Compliant activism – that is, political activity of the population, either fully supporting the regime, or merely criticizing individual shortcomings of its policies – strengthens authoritarian rule. However, compliant activism can over time turn into non-compliant one. Hence, the regimes need to ensure that the norms of compliant activism are internalized by the society and become self-enforcing. We use the case of the Communist legacies in Russia to show that compliant activism can, indeed, become highly persistent and outlive the regime, where it emerged. Using cross-regional variation in the levels of compliant activism in the contemporary Russia, we demonstrate that it is strongly affected by the variation in the membership share of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the 1970s. The results have broader implications beyond the Russian case and provide relevant insights for studying political activism in autocracies.
While the literature on the autocratic regimes has been rapidly growing in the last years, there still exists a research gap in this field: which impact do autocratic regimes have on the regime transition in the neighbouring countries? The literature on autocracies has demonstrated that autocratic political leaders tend to support each other. This article argues that the external influence of an autocracy may be more complex. The article analyses the case of Russia's international standing in relation to the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko. Using detailed process tracing, it has been shown that in terms of the Russian position, pragmatic goals may undermine ideological goals. Thus, while the main objective of Russia is to ensure the stability of gas contracts, the unintended consequences of its actions undermine the consolidation of autocratic regime in Ukraine. The article builds on the literature on regime transition, autocracy, and international relations.