Christian von Soest / Julia Grauvogel

How Do Non-Democratic Regimes Claim Legitimacy? Comparative Insights from Post-Soviet Countries

GIGA Working Paper, No. 277, August 2015
Note

Published as:

Christian von Soest / Julia Grauvogel (2015), Comparing Legitimation Strategies in Post-Soviet Countries, in: Martin Brusis / Joachim Ahrens / Martin Schulze Wessel (eds.), Politics and Legitimacy in Post-Soviet Eurasia, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 18-46

Abstract
The analysis using the new Regime Legitimation Expert Survey (RLES) demonstrates that non‐democratic rulers in post‐Soviet countries use specific combinations of legitimating claims to stay in power.

Most notably, rulers claim to be the guardians of citizens’ socioeconomic well‐being. Second, despite recurrent infringements on political and civil rights, they maintain that their power is rule‐based and embodies the will of the people, as they have been given popular electoral mandates. Third, they couple these elements with inputbased legitimation strategies that focus on nationalist ideologies, the personal capabilities and charismatic aura of the rulers, and the regime’s foundational myth.

Overall, the reliance on these input‐based strategies is lower in the western post‐Soviet Eurasian countries and very pronounced among the authoritarian rulers of Central Asia.

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GIGA Authors

Dr. Christian von Soest is a lead research fellow at the IAA and head of Research Programme 2 “Peace and Security.” His work focuses on international sanctions, the persistence and change of authoritarian regimes, foreign policy, and limited statehood, as well as on corruption and its effects on political regimes.

Dr. Julia Grauvogel

Senior Research Fellow
Speaker Research Team

Dr. Julia Grauvogel is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs. She is also spokesperson for the GIGA Research Team “Interventions and Security,” as well as Editor of Africa Spectrum. Her work focuses on international sanctions, authoritarianism, and the legitimation strategies of non-democratic regimes. Currently, she heads the research project “The Termination of International Sanctions: Causes, Processes and Domestic Consequences”, funded by the DFG.

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