M. S.Sukhova

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  • № 2, 2023

    • Subnational State Capacity and Pro-Government Voting in Russia

      This paper examines how the level of subnational administrative state capacity, measured as the success of the implementation of the May 2012 presidential decrees in the regions, affects the electoral support for the government. The research study focuses on the indicators that reflect the dynamics of the salaries of public sector workers (doctors, teachers etc.), which are considered one of the electoral groups that the authorities count on.

      The results of the study show that in regions with higher salaries, public sector workers tend to vote more actively for the government. According to the author’s conclusion, these findings not only demonstrate that a high level of subnational administrative state capacity has a positive effect on the loyalty of citizens, but also confirm the efficiency of a strategy of distributing material wealth for maintaining and strengthening stability of authoritarian states. At the same time, the study shows that salary manipulation as a tool to increase loyalty does not work in all cases, even when it comes to public sector workers. The same applies to such indicators of socio-economic development as the level of urbanization and the value of GRP per capita, which are negatively correlated with pro-government voting. All this indicates that, along with economic considerations, other factors also influence electoral behavior, which requires further research.

      DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-109-2-113-129

      Pages: 113-129

  • № 3, 2022

    • Party Leaders in the Regions of Russia: Analyzing the Logic of Resignations

      The article is devoted to the analysis of the dynamics and factors that explain resignations of regional party leaders in Russia via the example of the United Russia and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). The authors studied rotations of the leaders of the above mentioned parties’ regional branches and revealed the general logic of this process, documenting important differences in its intensity. Possessing limited resources, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation does not seek to frequently replace its first secretaries in the regions; on the contrary, the turnover within the regional organizations of the United Russia is extremely active. The authors found a correlation between personnel turnover in the United Russia and electoral cycles, with federal elections having a more profound effect on them than regional ones. In the recent years, resignations after elections have become a priority choice, while earlier, during the formation of the United Russia party network, replacements often took place during the preparation of election campaigns.

      In turn, the regression analysis has revealed only an unstable influence on the removal from office of regional leaders of Russian parties of external and internal factors, usually identified by researchers of Western democracies, including the results obtained by these parties in the elections. One possible explanation for this finding, according to the authors, could lie in the high importance of intra-party patron-client networks, the analysis of which is hampered by the difficulties with data verification. Another reason is the impact of the principles of personnel selection, set by the central party leadership, on the turnover. This influence is especially clear-cut in the United Russia that in the recent years has relied on the combination of the posts of regional party leaders and governors, the practice that was previously discouraged. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which is experiencing a shortage of personnel, is more likely to demonstrate a tendency towards conserving the party leadership. Therefore, the replacement of party secretaries in the CPRF is more often due to the advanced age or death of the former leader, as well as internal conflicts.

      DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-106-3-130-157

      Pages: 130-157

  • № 2, 2021

    • Co-optation of Opposition in Russian Regional Parliaments: Game That Breaks Rules

      In order to increase their stability and neutralize protests, autho ritarian regimes often resort to co-opting opposition, in particular, via offering spoils (important positions) in the legislative bodies to the opposition. In the case of federations, the units of which have their own legislatures, such mechanism can be applied not only at the national, but also at the regional level. Modern Russia is a case in point.

      The article examines the strategies and practices of co-opting opposition implemented in the Russian regions. The authors document a dynamic growth in the number of regions that practice consensus rule in the legislatures, while maintaining a large regional diversity in the composition of the “ruling coalitions”, which usually do not include all the present parties. The research carried out by the authors demonstrate that, in full accordance with the theory of rational choice, when making a decision to co-opt one or another opposition player, the authorities take into account her strength. The institutional capacity (number of spoils available) of the regional parliaments also affects whether co-optation mechanism will be invoked. At the same time, the analysis of the consequences of co-optation practices reveals their weak effectiveness as an instrument of restraining protest activity of the opposition, especially in the case of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. According to the authors’ conclusion, the limited influence of such practices on political processes in the regions can be explained by both the regional authorities’ actions (a formal and selective approach to co-optation) and the logic of the opposition itself, which tends to see spoils as the recognition of its political weight, rather than a deal with the authorities. Such considerations make the relations between the authorities and the opposition in the regions a positional game, rather than a direct “purchase” of loyalty in exchange for spoils.

      DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2021-101-2-121-143

      Pages: 121-143