REGIME JUXTAPOSITION WITHIN THE THIRD WAVE OF AUTOCRATIZATION: DEMOCRATIC ENCLAVES IN AUTOCRATIZING RUSSIA AND VENEZUELA
This research intended to understand regime juxtaposition within the third wave of autocratization (1990 –) or, more specifically, to explain why the survival of democracy is achieved in some regions and not in others, at the same time that central governments seek to expand their control at the subnational level while pursuing longevity to their undemocratic regimes at the national level. To answer this question, a research design was conceived considering a multilevel qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) – or the interplay between international, national, and subnational levels, as well as systemic, structural, institutional, and agent driven frameworks – in two countries, Venezuela and Russia within the period between 2000 and 2018, and in three regions in each country – one in which democracy survived, one in which democracy declined, and one in which levels of democracy have been continually low. In addition to process tracing in local and foreign periodicals, reports, and documents, a total of 134 interviews were conducted with experts, scholars, politicians, lawyers, civil society members, journalists, and other political actors. Results reveal that regime longevity at the national level was achieved by constructing solid patronal political systems, by employing a pervasive political mythology based on religious and ideological elements, by using revenues from an important economic resource, and by participating in networks of other undemocratic countries that created a parallel economic market and deflected international interference. Democracy survived in regions where regional patronal systems were absent or weak, where the central government was not able to control the regional economy, and in places with long-lasting historical legacies – especially unique patterns of migrations with strong mythologies that affect political behavior today. Finally, this dissertation also questions the validity of the resource curse’s causal mechanism, and whether there is an invested interest from autocratizing countries to undermine the international liberal order.
NotesDegree Awarded: Ph.D. Government. American University
Degree grantorAmerican University. School of Public Policy