Stanislav Shkel 1, Andrey Scherbak 2, 3, Tatiana Tkacheva 2, 3
  • 1 Perm State National Research University, Bukireva, 15, Perm, Russian Federation 614990
  • 2 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 16 Soyuza Pechatnikov Str., Saint Petersburg, 190008, Russian Federation
  • 3 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

The Anatomy of Loyalty: Mechanisms for the Formation of an Electoral Super-Majority in the Ethnic Republics of Contemporary Russia

2022, vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 38–70 [issue contents]
An invariable characteristic of Russian elections in the post-Soviet period is the relatively-high turnout and electoral support of incumbents demonstrated by many of the ethnic republics. The article is devoted to the study of the reasons for the relationship between the ethnic factor and the reproduction of political loyalty. Unlike most previous studies, the authors test existing theories on the basis of opinion polls data rather than official electoral statistics. This makes it possible to include the ethnic characteristics of voters at the individual level in the analysis, rather than regional or local levels. The statistical analysis is complemented by the study of qualitative data in the form of expert interviews and materials from three focus groups conducted in the villages of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. The results obtained make it possible to assert that the political loyalty of the Russian republics is determined not by cultural specifics, but by the nature of the settlement structure. Ethnic republics include a relatively-high proportion of the agrarian population, a significant part of which is represented by ethnic minorities. This overlap of ethnic and rural segments determines the reproduction of the electoral super-majority. However, the nature of this phenomenon is explained not by the “patriarchal culture” of non-Russian ethnic groups, but by the institutional capabilities of the local administration to monitor and control the political behavior of rural voters. The study also made it possible to clarify the role of the ethnic factor in contemporary electoral processes, which also affects the reproduction of political loyalty not only to the heads of the republics, but also to non-ethnic federal political actors. However, its influence is also conditioned by the political and institutional characteristics of the ethnic republics, and not by the cultural characteristics of the titular ethnic groups.
Citation: Shkel S., Scherbak A., Tkacheva T. (2022) Anatomiya loyal'nosti: mekhanizmy formirovaniya elektoral'nogo sverkhbol'shinstva v etnicheskikh respublikakh sovremennoy Rossii [The Anatomy of Loyalty: Mechanisms for the Formation of an Electoral Super-Majority in the Ethnic Republics of Contemporary Russia]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 21, no 1, pp. 38-70 (in Russian)
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