Identity Politics as Pretext and Prediction: Vote-Buying and Group Boundaries in Ukraine
- Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization
- Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University
- Volume 29, Number 2, Spring 2021
- pp. 113-133
- Additional Information
This article examines identity discourses in Ukraine through the functions they perform in political clientelism. The cases analyzed here suggest two such functions. First, identity politics can serve as a pretext for a patron to offer resources to the electorate, allegedly without expecting anything in exchange. Second, identity politics can help patrons to split clients into clear-cut groups and thereby make the exchange of resources for votes more predictable. A better understanding of these two functions will help improve explanations of the cataclysmic political changes that can occur if they fail.