Abstract

Abstract:

Drawing on state-centered perspectives, this article explores the link between oligarchic state capture and democratization by looking at Moldova between 2009 and 2019. It proposes the concept of oligarchic state capture, a situation where business magnates exert influence over all three branches of government through extensive networks. While the major oligarchs in Moldova cooperate to bring down competitive authoritarianism, they derail democratization. In contrast to earlier studies emphasizing the interest of oligarchs in wealth defense, the present study explains how oligarchs engage in extreme state exploitation and thereby undermine public trust in democratic institutions. Partial deoligarchization succeeds after inter-oligarchic conflicts and popular backlash enable the formation of a fragile multiethnic, transideological political coalition that demands the restoration of state autonomy vis-à-vis the wealthy elites.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-4603
Print ISSN
1074-6846
Pages
pp. 63-89
Launched on MUSE
2021-02-05
Open Access
No
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