Fokin A. A. «Comrades! Let me thank you for entrusting me»: culture of trust in the soviet electoral process (.pdf)

 

The 1960s and the 1970s were the time of the transformation of interactions between the government and the society. The government shifted to the arrangement and intensification of political communication channels, the organization of the areas and niches for the engagement of an individual into the field of cooperation and participation in the exercise of power. The institution of elections was a mechanism used for the reinforcement of trust between the government and the society. Developing the approach of Piotr Sztompka, the author states that the Soviet elections provided regulatory consistency, because they were based on customary legal and moral standards. They provided the stability of social order through the consistency and predictability of the voting process. The transparency of social organization lied in the public nature of elections and the roles of deputies as the people's representatives; in its turn, it provided accountability and, as a result, created an idea of the understandability of the world around. The idea of trust was also directly present in the Soviet elections. The records of meetings to nominate candidates for deputies show that this term was widely used and ritualized. Additionally, the invocation of trust during the Soviet elections manifested itself in the figure of constituency agents of deputy candidates. The principles of the Soviet democracy were considerably different from the liberal variant of democracy and were based not on the competition model, but on certain game rules. The elections in the USSR in the 1960s and the 1970s were an attempt to amalgamate some democratic features with the predictability of the results for the government and the population. It appears that the significant part of the population accepted those specific features of the elections in the USSR in exchange for social, economic, and political stability.

 

Key words: election, deputies, the Soviets, government and society, the 1960s and the 1970s, trust.

 

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