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Лояльность элит и выборы глав регионов: роль предвыборных конфликтов в исходе голосования

Сироткина Е. В., Карандашова С. А.

Maintain autocratic regimes is widely acknowledged to require elites loyalty. However, loyalty of which elites is more important to establish high voting for an autocrat and high turnout? As elections in electoral autocracies are designed to demonstrate superiority of the autocrat over his rivals – Russian subnational elections serve to legitimatize the leadership of a pre-decided race favorite rather than establish fair competition. Even given that there is no intrigue in
the election outcome, do conflicts still influence the result of voting? And which conflicts prove to be the most influential on the elections result? Basing on empirical evidence of gubernatorial election in Russia we explore how conflicts between the governor and the elites at municipal and regional levels affect incumbents elections outcome. We collected electoral data in 43 regions and 1402 municipalities and coded qualitative data on conflicts between
governor and elites. We find that conflicts between governors and the mayors of regional capitals have the only robust negative effect on both governors electoral result and turnout. In the regions with this conflict, governors receive up to about 16 percentage points lower support and 15 percentage point lower turnout. The explanation to the finding bases on the logic of mobilization machinery performance. Encouraging loyalty of these mayors secures smoother political machinery in the most electorally significant areas of the region (regional capitals) and thus has the most pronounced impact on the outcome of an electoral campaign. This finding provides another confirmation of the paramount role of covert rather than open inter-elite competition for electoral autocracies maintenance.