Regional Patrons and Hegemonic Party Electoral Performance in Russia
37 Pages Posted: 16 May 2012 Last revised: 8 Oct 2012
Date Written: May 16, 2012
This paper examines the electoral performance of Russia’s hegemonic party, United Russia. Where existing accounts of hegemonic party performance focus on regime leaders, the party leadership, opposition forces, or society as the main actors, the explanation offered here focuses on regional elites and their ability to mobilize support for the ruling party. Using original data on regional elections in Russia, I find that United Russia performs better in those regions where regional governors control strong political machines. United Russia’s initial electoral successes depended heavily on regional governors who mobilized votes for the party, but Russia’s leadership undercut its own long-term vote-mobilizing strategy by replacing popular elected governors with colorless bureaucrats who struggled to mobilize votes on behalf of the ruling party.
Keywords: hegemonic party, authoritarianism, elites, Russia, governors
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation