory,
completely defeating her main rival. As soon as she arrived on the committee she
began to cause trouble; votes on this, votes on that. Whatever George advised them to
vote in favour of, she c) _____. And as the weeks went by others began to support
her. Finally, some weeks later, at the end of a long discussion, there was a d) _____
vote with half the members voting one way and half voting the other. Of course
George saved it by using his e) _____, but it was the beginning of the end. Ten days
later Maureen tabled a vote of f) _____ and in the wake of his g) _____ defeat
George had no alternative but to resign. He felt bitter and betrayed and went off to
live in his luxury villa in Santa Lucia. But the rest of us felt saved.
7. Invent a scenario to fit the facts in this story. What was the committee for?
Why did the narrator feel relieved when George resigned?
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8. Here are some newspaper headlines. Explain each of them in everyday
e.g. Premier backs peace moves in docks → The Prime Minister has announced that
(s)he supports the attempts to reconcile both sides in the port workers’ dispute.
1. Tories set to win poll.
2. Key MP held on bribes charge.
3. Government majority wins the day.
4. Election humiliation for disgraced minister.
5. From councilor to cabinet minister in just five years.
9. Tell the stories behind these headlines.
Comment on the quotations:
1. “Man is by nature a political animal” (Aristotle).
2. "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't
take an interest in you" (Pericles).
3. “The method of political science is the interpretation of life; its instrument is
insight, a nice understanding of subtle, unformulated conditions” (Woodrow Wilson).
4. “It is always easy to find fault with a classification. There are a hundred ways of
arranging any set of objects, and something may almost always be said against the
best, and in favour of the worst of them. But the merits of a classification depend on
the purposes to which it is instrumental” (John Stuart Mill).
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Work in pairs. Do you think the following statements are true or false?
1. Before examining how different systems have been classified, it is necessary to
reflect on both what is being classified and why such classifications have been
2. A social system is, in effect, a sub system of a larger political system.
3. A regime is a ‘system of rule’ that endures despite the fact that governments
come and go.
4. All systems of classification have their drawbacks.
5. The political contours of the new world are quite unclear.
6. Different systems of classification have tended to prioritize different sets of
Look the text through to find the answers to the true / false statements.
Traditional Systems of Classification
A. Before examining how different systems have been classified, it is
necessary to reflect on both - what is being classified, and why such classifications
have been undertaken. First, what is ‘government’, and how do governments differ
from ‘political systems’ or ‘regimes’? ‘Government’ refers to the institutional
processes through which collective and usually binding decisions are made. A
political system or regime, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses not
only the mechanisms of government and the institutions of the state, but also the
structures and processes through which these interact with the larger society.
A political system is, in effect, a subsystem of the larger social system. It is a
‘system’ in that there are interrelationships within a complex whole, and ‘political’ in
that these interrelationships relate to the distribution of power, wealth and resources
in society.
A regime is therefore a ‘system of rule’ that endures despite the fact that
governments come and go. Whereas governments can be changed by elections,
through dynastic succession, as a result of coup d’etats and so on, regimes can only
be changed by military intervention from without or by some kind of revolutionary
upheaval from within.
B. Why classify political systems? The interest in classifying political
systems stems from two sources. First, classification is an essential aid to the
understanding of politics and government. The second purpose of classification is to
facilitate evaluation rather than analysis. In other words, understanding is closely tied
up with normative judgements: questions about ‘what is’ are linked to questions
about ‘what should be’.
All systems of classification have their drawbacks, however. As with all
analytical devices, there is a danger of simplification. The classification of regimes
under the same heading draws attention to the similarities that they share, but there is
a risk that the differences that divide them will be ignored or disguised. A related
problem is a possible failure to see that a phenomenon may have different meanings
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in different contexts. For instance, in Japan and throughout East Asia, ‘the state’ may
be different in kind and significance from ‘the state’ as generally understood in the
context of the West classification process. Finally, all systems of classifications have
the drawback that they are necessarily state-bound: they treat individual countries as
coherent or independent entities in their own right. Although this approach is by no
means invalid, it is now widely viewed as incomplete in the light of the phenomenon
of globalization.
С. Since the late 1980s, the regime-classification industry has been in limbo.
Older categories, particularly the ‘thrее worlds’ division, were certainly redundant,
but the political contours of the new world were far from clear. The image of a ‘world
of liberal democracies’ suggested the superiority of a specifically western model of
development, based perhaps especially on the USA, and it implied that values such as
individualism, rights and choice are universally applicable. One result of this was a
failure to recognize the significance, for instance, of Islamic and Confucian political
However, one of the difficulties of establishing a new system of
classification is that there is no consensus about the criteria upon which such a
system should be based. No system of classification relies on a single all-important
factor. Nevertheless, particular systems have tended to prioritize different sets of
criteria. Among the parameters most commonly used are the following:
1. Who rules? Is political participation confined to an elite body or privileged
group, or does it encompass the entire population?
2. How is compliance achieved? Is government obeyed as a result of the exercise
or threat of force or through bargaining and compromise?
3. Is government power centralized or fragmented? What kinds of check and
balance operate in the political system?
4. How is government power acquired and transferred? Is a regime open and
competitive, or is it monolithic?
5. What is the balance between the state and the individual? What is the
distribution of rights and responsibilities between government and citizens?
6. What is the level of material development? How materially affluent is the
society, and how equally is wealth distributed?
7. How is economic life organized? Is the economy geared to the market or to
planning, and what economic role does government play?
8. How stable is a regime? Has the regime survived over time, and does it have
the capacity to respond to new demands and challenges? Nevertheless, five
regime types can be identified in the modern world:
Western polyarchies
East Asian regimes
Military regimes.
Postcommunist regimes
Islamic regimes
Vocabulary Practice
1. Give your understanding of the underlined words and phrases:
1. It is necessary to reflect on both what is being classified etc
2. Government refers to the institutional processes through which collective and
usually binding decisions are made.
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3. A regime is a term which encompasses [ ] not only the mechanisms but also …
4. A regime is a system of rule that endures despite the fact that governments
come and go.
5. Governments can be changed as a result of coup d’etats [ ] (Rus)
6. Regimes can be changed by some kind of revolutionary upheaval from within.
7. The second purpose is to facilitate evaluation rather than analysis.
8. There is a risk that the differences that divide them will be disguised.
9. All systems of classification are state-bound. (Paraphrase)
10. This approach is by no means invalid. (Paraphrase)
11. The ‘three worlds’ division is redundant.
12. These values are believed to be universally applicable. (Paraphrase)
13. Political participation is confined to an elite body. (Paraphrase)
14. Compliance is achieved through bargaining.
15. Check(s) and balance(s) (Rus)
16. The economy is geared to the market.
Comprehension Check
A.1. What is the difference between ‘government’ and a ‘political system’?
2. What is ‘political’ in a political system?
3. Through which means can a regime be changed?
1. Name two reasons for classifying political systems.
2. All systems of classification have their drawbacks. Name three of them given in
the text.
3. Give an example of different interpretations of the same thing in different contexts
in the text.
1. The regime classification industry has been in limbo lately. Find facts accounting
for it.
Give your set of priorities of the parameters listed in the text for classification of a
system. While speaking on the priorities, make use of the words and phrases below.
Useful Vocabulary
to underlie (eg This principle ~s all the
… takes the (first) place…
country’s policies), an underlying
to give priority to …
to be of major / primary / utmost
of less importance, of no great
to attach great importance to …
a secondary issue, to be secondary to…
We must not lose sight of …
could be neglected
… is predetermined by …
a predominant factor
a precondition=prerequisite of / for …
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More Vocabulary Practice and Discussion
1. Match these words with their dictionary definitions.
1) democracy
a) government by a small group of people, often for their own
2) totalitarianism b) government by the people or the elected representatives of the
3) monarchy
c) (derog) a country in which most activities of the citizens are
controlled by (secret) political police
4) dictatorship
d) a political system in which every citizen is subject to the
power of the state, which exercises complete control
5) oligarchy
e) a system ruled by someone with complete power, especially if
that power was gained by force
6) tyranny
f) the system of rule by a king or queen
7) police state
g) the use of power cruelly and / or unjustly to rule a person or
Give examples from history or current affairs of (some of) these types of government.
2. Decide where these words should go in the diagram. The first one has been done
for you.
anarchist / capitalist / communist / conservative / fascist /
liberal / nationalist / socialist / social democrat
state control
individual responsibility
 Where would you put yourself?
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4. Complete the chart with words from exercises 1 and 2 where possible.
Noun (concept)
e.g. democracy
Noun (person)
4. Use the right form of the words in the sentences below.
a) We should always fight to maintain our (democracy) institutions.
b) I hate (extremist) in any form. It never solves anything. I am all for (moderate).
c) The spectre of (totalitarianism) rule hangs over this troubled country.
d) For someone who is supposed to be a (radical) you seem to have a very
(conservative) way of thinking.
e) What we need in this country is (socialist). We don’t need a (monarchy) sitting on
a throne telling us what to do.
f) By the early 1920s it was evident that the (monarch) system in its existing form
was ill-equipped to negotiate successfully the difficult transition from ‘(oligarch)’
(liberal) to genuine (democrat).
g) It showed up the Achilles heel of the government — its excessively (dictator)
h) The (tyrannical) of the majority is now generally included among the evils against
which society requires to be on its guard.
5. Choose one of the characters below to argue in favour of their political point of
view. Make a speech and try to convince other members of your group.
6. Write a political slogan which a character from exercise 5 could use on posters
telling people how “good” they are.
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Comment on the quotations:
1. “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” (Sir Winston
2. “Capitalism in Russia has spawned far more Al Capones than Henry Fords” (David
3. “The real political life in Russia unfortunately is not in the parliament but on the
streets and in the media” (Garry Kasparov).
4. “Russia needs a strong state power and must have it. But I am not calling for
totalitarianism” (Vladimir Putin).
What are the most serious problems Russia has faced recently?
Assessing Russia's Future
by Jean-Pierre and Fabrice Lehmann
In the winter of 2003 — five years of fairly strong economic growth notwithstanding
— it is difficult to feel optimistic about Russia. There are six quite daunting major
weaknesses and threats:
1. Who is in charge?
It is not at all clear where the country’s real power base lies. The Kremlin under
President Putin — indeed Putin himself — fit perfectly into Churchill’s famous
description of Russian policy under Stalin as a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an
The relationship and balance of power between the presidency, the army and the
oligarchy are opaque. The showdown with Khodorkovsky is clearly a power-play, but
what will be the final act?
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A dozen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the question “What kind of state
is Russia anyway?” is impossible to answer.
2. How to enforce the law?
There is widespread corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency, a completely inadequate
legal system and a gaping democracy deficit, notably in respect of the media.
And there is the omnipresent mafia, with several thousand gangs controlling tens of
thousands of businesses and banks. Even small retailers are subjected to protection
3. Can the demographic rot be stopped?
Russia’s demographics are catastrophic. It is one of the few countries in Europe
where life expectancy is quite dramatically declining, alcoholism is rife, as are many
other diseases (including HIV/AIDS).
According to estimates, there are 17 billionaires in Russia — while about 40% of the
population lives below the poverty line.
4. How to fix the economy?
The country’s economic structure and income distribution are in a worrisome state.
The infrastructure is collapsing and in many places it simply has collapsed. There is
far too much dependence on oil and gas.
The concentration of wealth is skewed in several respects: 85% of Russia’s financial
assets are concentrated in the capital city of Moscow, where less than 10% of the
country’s population lives.
Russia’s small-and-medium sized sector (SMEs) contributes only around 10% of
GDP, in contrast to 50% in most Western countries. It is also far lower than in many
developing economies, where the SMEs are the most dynamic part of the economy.
Domestic investment is very low. Thus, Russia’s huge landmass notwithstanding, it
accounts for only about 1% of world GDP.
5. Integration in the world economy
A major weakness is that the Russian economy is markedly “unglobalized.”
Russia, with a population of 145 million, accounts for less than 2% of world exports,
including oil and gas. That is less than Spain’s share with its 40 million people.
In 1913, Russia accounted for 3.8% of the world’s grain exports. Ninety years later,
its share has fallen to 1%. Russia’s share of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows
hovers at about 0.25% of total FDI. Russia is a minor and peripheral player in the
globalized economy.
6. Ethnic tensions
Ethnic relations, both inside Russia and with its close-by neighbors, are a mess. The
war in Chechnya has strained relations with some of its neighbours, such as Georgia.
Tensions between Russian minorities — which make up more than 30% of the
population in Latvia and Estonia, 38% in Kazakhstan, 22% in Ukraine and 13% in
both Moldova and Belarus — are problematic as well. Taken altogether, these ethnic
compositions represent an explosive mixture.
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Vocabulary Practice
1. Give your understanding of the underlined words and phrases.
2. Fill in the gaps with the appropriate words and expressions from the text
“Traditional Systems of Classification” and the article “Assessing Russia’s
Future”. First letters of the words are given.
It is an attitude which seems to be c______ to the upper classes. It cannot be
found anywhere else.
Western values were believed to be universally a______.
The treaty is b______ on all the parties which have signed it. None of them can
avoid complying with it.
Serbia requested that the UN SC declare Kosovo independence legally
Gorbachev survived a c______ attempt only to be dethroned a few months
later by the breakup of the USSR.
Lyndon Johnson s______ Kennedy as President.
Many academics assert that the political system established in 1648 has
e______ until now.
Most German aid to the 3rd World is claimed to be a thinly d______ attempt at
Germany developed in the 1920s the idea of an economy g______ to defence
10. He’s been o______ in the country’s media since he was elected President. All
the newspapers were full of articles devoted to him.
11. Fossil fuels a______ for a large proportion of the nation’s export earnings.
12. If a person’s income is less than is needed to buy food, pay for proper place to
live etc, they are said to live b______the p______ l______.
13. Russia is believed to be a country where corruption is r______. The
Government claims to be doing all it can to eradicate it.
14. Relations between Russia and Georgia have become quite s______.
15. They urged the PM to crack down on terrorists and deal with the most d______
economic problems.
16. The audience was confused. The jargon in the lecturer’s talk was o______ to
17. It is true that the actual distribution of property in society is far from equal; but
it is not so s______ as to give any individual a monopoly of economic power.
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Analyze the plan of the article “Assessing Russia’s Future” and fill in the gaps with
the appropriate words / word combinations to make the plan of the article complete.
I. Russia’s future
II. …:
1. …:
a)… ;
b) lawlessness;
c) lack of democracy;
d)… .
2. Economy:
a) infrastructural collapse;
b) …;
c) underdeveloped small-and-medium business;
d) small GDP;
e) ….
3. …:
a) demographic collapse;
b) ….
4. …
III. …
1. Do you mostly agree or disagree with the authors of the article? Which points do
you share and which ones do you disagree with?
2. Has the situation in the country changed dramatically since the article was written?
Which of the daunting problems, if any, have been overcome? Have any new
problems arisen? How relevant is the article to the current state of affairs in Russia?
 While comparing the situation in the past with the current one, make use of the
words and phrases below.
Useful Vocabulary
Both … and …
Like …,
…, while / whereas …
Unlike …,
In stark contrast to …,
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3. Analyze the current socio-political situation in the Russian Federation using the
parameters given in the text “Traditional Systems of Classification” and the
information from the article “Assessing Russia's Future”. While speaking on the
situation in the country, make use of the words and phrases below.
Useful Vocabulary
on paper, de jure ≠ de facto
façade [ ]
the populace
leverage [ ] (to enjoy enormous / little ~)
interest group
loyalist of the regime
protégé [ ]
nominee, appointee
coterie [ ]
to intimidate sb into doing smth, n
public apathy
politically minded
disillusionment (a widespread ~ with the
present government)
a high/ low / poor turnout (~ of voters)
to go to the polls
polling station
to rubberstamp
social layer / stratum
raw materials
raw materials appendage
backbone (the ~ of the country’s economy)
fossil fuels / hydrocarbons
red tape
rigged elections / electoral fraud
to outweigh: the pros far ~ the cons
overwhelming majority
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Comment on the quotations:
1. “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the
others that have been tried” (Sir Winston Churchill).
2. “Democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of
government ever devised by man” (Ronald Reagan).
3. “Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we
deserve” (George Bernard Shaw).
4. “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us.
The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and
congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country” (Franklin D.
5. “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the
average voter” (Sir Winston Churchill).
Liberal Democracy
 Fill in the blanks using English equivalents.
Liberal democracy is a form of (демократического правления) that
balances the principle of (ограниченного правления) against the ideal of
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(народного согласия). Its ‘liberal’ features are revealed in a network of internal and
external checks on government that are worked out to guarantee liberty and afford
citizens (защиту) against the state. Its ‘democratic’ character is based on a system of
(регулярных и состязательных) elections, conducted on the basis of (всеобщего
избирательного права) and (политическом равенстве). Although it might be used
to describe a political principle, the term ‘liberal democracy’ is much more often
employed to describe a particular type of regime. The defining (черты) of this type of
regime are as follows:
- (конституционное правление) based on formal, usually legal, rules;
- (гарантии гражданских свобод) and individual rights;
- institutionalised fragmentation and (система сдержек и противовесов);
- (регулярные выборы) that respect the principle of ‘one person, one vote’; one vote,
one value;
- party competition and (политический плюрализм);
- (независимость) of organised groups and interests from (системы правления);
- (экономика частного предпринимательства) is geared to the market.
1. Use other reliable sources (e.g. Wikipedia) to find out more characteristic features
of Liberal Democracy, its preconditions, varieties of democracy, its strengths and
2. Why have liberal-democratic structures proved to be so successful?
3. Outline the contours of the political system of Russia (branches of power etc)
4. Analyze the current socio-political situation in the Russian Federation to find out
to what extent the country is exercising the principles of liberal democracy.
5. See Russia’s Democracy Index score by The Economist Intelligence Unit1 and / or
Russia’s score in Freedom in the World report2 by Freedom House. How much do
you agree with these assessments?
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representative democracy
Comment on the quotations:
1. “Every people may establish what form of government they please, and change it
as they please, the will of the nation being the only thing essential” (Thomas
2. “Someone once said that every form of government has one characteristic peculiar
to it and if that characteristic is lost, the government will fall. In a monarchy, it is
affection and respect for the royal family. If that is lost the monarch is lost. In a
dictatorship, it is fear. If the people stop fearing the dictator he'll lose power. In a
representative government such as ours, it is virtue. If virtue goes, the government
fails…” (Ronald Reagan).
3. “People who live in the post-totalitarian system know only too well that the
question of whether one or several political parties are in power, and how these
parties define and label themselves, is of far less importance than the question of
whether or not it is possible to live like a human being” (Vaclav Havel).
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4. “The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you
vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time
voting” (Charles Bukowski).
1. What is a political regime?
2. What is the difference between governments, political systems and regimes?
3. On what basis are regimes classified?
Regimes of the Modern World
A. Western polyarchies
Western polyarchies are broadly equivalent to regimes categorized as liberal
democracies or even simply ‘democracies’. Their heartlands are therefore North
America, Western Europe and Australasia, although states ranging from India and
Japan to the ‘new’ South Africa all exhibit strongly polyarchical features.
The term ‘polyarchy’ is preferable to liberal ‘democracy’ for two reasons.
First, liberal democracy is sometimes treated as a political ideal. Secondly, the use of
‘polyarchy’ acknowledges that these regimes fall short, in important ways, of the
goal of democracy.
All states that hold multiparty elections have polyarchical features.
Nevertheless, western polyarchies have a more distinctive and particular character.
They are marked not only by representative democracy and a capitalist economic
organization, but also by a widespread acceptance of liberal individualism.
Western polyarchies are not all alike, however. Some of them are biased in
favour of centralisation and majority rule, and others tend towards fragmentation and
pluralism. A system of consociational democracy is particularly appropriate to
societies that are divided by deep religious, ideological, regional, cultural or other
differences. Consensual or pluralistic tendencies are often associated with the
following features:
- coalition government;
- a separation of powers between the executive and the assembly;
- an effective bicameral system;
- a multiparty system;
- proportional representation;
- federalism or devolution;
- a codified constitution and a bill of rights;
B. Postcommunist regimes
The collapse of communism in the eastern European revolutions of 1989-91
undoubtedly unleashed a process of democratisation that drew heavily on the western
liberal model. The central features of this process were the adoption of multiparty
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elections and the introduction of market-based economic reforms. In that sense, it can
be argued that most (some would say all) former communist regimes are undergoing
a transition that will eventually make them indistinguishable from western
polyarchies. Nevertheless, for the time being at least, there are reasons for treating
these systems as distinct. In the first place, the heritage of their communist past can
not be discarded overnight, especially when, as in Russia, the communist system had
endured for over 70 years. Secondly, the process of transition itself has unleashed
forces and generated problems quite different from those that confront western
polyarchies. One feature of post-communist regimes is the need to deal with the
politico-cultural consequences of communist rule. A second set of problems stems
from the process of economic transition. The ‘shock therapy’ transition from central
planning to laissez-faire capitalism, advocated by the International Monetary Fund,
unleashed deep insecurity because of the growth of unemployment and inflation, and
it significantly increased social inequality. Important differences between postcommunist states can also be identified. The most crucial of these is that between the
more industrially advanced and westernized countries of ‘central’ Europe and the
more backward ‘eastern’ states. In the former group, market reform has proceeded
swiftly and relatively smoothly; in the latter, it has either been grudging and
incomplete or it has given rise to deep political tensions.
С. East Asian Regimes
The rise of East Asia in the late twentieth century may ultimately prove to be
a more important world-historical event than the collapse of communism. Certainly,
the balance of the world’s economy has shifted markedly from the West to the East in
this period. However, the notion that there is a distinctively East Asian political form
is a less familiar one. The widespread assumption has been that modernization means
westernisation. Translated into political terms, this means that industrial capitalism is
always accompanied by liberal democracy. However, this interpretation fails to take
account of the degree to which polyarchial institutions operate differently in an Asian
context from the way they do in a western one. Most importantly, it ignores the
difference between cultures influenced by Confucian ideas and values and ones
shaped by liberal individualism.
East Asian regimes tend to have similar characteristics. First, they are
orientated more around economic goals than political ones. Secondly there is broad
support for ‘strong’ government. Powerful ‘ruling’ parties tend to be tolerated, and
there is general respect for the state. Although, with low taxes, and relatively low
public spending (usually below 30 per cent of GDP/gross domestic product), there is
little room for the western model of the welfare state, there is nevertheless general
acceptance that the state as a ‘father figure’ should guide the decisions of private as
well as public bodies, and draw up strategies for national development. This
characteristic is accompanied, thirdly, by a general disposition to respect leaders
because of the Confucian stress on loyalty, discipline and duty. Finally, great
emphasis is placed on community and social cohesion, embodied in the central role
accorded to the family. The resulting emphasis on what the Japanese call ‘group
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think’ restricts the scope for the assimilation of ideas such as individualism and
human rights, at least as these are understood in the West.
D. Islamic regimes
The rise of Islam as a political force has had a profound affect on politics in
North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. In some cases, militant Islamic
groups have challenged existing regimes, often articulating the interests of an urban
poor. Islam is not, however, and never has been, simply a religion. Rather, it is a
complete way of life, defining correct moral, political and economic behavior for
individuals and nations alike. Political Islam aims at the construction of a theocracy
in which political and other affairs are structured according to ‘higher’ religious
principles. Nevertheless, political Islam has assumed clearly contrasting forms,
ranging from fundamentalist to pluralist extremes.
E. Military regimes
Whereas most regimes are shaped by a combination of political, economic,
cultural and ideological factors, some survive through the exercise, above all, of
military power and systematic repression. In this sense, military regimes belong to a
broader category of authoritarianism. Military authoritarianism has been most
common in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia, but it also
emerged in the postwar period in Spain, Portugal and Greece. The key feature of a
military regime is that the leading posts in the government are filled on the basis of
the person's position within the military chain of command. Normal political and
constitutional arrangements are usually suspended, and institutions through which
opposition can be expressed, such as elected assemblies and a free press, are either
weakened or abolished.
Although all forms of military rule are deeply repressive, this classification
encompasses a number of regime types. In some military regimes, the armed forces
assume direct control of government. The classical form of this is the military junta,
most commonly found in Latin America. This operates as a form of collective
military government centered on a command council of officers who usually
represent the three armed services: the army, navy and air force. The second form of
military regime is a military-backed personalized dictatorship. In these cases, a
single individual gains preeminence within the junta or regime. In the final form of
military regime, the loyalty of the armed forces is the decisive factor that upholds
the regime, but the military leaders content themselves with ‘pulling the strings’
behind the scenes.
Vocabulary Practice
1. Find a word or words in the text that mean the same as the following
definition. They are in the same order as they appear in the text.
1) to fail to reach a desired level
2) showing unreasonable preference for
3) suitable for
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1) to release suddenly smth powerful and destructive
2) to approach
3) legacy, vestiges of the past
4) to get rid of smth unwanted
5) to develop from, to cause
6) to support
7) not advanced
8) to result in
1) stopped temporarily
2) to obtain the highest position
3) to defend
2. Give your understanding of the following words and phrases:
1) representative democracy
2) assembly
3) bicameral system
4) devolution
5) codified (~ constitution)
6) the shock therapy
7) laissez faire (~ capitalism)
8) the welfare state
9) social cohesion
10) public spending
11) ‘to pull the strings’
12) viable (to constitute a ~ alternative to smth)
13) statism / etatism
14) paternalism
3. Word Formation
to accept → n, adj, ≠ adj
to distinguish → adj, ≠ adj
equal → ≠ adj, ≠n (cf stable → ≠adj, ≠n)
to abolish → n
to emerge → adj, n
transition→ adj
Comprehension Check
1. Why is the term ‘polyarchy’ preferable to liberal ‘democracy’?
2. What is the distinctive feature of western polyarchies?
3. What societies is a system of consociational democracy particularly appropriate
4. What features are consensual or pluralistic tendencies associated with?
5. The collapse of communism unleashed a process of democratization. Name the
central features of this process.
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6. Some argue that former communist regimes will become indistinguishable from
western polyarchies. List the counterarguments given in the text.
7. Comment on the role of the International Monetary Fund in the process.
8. Identify important differences between post-communist states.
9. The widespread assumption has been that modernization means westernisation.
Translate it into political terms and give all ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ mentioned in the text.
10. What is the aim of political Islam with its particular features?
11. What are the key features and forms of military regimes?
12. Match the notions with the definitions: 1) polyarchy; 2) consociational
democracy; 3) communism; 4) confucianism; 5) theocracy; 6) authoritarianism.
a. 'Rule by God', the principle that religious authority should prevail over
political authority.
b. A system of ethics that concerned itself with the twin themes of human relations
and the cultivation of the self.
c. A belief in, or practice of government from 'above', in which authority is exercised
regardless of popular consent.
d. The communal organization of social existence on the basis of the collective
ownership of property.
e. 'Rule by many', institutions and political processes of modern representative
f. A form of democracy that operates through power sharing and close association
amongst a number of parties or political formations.
1. Look through the text to find out if the following are the topical sentences for the
first (A) part of the text? If not, which are?
1) western polyarchies are broadly equivalent to regimes categorized as ‘liberal
democracies’ or even simply ‘democracies’;
2) all states that hold multiparty elections have polyarchical features;
3) some western polyarchies are biased in favour of centralization and majority
rule, and others tend towards fragmentation and pluralism.
2. Write out the topical sentences in parts ‘B’ and ‘C’ of the text.
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1. What makes the author think that ‘the rise of East Asia in the late XXth century
may ultimately prove to be a more important world-historical event than the collapse
of communism’? To give a grounded answer to the question, fill in the table.
The implications of the collapse of
The implications of the rise of East Asia
To answer questions 2 & 3, see the Democracy Index by The Economist
Intelligence Unit1 and Freedom in the World report by Freedom House2.
2. To what extent have post-communist regimes discarded their communist past?
Group them according to the progress each of them has made in their transition to
democracy. Think of the reasons for the current state of affairs.
3. How democratic are Western polyarchies?
4. Which political regime is most appropriate for Russia: polyarchy / monarchy /
theocracy / dictatorship / any other?
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5. The country is in the midst of an electoral campaign. You are a member of a
political party that advocates polyarchy / monarchy / theocracy / dictatorship /
communism / socialism / anarchy / any other regime. Take part in a debate.
 Present the name of the party, its slogan and emblem.
 Speak on behalf of the party to persuade the listeners that the regime you have
chosen is the most appropriate for Russia.
 You have to consider two major aspects: background questions (history,
culture, religion, mentality etc) and current affairs questions (how effective
the regime is while dealing with the most pressing problems the country has
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1. Гуськова Т.И. Английский для политологов / Т.И. Гуськова, Е.А. Городкова.
– М. : МГИМО, 2001. – 320 с.
2. Гуськова Т.И. Трудности перевода общественно-политического текста с
английского языка на русский : учеб. пособие / Т.И. Гуськова, Г.М. Зиборова. –
М. : Российская политическая энциклопедия, 2000. – 228 с.
3. Capel Annette. Objective IELTS: Advanced: Self-Study Student's Book (+ CDROM) / Capel Annette, Black Michael. - Cambridge University Press, 2010. – 208 p.
4. Harmer Jeremy. More Than Words: Vocabulary for Upper Intermediate to
Advanced Students / Harmer Jeremy, Rossner Richard - Longman, 1992. – 230 p.
5. Lehmann Jean-Pierre Fabrice. Assessing Russia's Future / Jean-Pierre
Lehmann, Fabrice Lehmann
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Учебное издание
Учебно-методическое пособие
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