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Working paper

When Governors Go Abroad: Factors of Paradiplomacy in Russia

Unlike in the 1990s and early 2000s, nowadays scholars rarely address the issue of international activity of Russian regions (phenomenon known as paradiplomacy). Due to the successful centralization efforts, Russian governors almost lost their domestic as well as external agency. However, there is still a considerable variation in the levels of their international activity which remains unexplained. Employing an original dataset on the international activity of Russian governors from 2005 to 2015 I investigate the effect local political regime, ethnicity and other factors have on the level of gubernatorial participation in paradiplomacy. Contrary to other studies I find that ethnicity has a positive effect on the external activity. I argue that paradiplomacy of republics serves as a tool of their ethnic policy. I also find that more democratic local political regimes bolster the willingness of the governors to participate in paradiplomacy. Varyag governors with no prior connections to the region are also more active internationally.