New Policy Memo: From a Normal Country to Normal Authoritarianism

19 Sep 2013

In order to maintain Vladimir Putin’s hybrid political regime, it is constantly necessary to reconcile the interests and conflicts of various subsystems “by hand.” If this is not done, internal conflicts can accumulate until they reach the surface, potentially destroying the entire system. The weak point of any hybrid regime is the juncture between the real and the decorative, with elections serving as the best example of this. The overpowering of the semi-democratic component of the system by the authoritarian component is driven by the mechanism of self-preservation: the hybrid system seeks to preserve itself against the “corrosive” effects of democratic elements on authoritarian ones. As the regime gets weaker, so does its ability to maintain its hybrid balance. This is what is happening with Putin’s regime in its second decade. The key problem of the Putin regime is a crisis of legitimacy.

From a Normal Country to Normal Authoritarianism: The Transformation of the Political Regime in Russia
PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo No. 275
By Nikolay Petrov
September 2013

View the Policy Memo (PDF)