Elites and Institutions in the Russian Thermidor

12 July 2021

Regime Instrumentalism, Entrepreneurial Signaling, and Inherent Illiberalism

Bucerius Fellow Julian G. Waller examines illiberal dynamics on different levels of Russian politics and society. He draws a broader framework to understand illiberalism, its diverse sources and appearances.

“This article suggests rather that observed illiberalism has additional roots in the dynamics of authoritarian domestic politics and society, rather than being characterized as simply a cynical top-down strategy of the Kremlin. Rather, regime illiberalism is congruent with many domestic drivers of political and societal influence. While decision-making elites certainly play up illiberalism instrumentally for purposes of regime maintenance and positional international influence, large institutional constituencies for substantive illiberalism also exist independent of regime goals.”