Abstract

Under Vladimir Putin, Russia’s ruling class again claims to represent a superior alternative to liberal democracy. How can we theorize this regime? Putinism is a form of autocracy that is conservative, populist, and personalistic. Its conservatism means that Putinism prioritizes maintaining the status quo and avoiding instability. Conservatism also overlaps with Putinism’s populism in crowd-pleasing broadsides against gay rights and feminism, but gives that populism a distinct cast when it comes to questions of social spending and interethnic or interconfessional relations. Finally, as a personalist autocracy, Putinism rests on one-man rule. Yet the identification of the regime with a single person may fatally undermine Putinism’s effectiveness in its self-appointed role as a bulwark against upheaval.

Abstract

Under Vladimir Putin, Russia’s ruling class again claims to represent a superior alternative to liberal democracy. How can we theorize this regime? Putinism is a form of autocracy that is conservative, populist, and personalistic. Its conservatism means that Putinism prioritizes maintaining the status quo and avoiding instability. Conservatism also overlaps with Putinism’s populism in crowd-pleasing broadsides against gay rights and feminism, but gives that populism a distinct cast when it comes to questions of social spending and interethnic or interconfessional relations. Finally, as a personalist autocracy, Putinism rests on one-man rule. Yet the identification of the regime with a single person may fatally undermine Putinism’s effectiveness in its self-appointed role as a bulwark against upheaval.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3214
Print ISSN
1045-5736
Pages
pp. 61-75
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-07
Open Access
No
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