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Does Electoral Manipulation Vary?

Examining the Conditions for Instrumental and Informational Manipulation in Post-Soviet Elections

Megan Hauser

Electoral manipulation is committed both during hotly contested elections as well as quite predictable ones. Comparative scholarship has sought to understand this variation, acknowledging that electoral manipulation can serve an informational as well as an instrumental role, but has not distinguished when, if ever, electoral manipulation is more likely to serve one role over another. This paper examines these issues, asking if and how strategies of manipulation differ depending on the conditions of the election. Using a newly developed measure of contestation and original data on elections from ten post-Soviet states, this paper quantitatively analyzes the types of strategies used depending on election-level factors. The results reveal that incumbents are likely to select some, but not all, types of manipulation depending on contestation of the election, the level of incumbent dominance, and the type of election being held. This paper concludes that while electoral manipulation can be used for instrumental and informational purposes, they are likely to be pursued in different elections, and that this depends on the conditions of the elections.

N.M. Dronin and J.M. Francis

Literature was a significant vehicle for ecological thinking in the post-World War ii Soviet Union. In early 1950 a group of Russian writers known as ‘villagers’ advanced environmental themes, equating preservation of the environment in the face of frenzied industrialization and modernization with the preservation of Russian culture itself. The work of the villagers – so known for their focus on the history and condition of the Russian village – reached its peak in the 1970s when many of them had gained a following among the Soviet intelligentsia as a result of their critical stand on the socialist transformation of rural areas and their advocacy for the protection of land, forests, and rivers. In this period, environmental, social, and moral motifs were artfully presented in village prose. From the mid-1980s a nationalistic element came to dominate their art. In the post-Soviet period this tendency deepened, leading finally to marginalization of village prose.

Christopher J. Ward