Putinism Under Siege: An Autopsy of Managed Democracy

Issue Date July 2012
Volume 23
Issue 3
Page Numbers 33-45
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Although they have quieted down as quickly as they flared up, the clamorous protests that followed the dishonest Russian legislative elections in December 2011 have essentially destroyed Putin’s regime, the infamous “managed democracy.” In order to unravel the enigma of “managed democracy,” we need to answer a few simple questions: What is the political function of rigged elections for a government that has never really pretended to be a democracy? Why have rigged elections under Putin seemed both meaningless and indispensable? Why has Putin regularly rigged presidential elections when he has been well positioned to win them even if competition were free and fair? And why did the Kremlin rig elections in a manner so flagrant that nobody could doubt that they were rigged and that the Kremlin was doing the rigging?

About the Authors

Ivan Krastev

Ivan Krastev is chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, and a New York Times contributing writer.

View all work by Ivan Krastev

Stephen Holmes

Stephen Holmes is the Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law at New York University. 

View all work by Stephen Holmes