Can authoritarian regimes learn? The cases of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine

Hall, Stephen (2014). Can authoritarian regimes learn? The cases of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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Authoritarian learning has received scant attention in academic literature. This analysis emphasises how authoritarian regimes in the former-Soviet Union (FSU) learn from one another to consolidate authoritarianism. The argument is that regimes use similar tactics and institutions to consolidate authoritarianism. The study uses the cases of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine to offer comprehensive analysis of authoritarian consolidation. Using a methodology of case studies, longitudinal analysis and discourse analysis, I show that these regimes have become more authoritarian, using similar tactics and building comparable institutions. The research suggests that the cases share similar characteristics that seem unlikely to have appeared in each state by themselves. Learning is the most applicable explanation for this. The investigation uses hypotheses that make a strong case for authoritarian learning. The thesis argues that existing authoritarian typologies should explain a few cases which share similarities. Currently, literature uses a chosen rubric universally to explain many cases. This weakens typologies, exhausting effectiveness in explaining different authoritarian regimes.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)


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