Russian legitimation formula, 1991-2000
The Russian legitimation formula contains the arguments the Russian leadership advanced to promote its state-building project between 1991 and 2000. The period of investigation coincides with Yeltsin's presidency. The focus is on how the legitimation rhetoric was adjusted both to changing circumstances over time and to three main audiences: the Russian domestic population, the Russian domestic elites and the international community. In order to analyse the contents of the legitimation formula a framework was developed which divided the different arguments used by the Russian leadership into six main categories (democratic, national, charismatic, eudaemonic, external and negative arguments). The material selected for analysis had to relate to basic features of statehood. Firstly, how did the Russian leadership seek to legitimate the new borders of the Russian Federation. Secondly, how did it legitimate the new constitution of 1993 and the way the constitution was introduced. Finally, the arguments used to introduce, abolish and remodel state rituals and symbols were examined. The main conclusion is that the Russian leadership did not change its core legitimation rhetoric over time or across audiences. Democratic arguments, centring on elections and a popular mandate as prerequisites for legitimate authority, dominated the legitimation formula both over time and for all the main audiences. Instead, the Russian leadership used subtle nuances and historic references to adapt its legitimation formula to changing circumstances over time and to the expectations of different audiences. Overall, the absence of national arguments was striking, as was the strong tendency to rely on negative arguments. The threat of Russian disintegration and civil war was frequently invoked, which suggests that the Russian leadership perceived this as a resounding argument among all the audiences it directed its legitimation formula at.