State-society relations and the sources of support for the Putin regime: bridging political culture and social contract theory

Magnus Feldmann, Honorata Mazepus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
188 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article evaluates two theoretical approaches to the popularity and resilience of authoritarianism in Russia, namely political culture and social contract theory. These approaches are two of the most important theories of Russian politics and also reflect the general divide in comparative and post-communist politics between political-cultural and rationalist explanations. We demonstrate that these approaches are bound up with different notions of legitimacy. This article suggests that neither framework offers a complete explanation of the Russian case. We develop an alternative framework that bridges these two approaches. Our analysis suggests that the social contract in Russia needs to be analysed as dynamic and conditional. Moreover, the use of different legitimation strategies by Russian authorities suggests that leaders can reshape the social contract and gain support in a strategic fashion by choosing appeals related to political culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-76
Number of pages20
JournalEast European Politics
Volume34
Issue number1
Early online date13 Dec 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Russia
  • regime stability
  • legitimacy
  • social contract
  • political culture
  • Putin

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