Policy Memos

How Much Can Russia Really Change? The Durability of Networked Authoritarianism

Policy Memo:


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The events of recent months, during which a sleepy election season turned into Russia’s most heated period of political contestation since 1996, inevitably raise the question: To what degree is change possible in Russia? This is about more than the ability of opposition-minded citizens, activists, and politicians to effect ”regime change”—for the time being at least, President Vladimir Putin appears safe in his newly regained office. Rather, this memo is concerned with a broader question: if we conceive of Russia as a system, with interlocking political and economic institutions (formal or otherwise), to what extent is that system capable of change? Given the political, economic, demographic, and other challenges that Russia faces, are there constituencies for change, and how far can they push the system? [...] 

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About the author

Director, Russia Institute
King’s College London