Panel April 6 – Strategies for legitimation and political succession in Eurasia

This panel was originally proposed to, and accepted by, the annual convention of the International Studies Association to be held in Las Vegas, April 6-9. As the convention for known reasons moved into a virtual mode, we decided to hold this panel outside of the formal ISA framework.

The panel provides a series of perspectives on the issue of succession in the post-Soviet states of Eurasia. The countries under consideration are similar to the extent that they are authoritarian, that (with the exception of Kyrgyzstan) they have been ruled for a long time by the same person, and that rules and practises of succession have not been tried and tested. The panel combines two more general papers with three case studies – the contrasting recent cases of Kazakhstan (Silvan) and Kyrgyzstan (Joraev), and the currently uncertain case of Russia (Petersson). Du Boulay’s paper examines how charismatic leaders have been succeeded, and how successors adopt charismatic regime features, in a number of cases. Smith considers the application of theoretical possibilities and models of succession to the Eurasian cases. Two political science concepts are key to the approach of the papers – the well established concept of legitimacy, and the more recently developed one of charismatic leadership. The contrasting successes and failures of managed succession are considered within cultural as well as institutional contexts. By considering outcomes as well as strategies, the panel thus seeks to go beyond dominant approaches which stick to institutional and realist explanations of succession.

Chair: Natia Gamkrelidze (Linnaeus University)

Papers

Sofya du Boulay (Oxford Brookes University): The politics of post-charismatic succession and autocratic legitimation in the former Soviet space

Bo Petersson (Malmö University): Dealing with the Putin Predicament: Dilemmas of Political Succession in Russia

Jeremy Smith (Zayed University/University of Eastern Finland): Patterns of managed succession in Eurasia

Emilbek Dzhuraev (OSCE Academy in Bishkek): Caught in a (Vicious) Cycle? Informal and Formal Underpinnings of Leader Succession in Kyrgyzstan

Kristiina Silvan (University of Helsinki): All about legitimacy? Explaining the leadership succession in Kazakhstan

Discussant: Colleen Wood (Columbia University)

Tuesday, April 6, 3 pm – 5 pm CET

Welcome to join us at what promises to be a stimulating discussion of highly topical issues! The panel will convene by zoom.