Special Issue: Wither Russia? Twenty-Five Years After the Collapse of Communism | Stoner, Hale, Herrara, Gerber, Tucker, and more

PONARS Eurasia
11 Apr 2018

(Journal of Comparative Politics) Introduction: 2017 marked one hundred years since the Bolshevik Revolution. In 1917, Russia embarked on one of history’s most significant social, political, and economic transformations. The establishment of communism and the Soviet Union was transformational for Russia domestically, but also created over time a new global order. Although ultimately a developmental failure, the Soviet system would not only modernize a largely rural economy and illiterate population, but also lead to the establishment of a new system of international relations—one that endured until the Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight in December 1991. The Soviet collapse and the reemergence of Russia in its wake shook the world just as significantly as the Russian Revolution almost seventy-five years earlier. Almost as unexpected as its first great change seventy-five years earlier, Russia embarked upon another great social, political, and economic experiment: the transformation from communism to capitalism and a more liberal, if not democratic, form of government. Since 2017 also marked a quarter of a century since that transformation began, it is high time to evaluate what Russia has become. What kind of regime has evolved in those twenty-five years? What adjectives describe Russia after eighteen years of Vladimir Putin’s rule? What did analysts get right (and wrong) in understanding the currents of change in Russia? What do Russians themselves think? Is the system that was built following communism’s collapse durable? An evaluation of what Russia has become and where it will go next is particularly timely, too, as its leaders reassert Russian interests into global politics. To grapple with these and other questions, we convened a workshop with a group of leading experts spanning three generations of scholarship on contemporary Russian politics at Stanford University in January 2017. This special issue is the result of our collective attempt to understand and describe the process of Russia’s bumpy transition since December 26, 1991. Although not the final word on any of these issues, this group of innovative essays points to a complicated trajectory of development that is far from complete. [...]

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Contents:

Introduction: Russia in Retrospect and in Prospect

By Kathryn Stoner

Choosing Autocracy: Actors, Institutions, and Revolution in the Erosion of Russian Democracy

By Michael McFaul

What Has Russia Become?

By M. Steven Fish

It’s the Stability, Stupid! How the Quest to Restore Order After the Soviet Collapse Shaped Russian Popular Opinion

By Aleksandar Matovski

How Crimea Pays: Media, Rallying ’Round the Flag, and Authoritarian Support

By Henry E. Hale

Xenophobia on the Rise? Temporal and Regional Trends in Xenophobic Attitudes in Russia

By Hannah S. Chapman, Kyle L. Marquardt, Yoshiko M. Herrera, and Theodore P. Gerber

Russian Economic Inequality in Comparative Perspective

By Thomas F. Remington

Shock-Resistant Authoritarianism: Schoolteachers and Infrastructural State Capacity in Putin’s Russia

By Natalia Forrat

Turning the Virtual Tables: Government Strategies for Addressing Online Opposition with an Application to Russia

By Sergey Sanovich, Denis Stukal, and Joshua A. Tucker

Regimeness, Hybridity, and Russian System Building as an Educative Project

By Timothy J. Colton