Authoritarian Policy Transfer in Post-Soviet States

Authoritarian persistence and democratic backsliding in the Baltic Sea region remain a key puzzle for researchers and policymakers. While many have explained these developments through domestic factors, this project addresses how some authoritarian and hybrid states in the Baltic Sea region coordinate activities and actively support one another to bolster regime security. This research will focus on the process of policy transfer in cases of post-communist authoritarian states: Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Our control group will consist of post-Soviet semi-consolidated and consolidated democracies: Ukraine and Estonia. We will examine the role played by bilateral linkages and multilateral connections through non-democratic regional organizations. Using a novel, mixed methods approach combining process tracing, document comparison software, discourse analysis and interviews, we will uncover the causal mechanisms through which policy transfer has occurred in five fields: civil society, academia, media, political participation and peaceful assembly. The project manager is based at the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University.

Responsible at Malmö University: Prof. Bo Petersson, RUCARR, Malmö University
Collaborators and other project members: Olena Podolian (PI) – Södertörns högskola, Dr. Oleg Antonov, Södertörn University; Edward Lemon – Texas A&M University

Funded by Östersjöstiftelsen, 2022-2024.

Project website at Östersjöstiftelsen

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