Corruption in the Name of 'Democracy': The USA and Russia in the 1990s'
Adjunct Professor, University of Iowa, College of Law; Pepeliaev Group Law Firm, Head of Dept. for Int’l Programs
March 17, 2011
Michigan State Journal of International Law, Vol. 18, No. 1, p. 117, 2009
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-15
In this contribution to a symposium sponsored by the Michigan State University Journal of International Law, the author argues that predominantly evolutionary Soviet transition to the Rule of Law (initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev’s ‘Perestroika’ at the end of the 1980s) was derailed by “special interests” in the Kremlin and Washington in the 1990s.
With disintegration of the USSR and especially after the initiation of “shock therapy reforms”, turning Russia into a mineral appendix of Western corporations and throwing Russia in her social and economic development into the group of third-world countries, the values of the Russian transition to a law-governed state were supplanted by the interests of the ultimate economic and political subordination of Russia.
U.S. bi-partisan support for such undemocratic and anti-constitutional decisions as the violent dissolution of the Russian federal parliament in 1993, closure of regional legislatures throughout Russia and suspension (for about 18 months) of the Constitutional Court made it clear better than ever before that instead of assisting Russia in her transition to democracy, the U.S. government was quite satisfied with making Russia a client state controlled by a corrupt dependent authoritarian leader.
The author argues that the U.S. policy towards Russia in the 1990s was aimed at circumventing Russian democratic parliamentary processes. U.S. “assistance” to Russian “reformers” gave precedence to executive decree-making over long-term legal institutional development in the country. According to the US GAO, just one US AID-funded program – HIID – in 1994-96 alone drafted “hundreds of decrees” of the Russian president.
The author also considers U.S. political and financial support to criminal privatization (or ‘grab-it-ization’, as it’s better known in Russia), adoption of Yeltsin’s superpresidential and semi-authoritarian constitution, gross violation of election laws during the 1996 Yeltsin’s reelection campaign.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: Russia, USA, democracy, corruption, legislature, constitution, decree-making, elections, Rule of Law, Gorbachev, Yeltsin
JEL Classification: K00, K33, K42, N10, N30, N40, F35Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 25, 2011
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