Cover Osteuropa 8/2014

In Osteuropa 8/2014

Legitimate Authoritarianism?
Political Stability in the Post-Soviet Space

Timm Beichelt

Deutsche Fassung


In Western research, faith in the referential character of the Western model of democracy seemed unbroken for decades. Democracies are considered stable and legitimate, autocracies are able to establish only limited legitimacy. But how is it to be explained that many authoritarian regimes, especially in the post-Soviet space, are quite stable and accepted by the population? Academic literature distinguishes between legal, normative, and empirical aspects of the legitimate exercise of power. The preservation of power, it is argued, is secured by a mentality that trusts authority, by collaboration and co-optation, and by security and welfare benefits. Historical models also provide approaches for explaining this: sweeping social upheaval and the collapse of social milieus provide the basis for autocratic states even today. These findings are leading to a reassessment of the basic superiority of the democratic model for validity.

(Osteuropa 8/2014, pp. 49–62)