Democracy refers to a form of political governing in which the people give the power to the government. This could be done either through representatives that are people elect or through referendum directly. Following a 508 BC popular uprising notably in the Greek city of Athens, the term democracy was coined out. And thus this term was famously used to refer to the type of government and political systems that was in existence in middle 5th-4th BC in these Greek cities. Many of these democracies are characterized by the rule of the majority. Without protection by the constitution or the government of liberties that are individual, then there may arise a possibility of the minority being under heavy oppression by the majority. This is what is commonly referred to as a majority tyranny. In democracies that are representative, competitive elections is a process that is essential. Most importantly, these elections ought to be both procedurally and substantively fair.
When comparing the state of democracy in these former USSR nations, then several independent variables are brought into the picture. This is because democracy is often known depending on how deep the desire for a democracy runs within the people and if the current leaders are willing to relinquish their powers. It also depends on the desire of the people for better standards of living or an improved economy. (Bollen, 373)
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The desire for a better democracy by the people has greatly influenced the outcome of governance in Russia ever since the formation of the USSR. In the former Russian state a member of USSR, citizens did participate in voting. The system of voting had been based as per the Soviet Union Constitution chapter XI. All soviets ideally followed these rules to the low town's right from the USSR supreme Soviets Republics of the Union, autonomous republics, regions and even districts. Thus Russia by then being under USSR did comply with this constitution. This voting was directly conducted under universal suffrage and it was personal secrete. Before 1987 however, all of the candidates to stand for elections were pre-selected by the Komsomol. This party was by then a youth wing for the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union).
The deep desire for a better democracy seems to have made the voters participated in the voting process. As much as the elections were mostly undemocratic, the people in this Soviet Union did not lose their interest for a better democracy. Weirdly, the candidates in this election were always un-opposed. Therefore even if the citizens were to vote for them or not, they would still end up in the high offices since there was no one to oppose them. It is no wonder that even after the mandatory six weeks of campaigning by the un-opposed candidates they would all eventually end up easily securing 99% of all the votes cast.
Although tight control had been imposed on elections, somehow the citizens did find a way to make known their grievances at voting. It is recorded that the citizen often had to write requests on the furnished ballot papers for some needed services. A famous example was requests by a majority of citizens to have the airfield moved further away from the center of the city, have parking spaces constructed along with a music center. Surprisingly, these steps were considered after the election (Kullber, 330).
Ukraine still being part of the USSR also did have thee same voting procedure and the people could not stop in their quest for a better democracy that allowed the people make their own choice in a free and fair manner. Therefore, it is hypothetically correct to state that the poor voting system seemed undemocratic to the people who despite this came out in large numbers to vote. By them voting, they were exercising their tights and indirectly informing the un-opposed elected officials that they did want a better democracy. Although Ukraine's were few, they did have some representatives in this government (Luciuk, 34). The people representing them were as well hand picked by their various parties and all that the people were to do was just vote for the nominated and un-opposed individuals. Therefore it can also be concluded that democracy was ill practiced and the people's desire for a better democracy was nagging high.
As much as Russians really wanted a better democracy, there was a general feeling of dislike towards western nations by Russian citizens. Russian from time in memorial have had a some kind of dislike to the western countries especially the United States of America (USA). This made them associate democracy with adopting the kind of rule that is practiced by the western countries. Therefore, it becomes hypothetically corrects to state that due to the citizens beliefs and general social disconnection with the West, the push for democracy was mot at all that vibrant.
In Ukraine, the situation was not any better. Especially after the World War II, many Ukrainians curried some kind of Dislike towards the Western governments. This kind of dislike caused them not to vibrantly fight for reforms in their county. As much as they did carry out many demonstrations asking for better forms of governance, they hardly wanted this to mean that they had envied the type of governance that was being undertaken the western countries (Smith, 60)
Having experienced a dilemma of being ruled harshly by its own people, the Russian and the Ukrainians alike made a choice to push for better forms of governance. As much as this meant that they had slowly become westernized, it was better than being under a dictatorship and un-bearable form of governance. Therefore in conclusion, it would be right to state that although most Russians and Ukrainians associated democracy with western idealisms, they saw this democracy as the only way of being delivered from bad and insensitive governance. However since the 15th centaury up to date the beliefs especially by Russian people does not seem to have changed a lot i.e., they believe that they are the bears of standards for a civilization under Orthodoxy banner as an alternative to this western civilization..
To ensure that they could never bee voted out, Russian leaders under USSR ensured that only one political party existence. There was therefore no chancre of these leaders being voted out. This clearly showed that the leaders were not willing to give up power if they were to be voted out. The people having seen this had to fight for reforms to reveres these phenomena. Ukraine leaders were not any better. The leaders would not easily relinquish power due to the people votes.
It is such scenarios that caused people in the Soviet State to push for reforms in the mode of governance. Therefore, the unwillingness of the voted out leaders to give up power of governance caused the people to demand for better laws to ensure that this foes not happen.
The willingness of the leaders to give up power especially if the incoming leader does was not enjoy majority support of the political class is quite tricky has been hard in Russia Most political parties were oppressed by the ruling party in this former USSR. Any form of opposition was seriously oppressed by the ruling party. It was a serious tyranny across the whole USSR. The worst form of oppression was especially witnessed during Lenin's regimes. In both Russia and Ukraine, it was a huge hustle for survival of any kind. However as much as these leaders did not want to easily relinquish power, they in the process did create an uprising that wanted to get ride of them. Their actions made the people realize that these rules that were governing them were not at all friendly to the common man and thus they developed a deep want for a better democracy.
The beginning of dissolution of the Union of the soviets to form new nations that were independent started by 1985. This was due to expense build up of development in domestics with a stand still in economic growth. Reforms that were tried got failed. Further discontent was generated from the success attained by the Intelligence by directorate of inter-services against the forces of the Soviets forces in the Afghan war. More discontent was generated in the republics of the Baltic and the Eastern parts of Europe.
Due to more freedoms in the social life with more open space for politics that were put on the run by Mikhail Gorbachev the last leader of the Soviets led to an open atmosphere of criticism. With a failed August coup the Russian republic seemed to be in in its last agony. In the long run, the president of Ukraine, Yeltsin and the president of Belorussia decided to officially sign off the end of the USSR. These were still the founding republics in 1922 of the old Soviet Union (Eckstein, 24).
Therefore, there seemed to have been major changes in the way the former USSR government operated. The major dependent variables in the new democracies have varied significantly. There are various changes in the way elections are carried out, civil liberties and freedom of political parties. There has been slight change of how the people in Russia and Ukraine denote the term democracy with more willingness of people in power to relinquish it should they be voted out of office
After the fall of this Soviet Union, Russia has had up to 5 parliamentary and presidential elections. However, the success of these elections should not be used to mean that the Russian people have attained the democracy that they need. The success of these government transitions only seem to portray that the desire for a better democracy is slowly being attained with each passing election. Nowadays, Russia does elect on federal level a president as a head of the state and legislature as one of the assembly that is federal. These elections generally seem democratic from the fact that it has a 6 year limit with a most term limit of 2. Therefore the longing desire for a better democracy has indeed enable the people in the now republic of Russia to start reaping some of the fruits of democracy though not all.
A legislation complement is used in the governing of elections in the federation of Russia. The rights of the citizens are constitutionally enshrined and further clarified in law. Basically, the law set in motion procedural principles to ensure that future elections were based on the law. Parliamentary elections were done under detailed and comprehensive acts that were subordinate. This law ensures and further guarantees that each person has a right of participating in Referendum. However before a party that is not represented in Duma (State parliament) is allowed to participate in elections, they ought to gather at least 200,000 signatures of potential eligible voters. Alternatively, they could just pay about $2.5 Million dollars.
However as much as all these laws do exist to ensure free and fair elections exist, there is no real opposition. Without a real campaign for the electoral, these elections in Russia have not yet reached a fully democratic point (Ernest, 1).
In Ukraine, unlike Russia, the president is on a 5 year term. Also unlike Russia, multi-party democracy is rampant with very may parties. It is even rare for a party to glitch power without a coalition. Ukraine is interesting in terms of election such that even on a snap poll, attest 50% voter turnout ought to be experienced for those results to be valid. Therefore the deep desire for better leaders o bring better change is rife and this seem to be the driving force for major law reforms.
Even after the end of the Soviet Union, the people of Russia still carry a dislike for the Western Ideologies and what they famously call "their democracy". The personal beliefs of many Russian people seem to be in their way for attaining better governance structures. Unfortunately however as it may seem, the majority of Russian do not have a single clue of what democracy really entails. To them it is a form of western governance. From this basic definition of democracy by most Russians, they mostly need not go any further but from that point henceforth, they out rightly reject any form of democratic activities even though they badly need them.
It is interesting however to note that the Russian people still push for some reform in their form of governance without the slight notion that this is still a slow process towards democratization. Therefore as much as the citizen's beliefs if followed to the later would not permit democracy, the democracy just finds its way into the laws of the post USSR state of Russia (Melissa, 89). A survey by freedom house, found out that up to 72% of all Russians prefer order to democracy. However it is overwhelming to note that only 44% believe democracy means better economy while 19 % believe it implies better stability and order. It is very unfortunate to note that only 44% of the respondents in this survey believed that democracy implied increased freedoms and liberties (Freedomhouse, 1).
The willingness of leaders to give up power once voted out of office seemed to have come of age by now. In the 202 elections a Ukrainian President was voted out and he quietly relinquished his powers to the new big boss. The same scenario seems to be on the play in Russia as the idealism of holding onto power though already voted out no longer hold tru to these two countries. This phenomenon has however showed the people that whatever they set their minds towards achieving as a country in form of better democracy; they eventually end up with it. It has thus given the people in this two post soviet nation a boost of wanting to achieve more liberties concerning their lives.
In Ukraine, there are serious problems of abuse of human rights by the state. On the contrary, it looks like the desire for more civil liberties by the citizens causes the people controlling the politics to even oppress the common people even more. These abuses are known to occur especially in the hands of the law enforcement agencies like the police. The abuses also do occur in state run penitentiaries. In these facilities for holding suspects during pre-trial cases, the suspects are recorded to have been tortured while others are wrongfully held in hospitals for psychological treatment yet they are just fine. There has been slow restitution of religious freedom which incident of forcefully taking people back to counties where they could be in danger of prosecution. The police are also known to have mistreated and discriminated especially against the minor people in the society.
Human rights abuses are so rampant in Ukraine that even prominent rights activists are not spared. Such an example is Groisman Dmytro whose organization was raided by the authorities in Ukraine. The judiciary of Ukraine has also had its fair share of problems. It is a well know fact that in Ukraine, the leaders, especially the political class do not put much respect for this noble and equally important institution. It is no wonder that outsiders especially those who come to seek asylum and Migrants have experienced a lot of human right abuses on them and very few people in this country like the rights groups are trying to do something about it. It is a pity that even refugees who ran from problems at their original home should come to Ukraine and finds the situation to be un-inhabitable.
Russia and Ukraine have sincerely come a long way up to the point that they now stand. They have made tremendous steps forwards towards ensuring that democracy is enjoyed by all. However there are still far much greater things that are yet to be accomplished. It is therefore conclusive to state that better governance both under the USSR and post the Soviet has been greatly improved thanks to many variables but most importantly the people's desire for a better democracy. However, the beliefs carried by many people in these two states regarding the western countries and tend to slow down the push for more democracy in both these countries.
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