Frear, Matthew (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Restricted to Repository staff only until 31 December 2030.
This case study examines contemporary Belarus as an example of a modern non-democratic regime. Two sets of questions are answered which relate firstly to the characteristics of the successful authoritarian consolidation which has taken place under President Aliaksandr Lukashenka over the years since his initial election in 1994, and secondly to the factors which have discouraged disloyalty to the authorities and contributed to the marginalisation of any opposition. The thesis argues that a concept of ‘adaptive authoritarianism’ is the most appropriate term to describe the non-democratic system constructed around Lukashenka. The research develops a conceptual framework based on existing models used in comparative politics, which are then applied in a manner which reflects the realities of the political landscape in Belarus by taking a bottom-up approach to identifying and analysing the structures in place. Adaptive authoritarianism is classified as featuring electoral authoritarianism with neopatrimonial tendencies; seeking to claim legitimacy through a mixture of charisma, populism, rational self-interest and resigned acceptance; employing both high-intensity and low-intensity techniques of state coercion; and demonstrating pragmatism, expediency and opportunism to modify and adapt the approaches and policies pursued at any given time, as deemed in the best interests of the incumbent.
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