Monday, December 19, 2022

Personalist Dictatorships Like Putin’s Less Likely to Be Succeeded by Democracies than are Other Kinds, Gallyamov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 19 – Drawing on the research of UCLA political scientist Barbara Geddes, Abbas Gallyamov says that personalist dictatorships like Putin’s are far less likely to be succeeded by democratic systems because their repressive approach to rule has discredited state institutions on which a post-dictatorial regime could be built.

            “Autocracies once overthrown can be succeeded by democracy or by another authoritarian system,” the commentator says, but it usually the case that “the more repressive the fallen regime was, the fewer chances there are for the first and the more for the second” because of the institutional vacuum such systems leave behind (

            Those who come to power following the departure of the personalist autocrat, Gallyamov continues, “will least of all be concerned about the creation of mechanisms which will limit their own power, and the old institutions capable of playing this role will not remain,” thus making a return to authoritarianism that much more likely.

            And they will face fewer demands to do so from the population because the ancient regime will have “discredited the entire system of state power” in their eyes. Given all that, he argues, “the chances of creating a normal democracy in the country with its checks and balances are sharply reduced. The overthrown elites are the first victims of such a course of events.”

            Citing the research of Geddes again, the Russian commentator argues that “rulers who have chosen personalism as their political style have the least chance to avoid a sad fate” because they have destroyed the institutions that might protect them from violent retribution to a much greater degree than have party autocracies.

               “By establishing personalism and emasculating the institutional environment,” he continues, the personalist dictator plans the seeds of “arbitrariness and the cult of brute force” and becomes the victim when he falls. Tragically, the tragedy his rule has brought does not end there.

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