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Research project

Local elections and elite management in authoritarian regime: evidence from Kazakhstan

This project has received funding via the EUI ESR call 2024, dedicated to Early Stage Researchers.

Research to date has confirmed the inherent fear dictators experience – the constant threat of being overthrown. When the risk of elite betrayal becomes tangible, dictators are compelled to establish institutions that distribute power and encourage cooperation. This strategic manoeuvring involves sharing power within ruling coalitions and co-opting opposition elements, effectively quelling dissent and ensuring regime stability.

This project delves into the dynamics of managing subnational elites in autocratic contexts, utilising a unique experimental setting in Kazakhstan. We examine the what effect the introduction of local executive elections has on local contestation and elite composition. The research involves data gathering on local executives' biographies and applying sequence analysis to track changes in the composition of elites in connection with the introduction of elections and in response to protests and a coup attempt. 

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