The Legitimacy of the Putin System in a New Political Cycle (2018-2024): Top-down Initiatives, Political Performances and Popular Responses

Evenemanget hålls på engelska.

The event will be held on Zoom

2018-2024 has been a political cycle with many changes, including new economic realities, the crumbling of the post-Crimean consensus, and a host of constitutional and institutional rearrangements. Putin’s image has changed from man of action to desk-bound zoom participant. New decentralisation in 2020 during the covid-19 crisis has raised serious questions about state capacity and performance. The Kremlin’s rude interference in regional politics brought about serious protests in Khabarovsk. 2020 has shown that the Kremlin is still committed to the geopolitical and civilizational narratives it has been working with for many years. The key question is how far these values are successful in protecting regime legitimacy in elites and masses? Do recent changes mean the regime relies less on mobilising supporters and more on repression and manipulation? This seminar analyses Kremlin legitimation strategies and measures to shore up regime stability, with particular focus on the last two years.


To provide some answers to these questions, this event brings together four researchers studying political legitimacy in contemporary Russia and Eurasia from contrasting angles. Sofya du Boulay (Oxford Brookes University) presents on the conceptual approaches to the study of how authoritarian regimes in Eurasia legitimise their rule. Bo Petersson (Malmo University) considers how Putin has performed his power as a 21st century Tsar with boyars and political performance akin to a royal court, something that has only increased in 2020-21. Matthew Blackburn (Uppsala University) analyses the key state-managed PR events in 2020/2021 and examines the proactive and reactive ‘appropriate actions’ of the Kremlin on both federal and regional levels. Combining survey and focus group data, Denis Volkov (Levada Centre) will offer a fresh take on how political events 2020 were received in the population, examining the thesis of fresh polarisation between young and old based on divergences in values and media consumption patterns.