Posts by Regina Smyth

Regina Smyth 11-12-2020
(Conversation) The 2020 election, in which Joe Biden is the projected winner, is not what a rigged election looks like. Rigged elections are organized. Vote counts certainly don’t play out in front of the country on television screens. When it’s a decentralized, sprawling affair that is broadcast for many days and nights, you can be pretty sure it’s democracy. If you want to know what stolen elections look like, look at Russia, where we have studied...
Regina Smyth 11-05-2020
(Cambridge University Press) In a path-breaking study of Russian elections, Regina Smyth reveals how much electoral competition matters to the Putin regime and how competition leaves Russia more vulnerable to opposition challenges than is perceived in the West. Using original data and analysis, Smyth demonstrates how even weak political opposition can force autocratic incumbents to rethink strategy and find compromises in order to win elections. Smyth...
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Regina Smyth 08-21-2020
(The Conversation) The harrowing videos of Alexei Navalny, a blogger who has captured popular frustration in Russia, screaming in agony on Aug. 20, 2020 before being removed unconscious from a plane to a waiting ambulance, demonstrate the Kremlin’s increasing reliance on coercion to control dissent. This attack is not the first Navalny has endured. In 2017, he was doused with a green antibiotic that compromised his vision. In 2019, while in jail for...
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Regina Smyth 07-16-2020
(Palm Beach Post) When Russians voted in early July on 200 constitutional amendments, officials rigged the election to create the illusion that President Vladimir Putin remains a popular and powerful leader after 20 years in office. In reality, he increasingly relies on manipulation and state repression to maintain his presidency. Most Russians know that, and the world is catching up. At the center of the changes were new rules to allow Putin to evade...
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Regina Smyth 05-26-2020
(APSA-CP) For the past decade, the study of societal development contemporary autocracy has largely focused on two dynamics: the drivers of individual-level regime support and participation in large-scale protest events, or urban revolutions. These approaches overlook the near-universal rise in small-scale collective action—or urban movements—aimed at rectifying local government policy failures or providing public goods. This new work refocusing attention...
Regina Smyth 03-24-2020
(Globe Post) Russian President Vladimir Putin took advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to announce his support for a proposal that allows him to evade constitutional term limits for a second time. Under this constitutional “reset,” Putin would be eligible to remain in office until 2036. The proposed changes would preserve the two-term limit in the constitution but allow Putin to compete again in 2024 under the new legal structure. This decision was ...
Regina Smyth 01-16-2020
(The Conversation) Editor’s note: Russia’s prime minister, Dmitry A. Medvedev, and cabinet resigned on Jan. 15. Russian politics are often not what they seem, especially to those in the West. We asked Regina Smyth, a Russia scholar at Indiana University, to help readers understand what’s going on. Read More © The Conversation
Regina Smyth 09-19-2019
(The Cconversation) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ruling party, United Russia, eked out a majority in the Moscow municipal legislature in elections on Sept. 8. While Putin’s regime touted the outcome as a victory, the election posed a significant challenge to what is called Putinism, a system that emerged in Putin’s second term to reassert Kremlin control over Russian politics. It included the creation of a dominant party, United Russia, in 2001, and...
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Regina Smyth 04-02-2018
(The Conversation) A crisis erupted this week as Russian diplomats were ejected from European countries and the U.S., and Western diplomats were ejected by Russia. The punitive measures were sparked by outrage in the West over alleged Russian involvement in the attempted murder in Britain of a Russian double agent and his daughter. That’s led some analysts – in Russia and in the West – to describe current Russian relations with the West as a new...
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Regina Smyth 03-13-2018
The Kremlin’s political machine is shaping popular expectations about March 18th’s presidential election in Russia. For more than a year prior to the vote, the outcome of this election has been clear. In late 2016, First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Sergei Kiriyenko announced that President Putin would be re-elected with 70% of the vote and with 70% turnout in an contest that would serve as a “referendum on trust.” Mass media and Kremlin...
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