Lakhta Center on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg under construction from the window of a passing elektrichka commuter train (2018)

Selected Readings


Regime Dynamics

Dallin (1992) — Causes of the Collapse of the USSR

Shevtsova (1996) — Parliament and Political Crisis in Russia, 1991-1993

Bunce (1999) — Subversive Institutions: The Design and the Destruction of Socialism and the State

McFaul (2001) — Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin

Beissinger (2002) — Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State

Breslauer (2005) — Regimes of Political Consolidation: The Putin Presidency in Soviet and Post-Soviet Perspective

Fish (2005) — Democracy Derailed in Russia: The Failure of Open Politics

Shleifer and Treisman (2005) — A Normal Country: Russia After Communism

Smyth et al. (2007) — Engineering Victory: Institutional Reform, Informal Institutions, and the Formation of a Hegemonic Party Regime in the Russian Federation

Sakwa (2010) — The Dual State in Russia

Krastev & Holmes (2012) — An Autopsy of Managed Democracy

Gel’man (2015) — Authoritarian Russia: Analyzing Post-Soviet Regime Change

Shevstova (2015) — The Authoritarian Resurgence: Forward to the Past in Russia

Gel’man & Starodubtsev (2016) — Opportunities and Constraints of Authoritarian Modernization: Russian Policy Reforms in the 2000s

Colton (2018) — Regimeness, Hybridity, and Russian System Building as an Educative Project

Fish (2018) — What Has Russia Become?

Taylor (2018) — The Code of Putinism

Treisman, Ed. (2018) — The New Autocracy: Information, Politics, and Policy in Putin’s Russia

Smyth (2019) — Elections, Protest, and Regime Stability in Non-Democratic States: Russia, 2008-2018

Electoral Dynamics

Hale (2006) — Why Not Parties in Russia?

Gel’man (2008) — Party Politics in Russia: From Competition to Hierarchy

Remington (2008) — Patronage and the Party of Power: President–Parliament Relations Under Vladimir Putin

Reuter and Remington (2008) — Dominant Party Regimes and the Commitment Problem: The Case of United Russia

Golosov (2011) — The Regional Roots of Electoral Authoritarianism in Russia

Enikolopova et al. (2012) — Field Experiment Estimate of Electoral Fraud in Russian Parliamentary Elections

Reuter and Robinson (2012) — Subnational Appointments in Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from Russian Gubernatorial Appointments

Gel’man (2013) — Cracks in the Wall: Challenges to Electoral Authoritarianism in Russia

Golosov (2013) — Proportional Representation and Authoritarianism: Evidence from Russia’s Regional Election Law Reform

Robertson (2013) — Protesting Putinism: The Election Protests of 2011–2012 in Broader Perspective

Frye, Reuter, and Szakonyi (2014) — Political Machines at Work: Voter Mobilization and Electoral Subversion in the Workplace

Reuter et al. (2016) — Local Elections in Authoritarian Regimes: An Elite-Based Theory With Evidence From Russian Mayoral Elections

Reuter & Beazer (2016) — Who’s to Blame? Political Centralization and Electoral Punishment under Authoritarianism

Gorokhovskaia (2017) — Testing for Sources of Electoral Competition under Authoritarianism: An Analysis of Russia’s Gubernatorial Elections

Reuter (2017) — The Origins of Dominant Parties: Building Authoritarian Institutions in Post-Soviet Russia

Gorokhovskaia (2018) — From Local Activism to Local Politics: The Case of Moscow

Peisakhin, Rozenas & Sanovich (2018) — Mobilizing Opposition Voters under Electoral Authoritarianism: A Field Experiment in Russia

Reuter & Szakonyi (2018) — Elite Defection under Autocracy: Evidence from Russia

Szakonyi (2018) — Businesspeople in Elected Office: Identifying Private Benefits from Firm-Level Returns

Frye, Reuter, & Szakonyi (2019) — Hitting Them With Carrots: Voter Intimidation and Vote Buying in Russia

Frye, Reuter, & Szakonyi (2019) — Vote Brokers, Clientelist Appeals, and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Russia and Venezuela

Lankina & Tertytchnaya (2020) — Electoral Protests and Political Attitudes under Electoral Authoritarianism + Protest in Electoral Autocracies: A New Dataset

Szakonyi (2020) — Politics for Profit: Business, Elections, and Policymaking in Russia

Social Dynamics

Hale (2011) — The Myth of Mass Russian Support for Autocracy: The Public Opinion Foundations of a Hybrid Regime

Volkov (2012) — The Protesters and The Public

Chaisty and Whitfield (2013) — Forward to Democracy or Back to Authoritarianism? The Attitudinal Bases of Mass Support for the Russian Election Protests of 2011–2012

Treisman (2014) — Putin’s Popularity Since 2010: Why Did Support for the Kremlin Plunge, Then Stabilize?

Gontmakher & Ross (2015) — The Middle Class and Democratization in Russia

Frye, Gelbach, Marquardt & Reuter (2017) — Is Putin’s Popularity Real?

Greene & Robertson (2017) — Agreeable Authoritarians: Personality and Politics in Contemporary Russia

Markus (2017) — The Atlas That has Not Shrugged: Why Russia’s Oligarchs are an Unlikely Force for Change

Tucker et al. (2017) — Detecting Bots on Russian Political Twitter

Forrat (2018) — Shock-Resistant Authoritarianism: Schoolteachers and Infrastructural State Capacity in Putin’s Russia

Frye (2018) — Economic Sanctions and Public Opinion: Survey Experiments from Russia

Greene (2018) — Running to Stand Still: Aggressive Immobility and the Limits of Power in Russia

Hale (2018) — How Crimea Pays: Media, Rallying ’Round the Flag, and Authoritarian Support

Tucker et al. (2018) — Turning the Virtual Tables: Government Strategies for Addressing Online Opposition with an Application to Russia

Zavadskaya (2018) — The New Norms of Protest Politics in Russia


Ledeneva (2008) — Telephone Justice in Russia

Taylor (2011) — State Building in Putin’s Russia: Policing and Coercion after Communism

Ledeneva (2013) — Russia’s Practical Norms and Informal Governance: The Origins of Endemic Corruption

Ledeneva (2013) — Can Russia Modernize? System, Power Networks, and Informal Governance

Petrov & Titkov (2013) — Рейтинг Демократичности Регионов Московского Центра Карнеги: 10 Лет В Строю

Schleiter (2013) — Democracy, Authoritarianism, and Ministerial Selection in Russia: How Presidential Preferences Shape Technocratic Cabinets

Sharafutdinova (2013) — Gestalt Switch in Russian Federalism: The Decline in Regional Power under Putin

Paneyakha (2014) — Faking Performance Together: Systems of Performance Evaluation in Russian Enforcement Agencies and Production of Bias and Privilege

Hendley (2015) — Justice in Moscow?

Gel’man (2016) — The Vicious Circle of Post-Soviet Neopatrimonialism in Russia

Nistotskaya, Khakhunova & Dahlström (2016) — Expert Survey on the Quality of Government in Russia’s Regions

Gel’man (2017) — Political Foundations of Bad Governance in Post-Soviet Eurasia

Østbø (2017) — Demonstrations against Demonstrations: The Dispiriting Emotions of the Kremlin’s Social Media ‘Mobilization’

Sharafutdinova & Turovsky (2017) — The Politics of Federal Transfers in Putin’s Russia: Regional Competition, Lobbying, and Federal Priorities

Burkhardt & Libman (2018) — The Tail Wagging the Dog? Top-down and Bottom-up Explanations for Bureaucratic Appointments in Authoritarian Regimes

Goode (2018) — Russia’s Ministry of Ambivalence: The Failure of Civic Nation-Building in Post-Soviet Russia

Noble (2018) — Authoritarian Amendments: Legislative Institutions as Intraexecutive Constraints in Post-Soviet Russia

Petrov et al. (2018) — Agenda and Challenges for Putin’s New Term (*Russian Analytical Digest)

Historical Legacies

Lankina, Libman, & Obydenkova (2016) — Appropriation and Subversion: Precommunist Literacy, Communist Party Saturation, and Postcommunist Democratic Outcomes

Libman & Kozlov (2017) — The Legacy of Compliant Activism in Autocracies: Post-Communist Experience

Pop-Eleches & Tucker (2017) — Communism’s Shadow: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Political Attitudes

Finkel & Gelbach (2018) — Collective Action and Representation in Autocracies: Evidence from Russia’s Great Reforms

Kharkhordin (2018) — Republicanism in Russia: Community Before and After Communism

Foreign Policy

Lukyanov (2010) — Russian Dilemmas in a Multipolar World

Sarotte (2014) — A Broken Promise? What the West Really Told Moscow About NATO Expansion

Stent (2014) — The Limits of Partnership: U.S.-Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century

Laruelle (2015) — Russia as a “Divided Nation,” from Compatriots to Crimea: A Contribution to the Discussion on Nationalism and Foreign Policy

Marten (2015a) — Putin’s Choices: Explaining Russian Foreign Policy and Intervention in Ukraine

Marten (2015b) — Informal Political Networks and Putin’s Foreign Policy: The Examples of Iran and Syria

Tsygankov (2015) — Vladimir Putin’s Last Stand: The Sources of Russia’s Ukraine Policy

Kotkin (2016) — Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics

Laruelle (2016) — The Three Colors of Novorossiya, or the Russian Nationalist Mythmaking of the Ukrainian Crisis

Lukyanov (2016) — Putin’s Foreign Policy: The Quest to Restore Russia’s Rightful Place

Lomagin (2017) — A Cold Peace Between Russia and the West: Did Geo-Economics Fail?

Gunitsky & Tsygankov (2018) — The Wilsonian Bias in the Study of Russian Foreign Policy

Political Economy

Frye & Shleifer (1996) — The Invisible Hand and the Grabbing Hand

Hellman (1998) — Winners Take All: The Politics of Partial Reform in Postcommunist Transitions

Kotkin (2001) — Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000

Volkov (2002) — Who Is Strong When the State is Weak? Violent Entrepreneurs in Russia

Yakovlev (2006) — The Evolution of Business-State Interaction in Russia: From State Capture to Business Capture?

Aslund (2007) — How Capitalism Was Built: The Transformation of Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia

Treisman (2010) — Is Russia Cursed by Oil?

Cook (2013) — Postcommunist Welfare States: Reform Politics in Russia and Eastern Europe

Ross (2015) — What Have We Learned about the Resource Curse?

Miller (2016) — The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy

Cook et al. (2017) — Russian Pension Reform under Quadruple Influence

Gans-Morse (2017) — Demand for Law and the Security of Property Rights: The Case of Post-Soviet Russia

Miller (2018) — Putinomics: Money and Power in Resurgent Russia

Remington (2018) — Russian Economic Inequality in Comparative Perspective

Formal Theory

Gelbach and Simpser (2015) — Electoral Manipulation as Bureaucratic Control

Rozenas (2015) — Office Insecurity and Electoral Manipulation

Rundlett and Svolik (2016) — Deliver the Vote! Micromotives and Macrobehavior in Electoral Fraud

Moser & White (2017) — Does Electoral Fraud Spread? The Expansion of Electoral Manipulation in Russia

Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe

Havel (1979) — The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central Eastern Europe

Kuran (1991) — Now Out of Never: The Element of Surprise in the Eastern European Revolutions of 1989

Jowitt (1992) — New World Disorder: The Leninist Legacy

Kitschelt (1992) — The Formation of Party Systems in East Central Europe

Evans & Whitefield (1993) — Identifying the Bases of Party Competition in Eastern Europe

Ekiert (1996) — The State Against Society: Political Crises and Their Aftermath in East Central Europe

Moser (1999) — Electoral Systems and the Number of Parties in Postcommunist States

Janos (2000) — East Central Europe in the Modern World: The Politics of the Borderlands from Pre- to Postcommunism

Zielonka, Ed. (2001) — Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 1: Institutional Engineering

Morje Howard (2002) — The Weakness of Postcommunist Civil Society

Ekiert (2003) — Patterns of Postcommunist Transformation in Central and Eastern Europe

Kitschelt (2003) — Accounting for Postcommunist Regime Diversity

Appel (2005) — Anti-Communist Justice and Founding the Post-Communist Order: Lustration and Restitution in Central Europe

Ganev (2005) — Post-Communism as an Episode of State Building: A Reversed Tillyan Perspective

Vachudova (2005) — Europe Undivided: Democracy, Leverage, and Integration After Communism

Gryzmala-Busse (2006) — The Discreet Charm of Formal Institutions: Postcommunist Party Competition and State Oversight

Conor O’Dwyer (2006) — Runaway State-Building: Patronage Politics and Democratic Development

Gryzmala-Busse (2007) — Rebuilding Leviathan: Party Competition and State Exploitation in Post-Communist Democracies

Krastev (2007) — The Strange Death of the Liberal Consensus

Rohrschneider & Whitefield (2009) — Understanding Cleavages in Party Systems: Issue Position and Issue Salience in 13 Post-Communist Democracies

Tavits & Letki (2009) — When Left Is Right: Party Ideology and Policy in Post-Communist Europe

Pop-Eleches (2010) — Throwing Out the Bums: Protest Voting and Unorthodox Parties after Communism

Grzymala-Busse (2011) — Why There Is (Almost) No Christian Democracy in Post-Communist Europe

Scheppele (2013) — The Rule of Law and the Frankenstate: Why Governance Checklists Do Not Work

O’Dwyer (2014) — What Accounts for Party System Stability? Comparing the Dimensions of Party Competition in Postcommunist Europe

Tismaneanu (2014) — Understanding 1989: The Revolutionary Tradition Revisited

Tóka (2014) — Constitutional Principles and Electoral Democracy in Hungary

Grzymala-Busse (2015) — Thy Will Be Done? Religious Nationalism and Its Effects in East Central Europe

Kitschelt (2015) — Analyzing the Dynamics of Post-Communist Party Systems

Kornai (2015) — Hungary’s U-Turn: Retreating from Democracy

Orenstein (2015) — Geopolitics of a Divided Europe

Rovny (2015) — Party Competition Structure in Eastern Europe: Aggregate Uniformity versus Idiosyncratic Diversity?

Scheppele (2015) — Understanding Hungary’s Constitutional Revolution

Dawson & Hanley (2016) — The Fading Mirage of the “Liberal Consensus”

Magyar (2016) — Post-Communist Mafia State: The Case of Hungary

Ahlquist, Ichino, Wittenberg & Ziblatt (2017) — How Do Voters Perceive Changes to the Rules of the Game? Evidence from the 2014 Hungarian Elections

Ekiert, Kubik, & Wenzel (2017) — Civil Society and Three Dimensions of Inequality in Post-1989 Poland

Grzymala-Busse (2017) — Hoist on Their Own Petards? The Reinvention and Collapse of Authoritarian Successor Parties

Grzymala-Busse (2017) — Populism and the Erosion of Democracy in Poland and in Hungary

Keleman (2017) — Europe’s Other Democratic Deficit: National Authoritarianism in Europe’s Democratic Union

Bogaards (2018) — De-Democratization in Hungary: Diffusely Defective Democracy

Bustikova (2018) — The Radical Right in Eastern Europe

Bustikova & Gusati (2018) — The State as a Firm: Understanding the Autocratic Roots of Technocratic Populism

Grzymala-Busse & Slater (2018) — Making Godly Nations: Church-State Pathways in Poland and the Philippines

Krastev & Holmes (2018) — Imitation and Its Discontents

Mares & Young (2018) — The Core Voter’s Curse: Clientelistic Threats and Promises in Hungarian Elections

Sadurski (2018) — How Democracy Dies (in Poland): A Case Study of Anti-Constitutional Populist Backsliding

Stanley (2018) — A New Populist Divide? Correspondences of Supply and Demand in the 2015 Polish Parliamentary Elections

Historical Legacies

Crawford & Lijphart (1995) — Explaining Political and Economic Change in Post-Communist Eastern Europe: Old Legacies, New Institutions, Hegemonic Norms, and International Pressures

Comisso (1995) — Legacies of the Past or New Institutions?: The Struggle Over Restitution in Hungary

Geddes (1995) — A Comparative Perspective on the Leninist Legacy in Eastern Europe

Hanson (1995) — The Leninist Legacy and Institutional Change

Ertman (1998) — Democracy and Dictatorship in Interwar Western Europe Revisited (*Review Article)

Thompson (2002) — Building Nations and Crafting Democracies: Competing Legitimacies in Interwar Europe

Ekiert & Hanson (2003) — Time, Space, and Institutional Change in Central and Eastern Europe

Bunce (2005) — The National Idea: Imperial Legacies and Post-Communist Pathways in Eastern Europe

Darden & Grzymała-Busse (2006) — The Great Divide: Literacy, Nationalism, and the Communist Collapse

Wittenberg (2006) — Crucibles of Political Loyalty: Church Institutions and Electoral Continuity in Hungary

Kopstein & Wittenberg (2010) — Beyond Dictatorship and Democracy: Rethinking National Minority Inclusion and Regime Type in Interwar Eastern Europe

Cramsey & Wittenberg (2010) — Timing Is Everything: Changing Norms of Minority Rights and the Making of a Polish Nation-State

Wittenberg (2013) — What is a Historical Legacy?

Charnysh (2015) — Historical Legacies of Interethnic Competition: Anti-Semitism and the EU Referendum in Poland

Wittenberg (2015) — Conceptualizing Historical Legacies

Charnysh & Finkel (2017) — The Death Camp Eldorado: Political and Economic Effects of Mass Violence

Ekiert & Ziblatt (2017) — Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe One Hundred Years On

Grosfeld & Zhuravskaya (2017) — Cultural versus Economic Legacies of Empires: Evidence from the Partition of Poland

Howe (2017) — Habsburg Legacies and the Fate of Consociationalism in Interwar Austria and Czechoslovakia

Lupu & Peisakhin (2017) — The Legacy of Political Violence across Generations

Rozenas et al. (2017) — The Political Legacy of Violence: The Long-Term Impact of Stalin’s Repression in Ukraine

Kopstein & Wittenberg (2018) — Intimate Violence: Anti-Jewish Pogroms on the Eve of the Holocaust

Simpser, Slater & Wittenberg (2018) — Dead But Not Gone: Contemporary Legacies of Communism, Imperialism, and Authoritarianism

Lankina & Libman (2019) — Soviet Legacies of Economic Development, Oligarchic Rule and Electoral Quality in Eastern Europe’s Partial Democracies: The Case of Ukraine


Offe (1991) — Capitalism by Democratic Design?

Kornai (1992) — The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism

Balcerowicz (1994) — Understanding Postcommunist Transitions

Hellman (1998) — Winners Take All: The Politics of Partial Reform in Postcommunist Transitions

Orenstein (1999) —How Politics and Institutions Affect Pension Reform in Three Postcommunist Countries

Tucker (2006) — Regional Economic Voting: Russia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, 1990–1999

Boyle & Greskovits (2007a) — The State, Internationalization, and Capitalist Diversity in Eastern Europe

Boyle & Greskovits (2007b) — Neoliberalism, Embedded Neoliberalism and Neo-corporatism: Towards Transnational Capitalism in Central-Eastern Europe

Kaufman (2007) — Market Reform and Social Protection: Lessons from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland

Greskovits (2014) — Legacies of Industrialization and Paths of Transnational Integration after Socialism

Johnson (2016) — Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World

Wilson Sohkey (2017) — The Political Economy of Pension Policy Reversal in Post-Communist Countries


Post-Communist Eurasia

Zielonka (1994) — New Institutions in the Old East Bloc

Linz & Stepan (1996) — Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe

Frye (1997) — A Politics of Institutional Choice: Post-Communist Presidencies

Kopstein & Reilly (2000) — Geographic Diffusion and the Transformation of the Postcommunist World

Gryzmala-Busse & Luong (2002) — Reconceptualizing the State: Lessons from Post-Communism

Levitsky & Way (2002) — The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism

Hale (2005) — Regime Cycles: Democracy, Autocracy, and Revolution in Post-Soviet Eurasia

Karatnycky (2005) — Ukraine’s Orange Revolution

McFaul (2005) — Transitions from Post-Communism

Way (2005) — Authoritarian State-Building and the Sources of Regime Competitiveness in the Fourth Wave: The Cases of Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine

Bielasiak (2006) — Regime Diversity and Electoral Systems in Post-Communism

Bunce & Wolchik (2006) — International Diffusion and Postcommunist Electoral Revolutions

Darden (2007) — The Integrity of Corrupt States: Graft as an Informal State Institution

Bunce & Wolchik (2008) — Getting Real About “Real Causes”

Gel’man (2008) — Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire? Post-Soviet Regime Changes in Comparative Perspective

Way (2008) — The Real Causes of the Color Revolutions

Birch (2011) — Post-Soviet Electoral Practices in Comparative Perspective

Radnitz (2011) — Informal Politics and the State (*Review Article)

Beissinger (2013) — The Semblance of Democratic Revolution: Coalitions in Ukraine’s Orange Revolution

Shukan (2013) — Intentional Disruptions and Violence in Ukraine’s Supreme Rada: Political Competition, Order, and Disorder in a Post-Soviet Chamber, 2006–2012

Pop-Eleches & Robertson (2014) — After the Revolution: Long-Term Effects of Electoral Revolutions

Hale (2015) — Patronal Politics: Eurasian Regime Dynamics in Comparative Perspective

Way (2015) — Pluralism by Default: Weak Autocrats and the Rise of Competitive Politics

Hale (2016) — 25 Years after the USSR: What’s Gone Wrong?

Lankina, Libman & Obydenkova (2016) — Authoritarian and Democratic Diffusion in Post-Communist Regions

Hanson (2017) — The Evolution of Regimes: What Can Twenty-Five Years of Post-Soviet Change Teach Us?

Libman and Obydenkova (2018) — Understanding Authoritarian Regionalism

Peisakhin & Rozenas (2018) — Electoral Effects of Biased Media: Russian Television in Ukraine

Central Asia

Central Asia

Anderson (1997) — Elections and Political Development in Central Asia

Collins (2004) — The Logic of Clan Politics: Evidence from the Central Asian Trajectories

Luong (2004) — Institutional Change and Political Continuity in Post-Soviet Central Asia

Cummings (2005) — Kazakhstan: Power and the Elite

Kurtov (2007) — Presidential Seat or Padishah’s Throne?: The Distinctive Features of Supreme Power in Central Asian States

Schatz (2009) — The Soft Authoritarian Tool Kit: Agenda-Setting Power in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Radnitz (2010) — Weapons of the Wealthy: Predatory Regimes and Elite-Led Protests in Central Asia

Ziegler (2010) — Civil Society, Political Stability, and State Power in Central Asia: Cooperation and Contestation

Marat (2012) — Kyrgyzstan: a Parliamentary system Based on inter-elite Consensus

Ó Beacháin & Kevlihan (2015) — Imagined Democracy? Nation-Building and Elections in Central Asia

Spector (2017) — Order at the Bazaar: Power and Trade in Central Asia