Civic Mobilization in Authoritarian Contexts

This project is my collaboration with Laura Adams from Freedom House. It compares 20+ recent mobilization episodes in hard authoritarian countries to understand why some mobilizations scale up and attract an unusually high number of participants while others fail to do so. Previous research has shown that attracting a high number of participants is one of the main factors in mobilization's success. The main hypotheses emerging so far concern the actors leading the mobilization and the framing they use. We argue that if mobilization is led by new political actors as opposed to the entrenched opposition and if these actors use a framing that appropriates and rethinks the existing regime's framing, then such mobilization has a higher chance to scale up.

Here is an annotated bibliography on the topic written as part of this project.

Governance Project

I am a research affiliate at the Governance Project led by Francis Fukuyama at the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Stanford University. The project aims at studying the internal work of state bureaucracies via surveying bureaucrats on their work practices, organizational culture, motivations, and values. The survey has been so far administered in China, Brazil, and Mexico, and several survey items are comparable to the US FedView survey. I am leading the data collection in the post-Soviet region. We have collected data in Ukraine and are currently working on implementing the survey in Kazakhstan.

In the State We Trust: Veterans' (Pensioners') Councils in Russia

This project investigates Veterans' (Pensioners') Councils in Russia and suggests a new vision of these organizations as a merge between a social movement and a state-controlled top-down structure. The Veterans' Councils are arguably the largest volunteer-based organization in the country with over two million activists and over a hundred thousand primary organizations. Regional and local politicians widely use pensioners' organizations for mobilization, agitation, and prevention of social unrest. Although pensioners are frequently regarded as the core Putin's electorate, I argue that Veterans' Councils should not be viewed as a top-down party-like organization similar to the labor unions in the Soviet times. Rather, Veterans' Councils represent a bottom-up people's movement that supports the idea of a strong state and are able to demand, as it happened during the nationwide unrest in 2004-2005, that the state lives up to their expectations.

Theory of the Authoritarian Welfare State

This project theorizes the origins and nature of the welfare state that originates in the idea of a strong state that transcends private interests rather than in the idea of the expansion of individual rights. I see this alternative theory of the welfare state as complementary to the existing one. A very early working paper on this project can be found here.