Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books on International Relations: Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Republics: The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes: Managing Dissent in Post-Communist Russia/Defeating Authoritarian Leaders in Postcommunist Countries

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books on International Relations: Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Republics: The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes: Managing Dissent in Post-Communist Russia/Defeating Authoritarian Leaders in Postcommunist Countries

Article excerpt

The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes: Managing Dissent in Post-Communist Russia. by graeme b . robertson. Cambridge University Press, 2010, 304 pp. $95.00.

Defeating Authoritarian Leaders in Postcommunist Countries. by valerie j . bunce and sharon l . wolchik. Cambridge University Press, 2011, 396 pp. $95.00 (paper, $36.99).

By one count, somewhere between a quarter and a third of the countries in the world are neither fish nor fowl in terms of their political systems-that is, neither su/ciently democratic nor authoritarian enough to be considered one or the other. Robertson calls these "hybrid regimes," environments where political competition exists but in unfair conditions. Robertson, after long and detailed study, focuses on the dynamics surrounding protest eaorts in Russia, both on the street and in the factory. Vladimir Putin's Russia is a model hybrid regime that sees contestation-provided it is controlled by the state-as functional and therefore desirable. The durability of such a regime depends on three factors: the coherence of opposition protests, the regime's willingness to mobilize against opposition, and the level of unity among the political elite. …

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