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American vs. Russian Government & Politics Essay

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Updated: Jun 23rd, 2021

The US government has been designed to have three branches of power that have separate but related capabilities in terms of maintaining the country running. The government’s Executive Branch is governed by the President of the United States who should implement and enforce the laws developed by Congress. The President is also responsible for appointing heads of federal agencies, including the Cabinet, for ensuring the execution of the legislation. The Legislative Branch is governed by the Congress, which is divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives, each of which is made up of members that have been elected from each state. Despite the fact that the structure of the Congress was widely debated, the intention behind its development was associated with the need to ensure that each state had a say in making federal decisions. The Judicial Branch is represented by the Supreme Court of the United States and includes nine members, each of whom is assigned by the President with approval from the Senate, which has to provide a majority vote.

It is imperative to understand that each participant of the US government can affect the changes in decisions made by other branches. For example, the President can veto the laws that are being passed by Congress. The latter, in turn, can confirm and reject the appointments made the President as well as remove the elected President from office in the case of exceptional circumstances. The Supreme Court Justices are also capable of overturning unconstitutional laws passed by Congress. Therefore, the interactions between the branches of the American government represent the framework on which the country was developed.

The structure of the government in the Russian Federation differs from the framework developed in the United States. The executive branch of the country represents the set of the most authoritative officials, the President of Russia, who is the Head of the State and the Prime Minister, who is the Head of Government. The executives have complete authority over overseeing administrative affairs in the country and are also responsible for law enforcement as per the constitution of Russia. The Legislative Assembly of the Russian Federation is the legislative body of the government and is made up of two divisions, both of which are located in the country’s capital, Moscow. The State Duma is the Federal Assembly’s lower house that considers all proposals and bills and includes 450 members. The Federal Council id the upper house of the Assembly and has 168 members-senators. The main political party in the country is United Russia, while the communist party is the key opposition to the ruling party.

It is also important to mention the role of the Constitutional Court of Russia, which is responsible for solving any issues that may take place between the executive and legislative branches. The Court is made up of nineteen judges who are assigned by the country’s President, which means that he has a certain degree of influence over the judges. Noting the transformation from the Russian government from the Soviet era is also essential because in the past, the Communist Party ruled the country and was all-powerful, dominating all parts of human life. Today, Russia is a democracy, with the leader of the country being selected by its without pressure.

As a democracy, the United States government promotes the participation of citizens into the politics of the country. The right of the population to engage in decision-making and ensuring that governments implement those las that would be interesting and beneficial to people is an important principle of a representative government (“Engagement in a democracy,” 2019). Thus, the aim of voting and other forms of civic engagement is ensuring that the government serves people and not vice versa. The vote of informed citizens is expected to benefit the internal affairs of a country in which democracy is promoted and celebrated. Being informed is a fundamental way in which citizens can engage in governmental affairs, which means that people should make themselves familiar with the most important issues confronting their country as well as plans different political players have when dealing with the problems identified.

Voting, however, represents the main way in which citizens engage in political affairs. From members of city councils to Congressmen, important governmental players are chosen by popular vote. Despite the fact that the US President is not selected by popular vote, the decisions of the Electoral College are primarily based on how the general public has voted. Low rates of turnout on elections are therefore essential, and the lack of knowledge of the need to participate in elections represents the critical limitation of poor engagement in American politics. Citizens who are interested in participating in the political matters of the United States will inform themselves on the latest matters and will be dedicated to showing up at recent elections. In the latest Presidential election, 58.1% of voting-eligible citizens turned out based on the findings of the United States Election Project (2018).

In Russia, civic engagement and education represent a part of public politics. The modern society of the country is facing a challenge of determining what type of citizen is suitable for sustaining the political development of Russia. Because the country has a history of the totalitarian rule as well as the dominance of the Communist party, there was a tendency of citizens obeying the opinions and demands of ruling bodies. Today, the engagement of Russians into the political affairs of the population is characterized by the rising self-esteem of citizens and the increase of personal responsibility and autonomy. The increasing interest in the recent political issues in shown predominantly by young people, both by well-educated ones as well as individuals with high levels of material security. Social networking plays a vital role in increasing civic engagement in Russia because of its convenience and the ability to connect with citizens residing in distant parts of the country.

It is noteworthy that 26% of Russians believe that their participation in public and political life would not change anything while 31% of surveyed individuals cannot explain the reasons for them being politically passive (“Civic engagement in Russia,” 2017). Also, 43% of respondents mentioned that they have never participated in public activities and would not participate in the future. Being a post-Communist country, it is imperative for the population to be more active in educating themselves as well as turning out to vote (“Civic engagement in Russia,” 2017). According to the latest reports, the turnout at the latest Presidential elections was unprecedented; however, there are some doubt regarding the accuracy of governmental estimations because population surveys showed a significant extent of disinterest (Hille, Foy, & Seddon, 2018).

When comparing American and Russian politics, it essential to mention that the US is a constitutional federal republic while Russia is a semi-presidential federation (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). The Prime Minister governs the executive branch of the Russia while in the United States, it is led by the President and Vice President. While both countries promote the pluralist theory of government, democracy, there are some vital differences in the political frameworks of the states (“Who governs? Elitism, pluralism, and tradeoffs,” 2019). Given the fact that Russia had had the same President for full four terms and has had his authority for the most extended period of time (not including the term serving as Prime Minister when Dmitry Medvedev was the President between 2008 and 2012), Russia can be considered predominantly authoritarian. In addition, the President has gained intense support from rich businesspeople, thus promoting the oligarchical rule. According to Martin’s (2018) article, Russia’s democracy can be characterized as “managed” or “fake,” especially given the considerable pressure that the government put on the press and private businesses (para. 4).

While the leaders of the United States can also be accused of actions pertaining to the control of the population and the media, which is inherent to oligarchy, the country has more characteristics of a democracy compared to Russia. Because of a unique distribution of power between Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches that interact and affect the decisions made by each other, the United States can maintain a degree of fairness and transparency that Russia has not been able to reach yet.

References

Central Intelligence Agency. (n.d.). Central Asia: Russia. Web.

Civic engagement in Russia. (2017). Web.

(2019). Web.

Hille, K., Foy, H., & Seddon, M. (2018). Financial Times. Web.

Martin, M. (2018). Web.

United States Election Project. (2018). Web.

(2019). Web.

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