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Emergence of Authoritarian Regimes within the Post-Soviet Context: Comparative Perspective

Open Panel

Abstract

The collapse of the Soviet Union produced fifteen independent states. Only three of them (the Baltic republics) have become now democratic states, while the other 13 states present different forms of hybrid and authoritarian regimes (AR). This paper analyses in comparative perspective the post-Soviet authoritarian regimes (tentative choice of Russia, Belarus and Central Asian states) in comparative perspective and in the world-wide context. The paper argues that in modern post-Soviet authoritarian regimes the distinction should be made between the role of civil society and the role of institutions which do not allow to civil society to act and influence politics and elections. Another argument of the paper is about the distinction between formal political “democratic” institutions and the actual authoritarian nature of these institutions and the way they act, develop and sustain authoritarian rule. That is, the ambiguous role of these institutions is addressed in the paper. The research is based on three-year project and field research made in these states and numerous interviews collected with the representative of political, economic, and intellectual (academic) elite across these states. The paper argues that post-Soviet authoritarian regimes present a new form of AR. Indeed, the links and mutual support within the quasi-integration schemes is developed and it provides for mutual sustain of authoritarian regimes (one of the best examples would be the close relationship between Belarus and Russia and Russia and Turkmenistan). Moreover, the paper aims to contribute to further classification of authoritarian regimes and their adaptation to modern “democratic rule of the game”. Overall, the paper places the post-Soviet authoritarian regimes in comparative world-wide context and, on theoretical level, also contributes to classification and typology of authoritarian regimes.