Cover Osteuropa 8/2014

In Osteuropa 8/2014

Putin’s Popular Autocracy
The Sources of Legitimacy in a Hybrid Regime

Cameron Ross

Deutsche Fassung


The widespread assumption that autocracies are per se illegitimate and that people prefer democratic systems over autocratic ones is historically incorrect. This can be seen in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Despite dismantling de-mocratic rights during his tenure, Putin has been able to secure broad-based legitimacy among Russia’s citizens. Max Weber’s ideal types of legitimacy fall short in explaining this support. Putin and his authoritarian regime generate this support from political stability and economic prosperity, which consolidates into “performance legitimacy”. Increasingly important is the use of nationalism from above. But this source of political legitimacy is precarious, because it has the potential to exacerbate ethno-political tensions.

(Osteuropa 8/2014, pp. 99–112)