Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

The End of Adaptive Authoritarianism in Russia?

Sat1  Apr12:00pm(15 mins)
James Watt South Room 361


Stephen Hall1
1 University of Bath, UK


Using the pillars of authoritarian stability framework, we argue that these are fractured in Russia. The virtual political system and co-option of new elites were tired by 2020. To prepare for the 2024 Presidential elections the authorities wanted increased popular support. With older practices looking hackneyed, the Kremlin chose to re-tell an effective re-legitimation story from 2014 for a short successful war in 2022. However, this has been neither short nor successful, with the Russian army and economy floundering due to effective Ukrainian defence and Western sanctions. This legitimation attempt for the 2024 presidential elections has fallen flat. It will be hard for the Kremlin to legitimate itself with a populace experiencing inflation and possible economic recession. Similarly, Putin has lost elite support. Currently, the regime can keep the populace apathetic through media control. However, this will become harder as people become aware of their economic situation. Unable to legitimise and co-opt, the authorities increasingly depend on repression. This puts the regime in a difficult position. Repression will antagonise people and requires the security services to want to coerce. Repression reliance often degrades autocratic capacities to learn and develop new survival techniques. We do not claim the Kremlin’s fall, but over-reliance on one pillar can signify the end of Russian adaptive authoritarianism.