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Regular version of the site

Article

Legitimising Victories: Electoral Authoritarian Control in Russia’s Gubernatorial Elections

Europe-Asia Studies. 2018. Vol. 70. No. 2. P. 182-201.
Regina S., Turovsky R. F.

We explore the evolution of the Kremlin’s election control strategy in response to the reintroduction of gubernatorial elections in 2012. Our analysis focuses on the evolution of four tools used to engineer electoral competition: auxiliary institutions, subnational punishment regimes, ballot construction, and turnout manipulation. We argue that election managers deploy these mechanisms to maximise victories for state-sponsored candidates while minimising the possibility for post-election protest. The analysis demonstrates that electoral manipulation presents conflicting incentives for the Kremlin and its regional officials. It also shows the critical role that Russia’s systemic opposition plays in the electoral management system and regime stability.