Bastions of Tradition: The Ethnic Factor and Political Machines in Russian Regions

in Russian Politics
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The regional machines created by the Russian governors in the mid-1990s turned out to be most effective in the ethnic republics. This phenomenon is supported by several facts, with the primary as follows: the density of the patronage networks among the rural ethnic minorities, and the economic heritage of the Soviet period and ethnical institutionalization. These factors allowed regional elites to integrate ethnic minorities into the clientelism structure to distribute symbolic and material benefits in exchange for their electoral support. However, at present, the federal authorities have considerably reduced the autonomy of the ethnic republics and deprived them of many ethnic preferences. Basing on the analysis of the electoral statistics from the Russian Presidential Election of 2018, this article researches the political consequences caused by the changed relationship between the center and the regions, as well as the changes in functioning of regional political machines in the circumstances where the governors’ institutional and resource autonomy has been reduced. The data analysis allowed for the discovery of the diversified electoral behavior of ethnic minorities in different republics. The reasons for the above diversification have been explained based on a comparative analysis of five case studies (the Republic of Bashkortostan, the Republic of Tatarstan, the Komi Republic, the Chuvash Republic, and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)).

Bastions of Tradition: The Ethnic Factor and Political Machines in Russian Regions

in Russian Politics

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    An analytical framework for strategic dilemmas resulting in the appearance of The ethnic factor in the form of political machine malfunction.

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    Influence of the share of the titular ethnic group on the level of reduction in electoral support for the incumbent in Bashkortostan in 2018 as compared to 2012.

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    The influence of the share of the titular ethnic group on the level of reduction in electoral support for the incumbent in Sakha (Yakutia) in 2018 as compared to 2012.

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