A Fresh Look at Semipresidentialism: The Russian Predicament

Issue Date July 2005
Volume 16
Issue 3
Page Numbers 113-126
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At the end of the Cold War, semipresidentialism became the modal constitution of the postcommunist world. In Russia and other post-Soviet states, however, this system of government has impeded consolidation. Semipresidentialism combines a popularly elected head of state with a prime minister responsible to the legislature; though this framework seemed to promise the best of all constitutional worlds, when put into practice in many countries during their transitions, the framework began to pose serious design dilemmas and facilitate democratic backsliding rather than consolidation.

About the Authors

Timothy J. Colton

Timothy J. Colton is Morris and Anna Feldberg Professor of Government and Russian Studies and chair of the Academy of International and Area Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous books, including Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia (with Samuel Charap, 2017).

View all work by Timothy J. Colton

Cindy Skach

Cindy Skach, associate professor of government at Harvard, is author of Borrowing Constitutional Designs: Constitutional Law in Weimar Germany and the French Fifth Republic (2005).

View all work by Cindy Skach