Democratization Challenged: The Role of the Regional Elites
Russian regional policy in 2015 was focused on the continued dismantling of the modest political reforms introduced during the Medvedev presidency. These changes were implemented in order to minimize the possibility of the emergence and strengthening of new independent political players, and the resultant institutional imbalance toward centralization at the regional level was merely a side effect of this effort. The net effect has been a major strengthening of the power of governors at the expense of all other political actors at the regional level. The governors' power will now only be checked by federal oversight
Accessing the degree to wgich regional elites influence Center's decisions is challeging given the non-transparent and informal nature of this relationship. Still, the information reviewed suggests something more complicated than the common image of an ever more centralized and hierarchical "vertical of power".
Th is article examines the transformation of the determinants of electoral behavior in the elections for the regional executive and legislative power until 2013. Th e author comes to the conclusion that the instrumental model of the explanations of electoral behavior in the elections for the Legislative Assembly is not functional in the analysis of recent election cycles. At the same time, the voting in the gubernatorial elections, earlier explained by ideological identifi cation, has close connection with socio-economic models. Finally, the author provides several key explanations of this transformation: the volatility of electoral preferences, the restrictions of voters in assessing the benefi ts and costs of choice and the infl uence of informal institutions and practices on the regional election process.
A political scientist examines how regional elites shape the electoral fortunes of Russia’s hegemonic party, United Russia (UR). Using original data on regional legislative elections from 2003 to 2011, we show that UR performs better in those regions where regional governors control strong political machines. Russia’s leadership undercut its own electoral strategy by replacing popular elected governors with colorless bureaucrats who struggled to mobilize votes on behalf of United Russia. This is one of the reasons for United Russia’s poor performance in recent elections.
Analysis of the evolving role regional elites play in different aspects of Russian political regime functioning