Bastions of Tradition: The Ethnic Factor and Machine Politics in the Russian Regions

Bastions of Tradition:
The Ethnic Factor and Machine Politics in the Russian Regions

Shkel S.N.,

Senior Researcher, Center for Comparative History and Politics Studies, Perm State National Research University; Professor, Ufa State Petroleum Technological University,

elibrary_id: 482517 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2019.01.05

For citation:

Shkel S.N. Bastions of Tradition: The Ethnic Factor and Machine Politics in the Russian Regions. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No. 1. P. 49-70. (In Russ.).


Of those political machines created by governors in the mid-1990s in the Russian regions, the most effective were those in the national republics. Several reasons contributed to this, the main ones being the density of patronage networks among the ethnic minorities in the countryside, the economic legacy of the Soviet era, as well as the politicization and institutionalization of ethnicity. All this allowed the regional elites to integrate ethnic minorities into the clientelistic structure of distributing symbolic and material goods in exchange for their electoral support. However, at the present stage the autonomy of the national republics has been reduced by the federal authorities. Based on analysis of the results of 2018 presidential elections, the article examines the electoral consequences of changes in the relations between the center and the regions and of changes in the functioning of regional political machines. The analysis enabled us to realize the diversification of the electoral behavior of ethnic minorities in different republics. Based on a comparative analysis of five regions of Russia, the author explains the reasons for this diversification. 

ethnic politics, political machines, sub-national authoritarianism, elections, electoral processes, regions of Russia.


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Content No. 1, 2019

See also:

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