Comparing Legitimation Strategies in Post-Soviet Countries



In contrast to hopes that the post-Soviet countries would liberalize politically as part of ‘democracy’s third wave’ (Huntington, 1991), various regimes in the region have regressed into authoritarianism, while others have remained in a hybrid state between democracy and authoritarian rule or have never undergone any form of democratization. Over the course of changes in rulers, socioeconomic crises and even so-called color revolutions, non-democratic arrangements of political rule have emerged and persisted — a phenomenon by no means limited to the post-Soviet space (Schedler, 2006; Levitsky and Way, 2010; Bunce and Wolchik, 2011). Recent research on authoritarian regimes seeking to account for these developments has provided new insights into the inner workings of non-democratic polities (for recent overviews, see Köllner and Kailitz, 2013; Pepinsky, 2014). However, despite widely held views that a regime s claim to legitimacy is an important factor in explaining its means of rule, and ultimately its persistence (Easton, 1965; Weber, 1980; Wintrobe, 1998), current studies have largely overlooked the effect of different legitimation strategies on authoritarian power relations (Burnell, 2006; Gerschewski, 2013; Kailitz, 2013).


Authoritarian Regime Legitimacy Claim Legitimation Strategy International Engagement Central Asian State 
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© Christian von Soest and Julia Grauvogel 2016

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