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Re-Electing President Putin: Protest, Elections, and Regime Stability in Russia

October 6, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

A year ahead of the March 2018 presidential elections, the Kremlin is engaging in two risky strategies. First, it projects that President Putin would win re-election with seventy percent of the vote and seventy percent turnout, a very high bar even in controlled elections. Second, in collaboration with the Moscow Mayor, President Putin launched a massive reconstruction project that would relocate twenty percent of city residents. The rapid implementation of the vague policy abrogated property rights and sparked a new “Anti-Demolition” movement. This talk will address the roots of the Kremlin’s election strategy in relation to the popular challenges in the previous election cycle, in which Russians protested at the ballot box and on the streets to demand electoral accountability. In the face of the same conditions that led to the “For Free Elections” movement–economic crisis, softening regime support, and growing protest movements around corruption, taxes, and lack of property protections—this analysis will look at how the regime is relying on the Moscow Reconstruction Project to divide the opposition and demonstrate responsiveness to citizens’ demands, shore up core support, and marginalize Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption movement.

Regina Smyth is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Russian Studies Workshop at Indiana University. She received her PhD from Duke University in 1997. Her primary research interest is in the dynamics of state-society relations in transitional and electoral authoritarian regimes, with a special focus on post-Soviet Russia. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, International Research and Exchanges Board, the National Security Education Program, and the Smith Richardson Foundation among many others.


This talk is co-sponsored by the UNC Department of Political Science


October 6, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
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