Michael Mcfaul

Michael Mcfaul
Stanford University | SU · Department of Political Science

DPhil, International Relations, Oxford University

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108
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Publications

Publications (108)
Article
Policies chosen by Putin, not innate forces of history, culture, or tradition, pushed Russia in a more autocratic direction …
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An American political scientist documents the evolution of the influence during 1992-93 of the Russian centrist organization, Civic Union, interpreting its dynamics with reference to a suggested theory of “peaceful revolutions.” The study is based on extensive and repeated interviews in Russia with leaders of the organization and directors of state...
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Two experts on Russian politics and government assess claims that undemocratic attitudes prevail among the Russian population. Original survey data about perceptions of democratic institutions and values as well as sociodemographic data are analyzed to gauge support for democratic ideas. Surveys comprise a three-stage panel survey in which intervie...
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Two specialists on Russian politics chronicle the formation and early development of Unity, the latest version of the “party of power” in Russian politics. Unity's unexpected success in the election of the State Duma in December 1999 helped assure Vladimir Putin's subsequent election as president and gave him a reliable base of support within the D...
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Although norms protecting the sovereignty of states still trump norms protecting the rights of individuals, the balance is shifting. Democracy promotion has become increasingly acceptable as a foreign policy goal throughout most of the international community.
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In its nuclear negotiations with the rest of the world, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been pursuing a strategy of “heads you lose, tails we win.” In its carefully crafted and creatively ambiguous response to UN Security Council Resolution 1696, the Iranian regime claims that it is willing to negotiate on all issues, including suspension of enric...
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The first transitions from communist rule in Eastern Europe and Eurasia at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s did not resemble many of the transitions from authoritarian rule in the previous two decades. Why? Some have suggested that countries in the communist world shared distinguishing historical legacies or particular institutio...
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The fall 2004 Ukrainian presidential election led to one of the seminal moments in that country’s history. Initially, the campaign and election results resembled other tainted and fraudulent votes in semiauthoritarian regimes around the world. The incumbent president, Leonid Kuchma, and his chosen successor, Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych, deploy...
Book
This volume brings together a distinguished group of scholars working on Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to examine in depth three waves of democratic change that took place in eleven different former Communist nations. Its essays draw important conclusions about the rise, development, and breakdown of both democracy and dictatorship in...
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In June 2004, President George W. Bush tried to leverage the US chairmanship of the G-8 summit to launch the centerpiece of his Administration’s “forward strategy of freedom” for the post-9/11, post-Saddam Middle East. The new Mideast project would marshal American and European diplomatic and financial resources to press for greater social, politic...
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The tragic result of the gap between declared objectives and strategies on democracy promotion is that many Americans are starting to view this goal as no longer desirable or attainable. A more effective strategy for promoting democracy and human rights is both needed and available.
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Morocco's experience suggests that expanded political liberty, especially freedom of association, can facilitate the emergence of multiple versions of political Islam, reducing the salience of a large, undifferentiated Islamist movement as an umbrella for oppositionist sentiment. The best means for containing potentially destabilizing discontent an...
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A growing conventional wisdom holds that Vladimir Putin's attack on democracy has brought Russia stability and prosperity --providing a new model of successful market authoritarianism. But the correlation between autocracy and economic growth is spurious. Autocracy's effects in Russia have in fact been negative. Whatever the gains under Putin, they...
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Can the West promote democracy? An examination of one critical case, the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, offers a unique method for generating answers to this important theoretical and policy question. Tracing the causal impact of external influences first requires a theory of democratization composed exclusively of domestic factors, specificall...
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This collection of essays is derived from a conference convened at Princeton University marking the ten-year anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Some of the best minds in post-Soviet studies focused on the task of identifying how the post-communist experience with transition has confirmed or confounded conventional theories of politica...
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All federal systems face the two fundamental dilemmas of federalism: too strong a center risks overawing the subnational units; and too weak a center risks free-riding that makes the system fall apart. Resolving the two dilemmas is problematic because mitigating one dilemma exacerbates the other. We develop a model of federal institutions that show...
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Electing to Fight seeks to explain an alleged paradox: Democracies do not fight each other, but "the beginning stages of transitions to democracy often give rise to war rather than peace. Since the end of the Cold War, this causal connection between democratization and war has been especially striking" (p. 2). Why are democratizing states so bellig...
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Diplomacy, particularly with dictatorships friendly toward the United States, is often overlooked as a means to promote democratic regime change. Yet, a closer look at three forgotten cases from the late 1980s yields several lessons for today's efforts to engage but reform autocratic allies.
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Two political scientists comment on Thomas Ambrosio's "The Geopolitics of Demographic Decay: HIV/AIDS and Russia's Great-Power Status" (Post-Soviet Affairs, 22, 1, January-March 2006). Ambrosio's three indicators of great-power capacity—Russia's society, military, and economy—are reviewed in terms of his argument about how the projected effects of...
Chapter
The immediate afterglow of the failed coup attempt in August 1991 must rank as one of the more optimistic periods in Russian history. In August 1991, like many other times in Russia's past, Kremlin rulers had issued orders to suppress the people. This time around, some of the people resisted. For three days, a military stand-off ensued between thos...
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The mid-2005 election of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as Iran’s new president left those committed to democratic change in the country feeling shocked and disappointed. At first glance, his victory seemed to signal not only the consolidation of Iran’s ruling Islamist autocracy, but also the rejection in principle of democracy and the revival of the ideas an...
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Should Western leaders try to stop this perilous drift of disengagement? Yes. Can they stop it anytime in the foreseeable future? Not likely.
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In his first term in office, President George W. Bush established and nurtured a close personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. Early on, Bush's overtures toward his counterpart in the Kremlin produced beneficial results for the president's policies. President Bush succeeded in persuading Putin to acquiesce in the abrogation...
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The years since 2000 have seen a surprising new wave of democratic breakthroughs in the postcommunist countries of Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine. This article compares and contrasts these three cases, naming seven common factors which made the breakthroughs in these countries possible: 1) a semi-autocratic rather than fully autocratic regime; 2) an...
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Western governments have thus far struggled to translate bold rhetoric into a realistic and plausible strategy that can help promote democracy and human development in the broader Middle East. Such a strategy should be based on these three pillars.
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Three experts on Russian elections analyze the surprising degree to which Russian voters supported their leaders, especially Putin, in the December 2003 Duma elections and the March 2004 presidential election. Drawing on the results of surveys of a nationally representative sample of Russians of voting age made between December 19, 2003, and Februa...
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If Russia eventually reverts to a full-blown autocratic regime, it is not inconceivable that tension and competition once again will define Russian-American relations. At this critical moment in Russia's internal development, American foreign policy makers cannot afford to be disengaged.
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The December 2003 parliamentary and the March 2004 presidential elections witnessed worrisomely lopsided victories for incumbent president Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin-backed United Russia party. These victories were assisted by an unlevel electoral playing field. Russia's political system has become less pluralistic on Putin's watch. During his...
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Immediately after the collapse of communism in Europe, many students of international relations predicted a return to balance-of-power politics among the great European powers. Others foresaw new balancing between the United States and Europe as the international system moved from a bipolar order to a multipolar world. A decade later, the distingui...
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This volume is the product of a conference, entitled Ten Years since the Collapse of the Soviet Union: Comparative Lessons and Perspectives, held at Princeton University in the autumn of 2000. The genesis of the conference lay in our shared belief that the study of the formerly communist world had much to offer comparative politics, but that few if...
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The transition from communism in Europe and the former Soviet Union has only sometimes led to democracy. Since the crumbling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, twenty-eight mostly new states have abandoned communism. But only eight - the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, and...
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Despite this difficult decade of economic hardship and disappointed expectations, the basic hypothesis about the new generation in Russia-defined in this article as those between eighteen and thirty-nine years of age today-has generally proven to be correct. As I will discuss in section one of this article, the younger generation in Russia appears...
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Russians seem content with the current quasi-democratic, quasi-autocratic order.
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this paper, inhibited our understanding of why pluralistic and quasi democratic politics appeared and persisted in so many inhospitable environments such as Africa and the former Soviet Union. This paper focuses on regime trajectories and the challenges of authoritarian state building in Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine, which like many other...
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The transition from communism in Europe and the former Soviet Union has only sometimes produced a transition to democracy. Since the crumbling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, most of the twenty-eight new states have abandoned communism, but only nine of these have entered the ranks of liberal democracies. Th...
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Journal of Democracy 13.1 (2002) 170-175Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban. By Larry P. Goodson. University of Washington Press, 2001. 264 pp. Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. By Ahmed Rashid. Yale University Press, 2000. 279 pp. By the time this review appears...
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A decade after the collapse of communism, Russia still lacks a robust party system. Most institutions of the state are immune from party influence. However parties play a central role in the lower house of parliament, the State Duma. Why? Why have parties been successful in organizing and influencing the work of the State Duma but enjoyed only very...
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September's attacks initiated a new era of world politics. As Washington scrambles to build its antiterror coalition, it may be tempted to overlook the antidemocratic excesses of its partners. But this would be a mistake, especially when it comes to Russia. Fortunately, recent poll data reveal an unlikely American ally: the Russian masses, who have...
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Journal of Democracy 12.4 (2001) 87-94 The defeat of the Communist hard-liners' August 1991 coup attempt marked one of the most euphoric moments in Russian history. For centuries, autocrats had ruled Russia, using force when necessary to suppress society. This time, emboldened by liberalization under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian society...
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"The soundest strategy for both American and Russian policymakers is to carve a middle position between obsessive engagement and active disengagement. Russian and American leaders have to define a United States-Russian relationship that neither rekindles cold war rivalry nor refuels illusions about alliances and special relationships. More distance...
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The post-Cold War world is divided into two worlds - a liberal core and a realist periphery. The core and the periphery, however, are not permanently divided, and their interaction in Europe is particularly dynamic. In general, the core powers - led by the United States - have moved to expand their zone of peace and prosperity eastward. And while R...
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The improvement in Russian-American relations is one of the few positive factors in the muddled picture of international relations today. Russian president Vladimir Putin's support for the American struggle against international terrorism has elevated communications between two former enemies to a new level Politicians on either side of the ocean a...
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Although Russians may be slow to acquire the values of liberal democracy, they have acquired the habits of electoral democracy with surprising speed. The set of political ground rules that Yeltsin imposed in 1993 has survived numerous challenges and, in fact, gained strength even as his weakened presidency draws to a close.
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Pundits have wasted their time quibbling over "who lost Russia." Not only is Russia not "lost," but it has made enormous strides since 1991. And despite some occasional missteps, U. S. policy has generally been on target. Now is the time to focus on what works, not on who's to blame. Otherwise, all the finger-pointing about the supposed failure of...
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During the Yeltsin years, it became fashionable in the West to cite Russia's weak state as the source of Russia's ills. Putin has demonstrated after only a few months in office that the Russian federal state still has tremendous power—perhaps too much power—if the man in control of that state is vigorous, ambitious, and popular.
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Journal of Democracy 11.3 (2000) 19-33 Russia's March 2000 presidential election represents one step forward and two steps back for Russian democracy. For the first time in Russia's history, power within the Kremlin has changed hands through an electoral process. The election not only took place but was conducted as constitutionally prescribed, no...
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R ussian democracy and American national security are intimately intertwined. This link is not new, but it is not well understood.When the cold war ended and Soviet communism disappeared, American national security was enhanced. If dictatorship returns to Russia, the United States and its allies will once again be threatened. Containment would like...
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In the wake of Yeltsin's unexpected resignation on 31 December 1999 and the apparent inevitability of Putin 's electoral victory in the March 2000 presidential election, the 1999 December parliamentary elections already seem like ancient history. For the analyst of Russian politics, however, Russia's Duma vote offers a new wealth of data that will...
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The most surprising outcome of Russia's recent financial meltdown has been the demonstration of democracy's resilience, not its weakness. Most major political actors are preparing for the upcoming elections, not planning to seize power on their own.
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Journal of Democracy 10.2 (1999) 4-18 On 17 August 1998, the Russian government took emergency measures to avert an economic meltdown, but these did little to halt the crisis. A week later, the ruble had lost two-thirds of its value vis-'a-vis the dollar. In one day, the two major economic achievements of the Boris Yeltsin era -- control of inflati...
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During transitional moments, new leaders must design political institutions. Some of these designs succeed in establishing lasting rules of the game. Others do not. This paper analyzes those factors which either facilitate or undermine institutional persistence during transitions, focusing particularly on the role that uncertainty and path dependen...
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This article makes the case for the centrality of domestic politics in the articulation and implementation of Russian foreign policy. The first section discusses briefly why realism-a theory that assumes a unitary actor-cannot account for Russia's behavior in the international system over the last decade and why the domestic level of analysis offer...
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I argue that U.S. strategic interests in the post-post-cold war era are tied intimately to the fate of Russia's new political and economic system. U.S. interests are best served by a Russia that remains on a trajectory toward greater marketization and democratization. If this trajectory is maintained, then recent topical issues in U.S.-Russian rela...
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Michael McFaul is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University, where he also has appointments at the Hoover Institution and the Center for International Security and Arms Control. He also is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. I would like to thank Chip Blacker, Jim Goldgeie...
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An American political scientist and a Russian geographer, both specialists in Russia's emerging electoral geography, assess the change in Russian electoral behavior before and after the 1996 elections for the Russian Federation presidency in June and July 1996. More specifically, they trace the transition from a polarized political and electoral en...
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The demise of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was an event of unparalled precedent, not only for Russia but the Western world and the United States as well. The authors trace the problems inherent in coming to terms with Russia's new status and the difficulties encountered in establishing new relationships. They believe that Russia's size,...
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"Superpresidentialism, ambiguous federalism, the weakness of political parties and labor and civic organizations, the inordinate strength of big business, and the virtual absence of the rule of law represent major blemishes on Russia's nascent democracy...[But] in bemoaning Russia's slow start in consolidating a liberal democracy, we must not forge...
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The first Russian privatization program represented the largest and fastest property reform ever undertaken in the modern world. This article, however, is not concerned with the quantity and speed of Russia's privatization program, but rather with the kind of privatization that occurred in the first round. Drawing on theories of path dependency, th...
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Journal of Democracy 7.2 (1996) 90-104 On 17 December 1995, Russian voters elected representatives to the Duma, the lower house of parliament. For the first time in the thousand-year history of Russia, these elections were held under law, as scheduled, and without serious fraud or falsification. Though the balloting occurred in the dead of winter,...
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This article reviews recent events in Russia and demonstrates that future progress in developing private property rights will require not only sound economic policies but also more robust state institutions capable of carrying out economic transformation. In January 1992 Russia's first postcommunist government launched a comprehensive economic prog...
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The neoliberal economic and political models used by Western analysts to explain Russia's recent transformation ignore the interrelationship between the economy and politics. Russia is in the midst of a social revolution. Economic reform without political reform--as attempted by Yegor Gaidar--will fail. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's policies...
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Symposium IS RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY DOOMED? Explaining the Vote Michael McFaul Michael McFaul, a research associate at Stanford University's Center for International Securitw and Arms Control and at the Hoover Institution, was an international observer at Russia's December elections. The future of Russian democracy has never been more uncertain. Vladimi...
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Many structural realists have argued that a future multipolar international system will be less stable than the bipolar system of the cold war era. This article suggests that arguments based on the stability of a bipolar or multipolar system are misplaced. Focusing instead on democracy, economic interdependence, and technology as factors making war...
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RUSSIA'S EMERGING POLITICAL PARTIES Michael McFaul Michael McFaul, a visiting research fellow at the Hoover Institution, completed his Ph.D. in international relations at Oxford University in 1991. An IREX scholar at Moscow State University during the 1990-91 academic year, he is coauthor with Sergei Markov of The Birth of Russian Democracy: Politi...

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