Michael Steven Fish (born August 3, 1962) is a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. Research interests include democracy, authoritarianism, post-communist countries, legislatures and constitutional systems, as well as economic reforms and the political role of religion.
Studied international relations, economics and history at Cornell University and the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. In 1993, he received his PhD in political science from Stanford. In addition to UC Berkeley, he has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, served as a Fulbright Senior Fellow and Visiting Professor at Airlang University in Indonesia, and at the European University at St. Petersburg, Russia.
He is a regular commentator for leading media outlets, including BBC World News and CNN.
Democracy in Russia
Fish's book "Democracy Derailed in Russia: The Failure of Open Politics" is considered by the BBC correspondent to be one of the main studies on the problems of democracy in Russia. Fish describes how he watched the rise of democracy while living in Russia in the 1990s and, by the end of the Yeltsin era, realized that democracy had become an oligarchy. He describes the path of this transformation in a book published in 2005.
Fish proposes to measure the “democraticity” of a country according to seven criteria developed by the famous American theorist Robert Dahl:
(society's) control of power through elections and term limits
open admission to the electoral system (freedom of nomination of candidates)
participation of the entire population in elections
freedom of political expression
freedom of information
freedom of political associationIn other publications, the political scientist notes:
In order to assess the real impact of various government mechanisms on democratization, we must go beyond general categories for classifying constitutional systems and measure the power of specific institutions.
In a book based on observations of political life in Russia in the 1990s, Fish concludes that in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Russia