Electoral Violence in Putin´s Russia: Modern Authoritarianism in Practice

Michal Mochtak, Jan Holzer


The paper identifies and analyses the acts of electoral violence that occurred during the 2011 parliamentary and 2012 presidential elections in the Russian Federation, and connects them with the practices of modern authoritarian regimes. The analytical tool employed is based on an electoral violence research framework, which provides insight into the negative dynamics of an electoral competition and its outcomes. The authors argue that electoral violence is used to advance the Russian authoritarian regime, which is a modern form of authoritarian rule. By analysing the post-electoral turmoil and the response of authorities to public demonstrations, we depict the regime's ability to adapt its position to maximise outcomes in the political conflict and opportunistically select the best tool to achieve its goals. We further argue that Russia, with its authoritarian tendencies, utilises confrontation dynamics during elections in order to allow the politicisation of various latent conflicts (interest- or value-oriented) that are impossible to solve in the everyday depoliticised routine of the undemocratic system.


Authoritarianism; new authoritarianism; election; violence; electoral violence; Putin´s Russia

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