Andrey Korotayev 1, Leonid Grinin 1, Ilya Medvedev 2, Maxim Slav   1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation
  • 2 Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Prospect Vernadskogo, 82, Moscow, Russian Federation 119571

Political Regime Types and Revolutionary Destabilization Risks in the Twenty-First Century

2022, vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 9–65 [issue contents]
In this paper, we report the inverted U-shaped relationship between the regime type (on the autocracy — democracy scale) and the risks of revolutionary destabilization. Autocracies tend to be more vulnerable to revolutionary destabilization than full autocracies or consolidated democracies. We would also point at a strong positive correlation between the weakening of autocracies and the risks of revolutionary destabilization that exists among full autocracies. We also observe a certain asymmetry of the U-shaped relationship with full autocracies being far more vulnerable to revolutionary destabilization than full democracies, and with partial autocracies being far more vulnerable to revolutionary destabilization than partial democracies (with factional democracies being the most exposed type of partial democracies). We hence answer the question posed in the late twentieth century if the era of revolution ends with the spread of democracies. The analysis suggests that this will not happen in the foreseeable future. On the one hand, our analysis confirms that consolidated democracy is the most efficient mechanism preventing the emergence of any serious attempts to overthrow power via revolutionary means. However, on the other hand, less than a third of contemporary democracies are consolidated, whereas most of the twenty-first century democracies are partial (a third of which, in turn, are factional democracies); and, as our analysis suggests, revolutions are rather probable in partial democracies (and are even more probable in factional ones). In addition, full autocracies that start moving toward democracy and shifting to partial autocratic rule have increased risks of revolutionary destabilization, which explains why the contemporary global spread of democracy was associated with a rise — rather than a decline — of revolutionary activity. Also, as we find, revolutionary events, e. g., revolutionary movements without revolutions and analogues of revolutions, are quite possible in consolidated democracies. Finally, strong forms of revolutionary destabilization are quite possible in cases when consolidated democracy de-consolidates, which also suggests that the era of revolutions is not going to end in the foreseeable future.
Citation: Korotayev A., Grinin L., Medvedev I. (2022) Tipy politicheskikh rezhimov i riski revolyutsionnoy destabilizatsii v XXI veke [Political Regime Types and Revolutionary Destabilization Risks in the Twenty-First Century]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 21, no 2, pp. 9-65 (in Russian)
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