Comparative Conclusions: Legitimacy and Legitimation in Eurasian Post-Communist States
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In every type of political system, power is exercised through a combination of coercion (repression) and legitimation. In democracies, legitimation is far more salient than coercion, whereas the balance is reversed in authoritarian systems. Nevertheless, even the latter seek legitimacy, which history suggests renders a system stronger in the long run than high levels of coercion. One way in which authoritarian regimes can attempt to build legitimacy is, as Adele Del Sordi argues in Chapter 4 with reference to Kazakhstan, through ‘subtle manipulation and persuasion’. This can be operationalized through significant state control of the media, the education system and other channels of purposive socialization and constitutes a key component of ‘soft authoritarianism’. Since almost all the states considered in this volume have been classified as either authoritarian or hybrid (i.e. between democratic and authoritarian), it is worth attempting to analyze the ways in which they seek to legitimize themselves, how successful they have been and the legitimation problems they currently face.
KeywordsPolitical Elite Liberal Democratic Party Percentile Rank Corruption Perception Index Shanghai Cooperation Organization
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