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The rationale of organizational control: managing the political opposition in Putin’s Russia

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Abstract

How did Vladimir Putin manage to turn the vociferous political opposition of the 1990s in Russia into a mere statist? I argue that among the wide array of instruments mastered by Putin’s regime, the control over the organisational environment stands apart. By regulating the formation and maintenance of the political organisations, the regime was able to divide the opposition into its ‘systemic’ and ‘non-systemic’ components. The restrictions on the organisational development set limits to the societal outreach of the opposition. Finally, by manipulating the rules of access to the institutional arenas and resource flows, the regime fostered differential stimuli for the opposition groups that made the coordination among them unlikely. This article suggests that not less than being informational or coercive, the autocracies like Russia under Vladimir Putin have to control the organisational environment in order to keep the opposition at bay.

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Correspondence to Andrei Semenov.

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Semenov, A. The rationale of organizational control: managing the political opposition in Putin’s Russia. Eur Polit Sci 20, 580–591 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41304-021-00324-y

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