¹ 2, 2020
Despite the significant attention paid in Political Science to the problems of repression and state coercion there is still no general theory that would predict what types of coercion are used during mass protests. The “law of coercive responsiveness” and the theory of the “internal democratic peace” are insufficient to explain variations in the scale and content of coercive measures across different political regimes. To fill this gap, A.Semenov and E.Popkova turn to the analysis of the reaction of regional authorities to political mobiliza- tion in Russia and patterns of interaction between authorities and protesters using the evidence from Alexei Navalny’s 2017—2018 presidential campaign. For the empirical analysis the study uses data on protests in 160 Russian cities.
A study conducted by the authors confirms that Russia can be classified as a hybrid regime that usually gives pride of place to the informational control rather than coercive means. At the same time, the authors show that even under centralized conditions, the choice of a strategy for responding to mass mobilization depends not only on structural factors, but also on the attitudes of power holders. In particular, which specific combination of coercive measures to use is decided at the lower governmental levels rather than the federal one. Moreover, after each wave of mobilization, this strategy is modified to fit the changing conditions. The authorities and activists are constantly testing the limits of what is possible rather than searching for the only true strategy within the framework of a general equilibrium, and the equilibrium itself in most cases is temporary.
Main Page ~ Authors ~ Semenov Andrei