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O. S. Berezkina The classification of political regimes: the historiography of the question

Published in journal "History magazine: researches", 2014-2 in rubric "Interdisciplinary research", pages 143-156.

Resume: The article addresses the named topic, which is much discussed in modern historical and political sciences. The aim is to review the formation and development of political regime typologies, exposing the factors that had a definitive influence on this process. The article contains a critical analysis of the existing classifications, showing their strong and weak points. Special attention is given to the inadequacy of the identification of the Soviet system within the framework of totalitarian and authoritarian paradigms, pointing out the factors that prevent its objective assessment. Comparing the changing interpretations and recognizing the limitations imposed by the discourse should contribute to the elaboration of more exact perceptions of history progressions and of political processes in the modern world. The historical approach is applied to the works of politologists: the topic is considered through its development in time, taking into account the changes in the objective historical settings and in the concepts of the researchers. It is noted that the systematic development of political regime typologies began after World War II and was based on the dichotomy “democracy – totalitarianism”. Thereafter significant effort has been devoted to the development of the concept of “authoritarianism”, to the adjustment of the definition of Soviet-type regimes and of liberal-democratic systems. Contemporary historiography retains the triad “totalitarianism – authoritarianism – democracy”, however, there exist some significant researches by scholars, who go beyond the dominant discourse. The acceptance of the democratic characteristics of the Soviet-like systems and describing them as “totalitarian democracy” will allow for the development of more adequate classifications, taking into account alternative variants in political modernization.

Keywords: political regime, classification of regimes, history, liberal democracy, totalitarianism, totalitarian democracy, authoritarian regime, democratization, political modernization, discourse.

DOI: 10.7256/2222-1972.2014.2.12428

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