RUSSIA'S DECISION-MAKING; THE BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS PARADIGM

1968 CZECH-RUSSO INTERVENTION

Jiri Valenta,  Soviet Intervention in Czechoslovakia; Anatomy of a Decision

 Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991 (last edition), with a forward by Alexander Dubcek.


Yuri Fedorov is  an International Relations Center Executive Board Member and Security Index Editorial Board Member.  He discussed Jiri Valenta's bureaucratic politics paradigm and its application to his study of Russia's 2008 intervention in Georgia, "The Sleep of Reason: The war on Georgia & Russia’s foreign policy – December 2008." 


American scholar of Czech origin, Jiri Valenta, the author of the brilliant analysis of the Soviet decision to intervene into Czechoslovakia in 1968, outlined the mechanism of foreign policy shaping in the former USSR as the “bureaucratic-politics paradigm”. “The general argument of the bureaucratic-politics paradigm can be summarized as follows: Soviet foreign policy actions, like those of other states, do not result from a single actor (the government) rationally maximizing national security or any other value. Instead, these actions result from a process of political interaction (“pulling and hauling”) among several actors”40. The same paradigm describes foreign policy shaping in Russia today. There are a substantial number of pressure groups, clans and cliques within the top echelons of governmental bureaucracy, armed forces, security and intelligence services merged with various business groups. They compete for control over alluring segments of national economy, flows of financial assets, and influence on making governmental decisions including those about foreign policy. As a result of this, zigzags of Russia’s policy reflect, directly and indirectly, balances of influences between different domestic actors and their coalitions existing at each instant of time.


Research Paper 5/2008 The Sleep of Reason: The war on Georgia & Russia’s foreign policy – December 2008 The Sleep of Reason: The war on Georgia & Russia’s foreign policy – Yury E. Fedorov.  ​ https://www.amo.cz/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/amocz-RP-2008-5.pdf