Revolutionary ideas Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Beaver, William
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies, Russian, Eurasian and East European Concentration
  • When does the opposition remove long serving incumbents from power, or steal the presidency from an autocrats chosen successor? Three prominent theories seek to answer this question. Bunce and Wolchik argue that for the opposition to win power, they must use certain strategies, Levitsky and Way argue that they win power when the autocratic regime has certain attributes, and Hale argues it only happens when elites expect the president to be leaving power. I apply these theories to cases in the former Soviet Union where the opposition won power and where it did not. None of these theories adequately explain each case. A better explanation combines and adds to the conclusions I arrive at from testing these theories. Protests give elites information. Depending on the information that elites receive, elites will either defect and join the opposition, or continue supporting the president. If elites defect, then the president will have difficulty winning elections, giving the opposition the opportunity to win the presidency.
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  • Robertson, Graeme
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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