Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Putin Refused to Take Advantage of What Elections Can Do for an Authoritarian Regime and Will Suffer as a Result, Belyayeva Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 12 – Elections in autocratic states like Russia today can be extremely useful to their rulers as tests of loyalty among officials and in the population and as guides to changing either officials or policies in order to remain in effective control, Nina Belyayeva argues.

            But if the regimes do not make use of them in that way, the former HSE professor of constitutional law who now lives in the Republic of Georgia says, then those regimes will become ever more repressive and descend into stagnation (

            Unfortunately, Belyayeva says, the Putin regime is a classic example of a regime that has failed to use elections even in ways useful to its own survival and therefore will become ever more repressive, ever less responsive to changes in society, and ever more stagnant the longer it remains in place, all things that will only hasten its end.

            But the problem is even deeper than that, she continues. Putin so far has been able to maintain control but he is losing the trust of the population. Therefore, while she is not insisting that Putin has “lost the levels of power … he has lost the trust and instead of the expected growth in the level of his legitimacy, it has fallen.”

            And with that decline, Belyayeva argues, there has been an increase in protest sentiments, “something extremely dangerous for an authoritarian regime which relies on obedience, fear and silence.” That is “just the tip of the iceberg” but no less powerful just because it remains covert and takes the form of jokes and memes.

            It may be difficult to imagine just what this protest will look like when it raises its head, but that will definitely happen, she suggests. And as it does, there will be those within the regime will who take notice and press those above them to adapt precisely to save themselves and the regime.

            If the autocrat continues to ignore even their advice, things will end in “an explosion,” Belyayeva concludes.

No comments:

Post a Comment