Cover Osteuropa 8-9/2021

In Osteuropa 8-9/2021

Russian Rituals of Loyalty
The People, the Elections, and the Regime

Aleksej Levinson, Stepan Gončarov

Deutsche Fassung


Elections to the State Duma took place in September 2021. In today’s Russia, however, elections are not an open procedure for appointing holders of public office. Rather, they are an act of the state exercising its power. They serve the function of checking in on the loyalty of citizens and members of the state apparatus at all levels. These rituals of loyalty found their way into the country’s political culture under Stalinism. For a large part of the population, casting a vote is once again a ritual act. It feeds on the individual’s desire to be a part of the majority. Nonetheless, elections in authoritarian systems also offer insights into social attitudes, changes in values, and the structure of public opinion.

(Osteuropa 8-9/2021, pp. 163–180)