¹ 4, 2019
The article presents the results of a quantitative study of authoritarianism in the political culture of modern Russians through its feature such as orientation to the “strong hand”. Based on the data of the Levada-Center mass surveys conducted on a representative all-Russian sample, the author compares various indicators of a “strong hand” orientation, examines their dynamics over the past three decades, and using regression analysis reveals the influence of socio-demographic factors on this orientation, determining the “social base” of authoritarianism in the post-Soviet Russia.
The author’s research confirms the high demand for a “strong hand” (authoritarianism) in the modern Russia. At the same time, it shows that as soon as the Russians are offered an alternative model of governance in the form of a system of separation of powers, especially one that is net of Russian specificity, the popularity of the “strong hand” noticeably decreases.
According to the author, there are different reasons why modern Russians crave for a “strong hand”. They include cultural inertia, the traditional sacredness of the image of a strong leader, a pragmatic, purposeful strategy to adapt to the existing political order, and the conscious exploitation of the corresponding mythologeme by the political regime — a kind of imitationary traditionalism of the state, for which the “strong hand” is an important symbolic resource. The institutional characteristics of the current regime in the country (state monopolization of many areas of public life, weak separation of powers, underdeveloped institutions and practices of civil control, etc.) also play an important role. In their turn, authoritarian orientations indirectly support its existence. Authoritarianism in the political culture of modern Russians is in harmony with the institutional structure of the authoritarian regime.
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