The legacy of compliant activism in autocracies: post-Communist experience
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.
To beginning of XXI century the most of states of post-Soviet period have formed the own political systems. Predominance in political consciousness of inhabitants the traditions, the mythologized generally accepted opinions in combination with severe struggle for the power have attached to political process the contradictory character bringing sometimes to constitutional crisis' or to superficial reforms.
This book manuscript explores why dominant political parties emerge in some authoritarian regimes, but not in others. A dominant party is a strong ruling party that determines access to political offices, shares powers over policy-making and patronage distribution, and uses privileged access to state resources to maintain its position in power. Such dominant parties exist in about half the world’s autocracies. Prominent historical and recent examples include the PRI in Mexico, UMNO in Malaysia, the NDP in Egypt, the PDP in Nigeria, Nur-Otan in Kazakhstan, and, the primary focus of this book, United Russia in Russia. Political scientists have recently come to understand that dominant parties help autocrats win elections, reduce elite conflict, and, thereby, fortify authoritarian rule. If this is so, why do leaders and elites in many non-democratic regimes refrain from building strong ruling parties? Political scientists have yet to provide a clear answer to this question. In this book, I offer an explanation for why some regimes create these parties, but others do not. In turn, by demystifying the origins of dominant parties, this study advances our understanding of why some countries democratize, while others remain authoritarian.
In contrast to existing theories of autocratic institutions, which focus mostly on the incentives of leaders to construct institutions, I argue that dominant parties are the product of decisions by both leaders and other elites. Specifically, I argue that dominant parties emerge when elites—such as governors, chiefs, warlords, oligarchs, landlords, strongmen, bosses, regional barons, and prominent politicians—hold enough independent political resources that leaders need to coopt them, but not so many autonomous resources that they themselves are reluctant to commit to a dominant party project.
The book explores this argument and its implications with a multi-method empirical approach that combines within-country qualitative and quantitative analyses with cross-national statistical tests. Much of the book focuses on the process of ruling party formation (and non-formation) in contemporary Russia. In a span of just over 20 years, post-Soviet Russia has witnessed the failure of at least two ruling party projects and the emergence of a successful dominant party, United Russia. I show how, in the 1990s, Russia’s powerful elites—in particular, regional governors and other local powerbrokers—eschewed real commitments to the various pro-presidential parties of the time, preferring instead to focus on the cultivation of their own political machines. In turn, seeking to avoid the costs of supporting a party that could not be sustained, President Boris Yeltsin undermined his own pro-presidential parties.
By contrast, in the early 2000s a surge in oil revenues, sustained economic growth, and the attendant popularity of Yeltsin’s successor, Vladimir Putin, changed the balance of power between the Kremlin and regional elites. This readjustment in the balance of resources gave elites more reason to cooperate with the center than they had had in the 1990s. At the same time, existing elites were still strong enough that the Kremlin would need to work with them if it wanted to win elections, pass legislation, maintain social quiescence, and govern cost-effectively. Because the Kremlin needed to coopt these elites and elites were no longer so strong that they would necessarily be unfaithful partners, the Kremlin felt comfortable investing in a dominant party that could be used to coopt them. The result was Russia’s current ruling party, United Russia.
Through an analysis of United Russia’s rise, this book sheds new light on how the current regime in Russia was built. It addresses questions such as why elites affiliate with the regime, what keeps elites loyal and how the regime wins elections. I argue that United Russia is an important, and often overlooked, pillar of regime stability. By demonstrating the party’s institutional role in perpetuating the regime, this study demonstrates some of the limits of personalism in contemporary Russia.
The Origins of Dominant Parties is the result of more than 18 months of fieldwork in 10 Russian regions and Moscow. It draws on over 100 elite interviews and a series of original datasets compiled by the author. It contributes to research agendas on democratization, authoritarian regimes, and political institutions, as well as current debates in the study of Russian politics. As such, it should be of interest to both general comparativists and to scholars of post-Soviet politics. In addition, given its focus on recent political developments in Russia and its novel arguments about the organization of political power under Putin, this book should also be appealing to Russia watchers outside academia.
Almost all modern autocracies hold elections, and most hold multiparty elections. The prevalence of electoral authoritarian regimes has led an increasing number of scholars to study them. However, one topic that has received less attention is subnational elections. Subnational officials play a central role in the governance of authoritarian regimes. Regime leaders rely on local officials to maintain political stability, implement policy, and gather information about the provinces. Many of the world’s electoral authoritarian regimes hold elections to fill subnational offices,2 and several of the world’s most prominent single-party regimes – e.g., China and Vietnam – have recently begun experimenting with semi-competitive local elections. The decision to hold subnational elections has significant consequences in autocracies. They may directly affect the prospects for democratization, as when opposition parties use subnational elections as staging areas from which to mount broader challenges. Alternatively, autocrats may use subnational elections to improve their information gathering capacity and entrap voters in state-dependent,clientelist relations. Subnational elections may also affect government responsiveness and the quality of officials that are selected. Yet in spite of their importance, there are few studies that attempt to explain why subnational elections are held in some settings, but not in others. This paper helps fill that gap.
The fundamental idea underpinning spatial econometric models of economic growth is as follows: regional growth is determined not only by social, economic, geographic traits of a region but also by spillovers from other regions, most importantly adjacent ones. If one region starts booming, it can left neighbors unaffected (neutral mechanism), spur their growth (cooperation mechanism) or slow their growth by pulling resources over (competition mechanism). What mechanism and to which extent occurs in practice matters for designing balanced economic policy and evaluating efficiency of regional policy investment. Classic spatial econometric models make strong although simplifying assumption that the same mechanism matters for all regions in the same manner, and there is no variation in spillovers intensity across regions. This assumption seems plausible for relatively small and homogenous regions of European countries, but it looks excessively strong for large and diverse Russian regions. In this paper we attempt to relax this assumption and propose a new model, fitting better in Russian conditions and bringing only slight sophistication from the estimation point of view. We introduce sensitivity parameter governing regional exposure to externalities. We assume this parameter to be a linear function of region-level observables, like area, population density or urbanization rate. These hypotheses have been confirmed at least partially. We found that dense and urbanized regions were more sensitive to spillovers. In other words, a region surrounded by the fast-growing areas, will grow the more intense, the more its population density and the higher the level of urbanization.
The cahpter deals with the cross-regional variety of entrepreneurial activity in Russia and the factors which may determine it, basing on the results of a representative survey of ca. 56 000 adults in the regions of Russin (2011)/ It is shown that the quality of the entrepreneurial activity of population (prevalence of the opportunity driven entrepreneurship) does not correlate with the density of already existing SMEs as well as with the level of unemployment; but it correlates with with the level of urbanization as well as with the level of the well-being of population of rerspective regions. Besides, the regional TEA positively correlate with the perceived opportunity and the self-efficacy of adults i respective regions.
An important role of digital inequality for hindering the development of civil society is being increasingly acknowledged. Simultaneously, differences in availability and the practices of use of social network sites (SNS) may be considered as major manifestations of such digital divide. While SNS are in principle highly convenient spaces for public discussion, lack of access or domination by socially insignificant small talk may indicate underdevelopment of the public sphere. At the same time, agenda differences between regions may signal about local problems. In this study we seek to find out whether regional digital divide exists in such a large country as Russia. We start from a theory of uneven modernization of Russia and use the data from its most popular SNS “VK.com” as a proxy for measuring digital inequality. By analyzing user activity data from a sample of 77,000 users and texts from a carefully selected subsample of 36,000 users we conclude that regional level explains an extremely small share of variance in the overall variation of behavioral user data. A notable exception is attention to the topics of Islam and Ukraine. However, our data reveal that historically geographical penetration of “VK.com” proceeded from the regions considered the most modernized to those considered the most traditional. This finding supports the theory of uneven modernization, but it also shows that digital inequality is subject to change with time.
This paper provides a pioneering approach to estimate the relationship between interregional human capital mobility and the occurrence of high-growth firms (HGFs). We construct and employ the dataset on mobility of university graduates from top-100 Russian universities. We find that the relationship between the mobility of high-skilled university graduates and high-growth firms is non-linear and U-shaped: the initial rise in the number of HGFs is due to the relatively low concentration of highly skilled migrants and availability of innovations only for a small number of firms. However, the competition effect strengthens at some point when innovations become available for larger number of firms simultaneously with large inflow of highly skilled university graduates.
The online edition contains mental maps of all major Russian macroregions & some regions & cities of Russia, representing ethnic, cultural & geographical specificity of the territories. Unique regional images & their localization are combined in vivid textual & visual materials, mental maps & regional onomasticons.
For the experts specialized in cultural geography & geihumanities, regional & local studies, cartography, and for a wider audience of those interested in geographical diversity of Russia.
Over the past three decades, Russia and China have both experienced extensive socio-economic and political transformation, as well as foreign policy reorientation. However, this transformation has not followed one pattern, but rather has taken two specific routes. How do their strategies differ, and how are they interrelated? When – and at what junctures – were the crucial choices made? What are the strategic choices that have yet to be made by Russia and China? What are the alternatives, how are they constructed and what are the internal and external settings that constrain the choices between different policy lines? This book provides the first structured comparison of Russia's and China's post-communist modernisation paths from the perspective of three interrelated arenas of social change: political system, socio-economic system, and foreign policies.
The article deals with the processes of building the information society and security in the CIS in accordance with modern conditions. The main objective is to review existing mechanisms for the formation of a common information space in the Eurasian region, regarded as one of the essential aspects of international integration. The theoretical significance of the work is to determine the main controls of the regional information infrastructure, improved by the development of communication features in a rapid process.The practical component consists in determining the future policies of the region under consideration in building the information society. The study authors used historical-descriptive approach and factual analysis of events having to do with drawing the contours of today's global information society in the regional refraction.
The main result is the fact that the development of information and communication technologies, and network resources leads to increased threats of destabilization of the socio-political situation in view of the emergence of multiple centers that generate the ideological and psychological background. Keeping focused information policy can not be conceived without the collective participation of States in the first place, members of the group leaders of integration - Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Currently, only produced a comprehensive approach to security in the information field in the Eurasian region, but the events in the world, largely thanks to modern technology, make the search for an exit strategy with a much higher speed. The article contributes to the science of international relations, engaging in interdisciplinary thinking that is associated with a transition period in the development of society. A study of current conditions in their relation to the current socio-political patterns of the authors leads to conclusions about the need for cooperation with the network centers of power in the modern information environment, the formation of alternative models of networking, especially in innovation and scientific and technical areas of information policy, and expanding the integration of the field in this region on the information content.