In taking ths view then, South Africa’s democratisation has been more successful than Russia’s as the people are content with the party and the leader in rule. In Russia the people have been less content with the ruler in power as the popular name for Boris Yeltsin was “Czar Boris”, (www. projects. sipri. se. ) which therefore means that Russia is less successful in this aspect than South Africa. “True democratisation is not only intended to shape political organs and create the workings of a democratic government; it also alters the collective mindset of a community, setting into motion successive societal changes.
Even economic norms undergo transition, further destabalizing the foundations of the state and society experiencing democratisation” (www. projects. sipri. se. ) Russia has democratically elected organs of state power, elections are held regularly and the instituions and procedures protecting the individual freedoms and the rights exist. However it is general opinion that Russia only possesses the formal aspects of a democracy. “The president of the republic was seen as an autocratic man […
], the disequilibrium between the executive, legislative and judicial branches are sharp” (www. nato. int), and the provincial governors are dictatorial in the way they go about power. South Africa also has the problems in that the regional elected governors are not accessbile to their people and it also has problems of share in power in the executive, legislative and judicial branches. South Africa also has democratically elected organs etcetera, and in the aspects discussed above, is in more or less the same level of democratisation as Russia.
In South Africa democracy is more embedded as their society was more open in receiving democracy, however due to the African National Congress’s (ANC) electoral dominance, South Africa is less democratic. They have been elected in all the universal suffrage national elections the country has had, and the dominant party has not varied during all the years in which South Africa has been a democracy. Variation of the party in power is a good symptom of democracy, one which means that the people’s voice is being heard and one which means that competition between parties is occuring.
The ANC’s alliance with the trade unions may constrain economic growth and therefore development, which are both necessary for democracy to be sustainable. However the only quality which Nelson Mandela had when he was elected was that of being elected and that makes South Africa democratic. But there must be a stronger opposing party to the ANC in order to stop electoral dominance which brings South Africa to being described as semi-democratic.
Also “following the victory of the ANC after the 1994 elections, where they gained a majority of 64%, the National Party was still controlling the financial market, military, civil service and economic activity” (Chorley Lecture 1999), but the incomplete transfer of powers is common in young democracies. However it does make South Africa less democratic and therefore democratisation may be viewed as less successful. The data for Russia in the transfer of powers to the ruling party are unknown as these dealings are more secretive in this country.
To compare how successful democratisation has been in South Africa and in Russia, we need to see how the transition period has been. If it is a period which separates one type of regime from another, including some features of the old regime which perdure, which although rejected, have no new features made up to replace them or if it’s a period where the old regime has ended and what has not yet been fully shaped up. The first type of transition fits in with Russia and the second type with South Africa.
Comparing the relative success of democratisation between South Africa and Russia is a problem of measuring democracy. Democracy cannot be measured in the same way for different states, something which I have been doing in this essay. It is not right to compare how democratised Russia is against South Africa by using the same controlers. If democracy is measured as to whether; we should protect a minority when their views are seen as dangerous, offensive and violent, or as to whether; we should allow the ‘Tyranny of the majority’ to take over the minorities.
Democracy as such cannot be measured, so Russia and South Africa cannot be successfully compared. “In Moscow, we have a free market without a democracy and a civil society, but tied to criminal politics [… ] In Eastern Europe and the countries which had emerged on the ruins of the Soviet Union, capitalism has appeared from the begginning and at the same time the hope that it will found a democracy and a citizens’ society”, (www. nato. int.)
One factor conditioning the regime’s change is the attitude of the Russian public upon the democratic ideas, values, institutions and prodcedures. The disappointments regarding the reforms, the fears against the anarchy, the longing for the rule with ‘a rod of iron’, were the principal cause that at the “begginning of 1995 only 5% of Russian society believed that the democracy was necessary in their land” (G. Pridham and P. G. Lewis. )