Russian Defense Legislation and Russian Democracy

  • August 01, 1995
  • Dr Stephen J Blank

As recent events demonstrate, Russia's political system has yet to stabilize. This is particularly the case with civil-military relations for, as the course of the Chechnya invasion reveals, control by the government over the military is erratic and the military is all too often politicized. In this vein, legislation on civilian control of the military and on peacemaking operations in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a particularly important barometer of the course of Russia's democratization and stabilization. Dr. Stephen Blank dissects that legislation and finds that it reflects and contributes to the drift away from democratic rule towards a form of presidential power that is unaccountable to either legal or parliamentary institutions. Furthermore, these laws will also politicize the military still further and promote the use of Russian armed forces in so-called peacemaking operations that actually contribute to Moscow's openly proclaimed program to reintegrate the CIS around it. Therefore, these draft laws should arouse considerable concern among those charged with, or interested in, monitoring Russia's troubled evolution to democracy.