The New Kremlinology: Understanding Regime Personalization in Russia

ISBN : 9780192896193

Alexander Baturo; Jos Elkink
224 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Sep 2021
Comparative Politics
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The New Kremlinology is the first in-depth examination of the development of regime personalization in Russia. In the post-Cold War period, many previously democratizing countries experienced authoritarian reversals whereby incumbent leaders took over and gravitated towards personalist rule. Scholars have predominantly focused on the authoritarian turn, as opposed to the type of authoritarian rule emerging from it. In a departure from accounts centred on the failure of democratization in Russia, this book's argument begins from the assumption that the political regime of Vladimir Putin is a personalist regime in the making. Focusing on the politics within the Russian ruling coalition since 1999, The New Kremlinology describes the process of regime personalization, that is, the acquisition of personal power by a leader. Drawing from comparative evidence and theories of personalist rule, the investigation is based on four components of regime personalization: patronage networks, deinstitutionalization, media personalization, and establishing permanency in office. The fact that Russia has gradually acquired many, but not all of, the characteristics associated with a personalist regime, underscores the complexity of political change and the need to unpack the concept of personalism. The lessons of the book extend beyond Russia and illuminate how other personalist and personalizing regimes emerge and develop. Furthermore, the title of the book, The New Kremlinology, is chosen to emphasize not only the subject matter, the what, but also the how the battery of innovative methods employed to study the black box of non-democratic politics. Comparative Politics is a series for researchers, teachers, and students of political science that deals with contemporary government and politics. Global in scope, books in the series are characterized by a stress on comparative analysis and strong methodological rigour. The series is published in association with the European Consortium for Political Research. For more information visit www.ecprnet.eu The series is edited by Susan Scarrow, John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston, and Jonathan Slapin, Professor of Political Institutions and European Politics, Department of Political Science, University of Zurich.


1 Regime Personalization in Russia
2 Understanding Regime Personalization
3 The Politics of 'Collective Putin' and Patronage Personalization
4 Regime Deinstitutionalization
5 Tandemology: The Problem of Succession and Permanency in Office
6 Personalization in the Media and Rhetoric
7 Conclusions and Implications

About the author: 

Alexander Baturo is an Associate Professor of Government, Dublin City University. He has published in journals such as Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, the British Journal of Political Science, and Political Research Quarterly. His book, Democracy, Dictatorship, and Term Limits (University of Michigan Press, 2014) won the Brian Farrell book prize in 2015. He also edited the Politics of Presidential Term Limits (OUP, 2019).; Johan A. Elkink is Associate Professor in Research Methods for the Social Sciences at University College Dublin. His work spans computational modelling, spatial econometrics, and statistical network analysis, applied to voting behaviour, democratization, and comparative politics generally. His work has appeared in the Journal of Politics, the European Journal of Political Research, and Comparative Political Studies.

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