The paradox of the Putin phenomenon: democracy, fairness, and popular support for President Vladimir Putin Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Machalek, Katherin
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • If Putin demonstrated an anti-democratic leadership style, how could so many democratic supporters approve of him? This thesis examines what exactly Russians understand under the term democracy and how Vladimir Putin's agenda as president touched on some of the values Russians associate with democracy. Many of his policies, particularly those relating to the economy and the regulation of big business, tended to focus on restoring the principle of fairness in the everyday lives of ordinary Russians. Studies indicate Russians associate fairness with functional democracy. Evidence suggests Russians approved of Putin not so much for his illiberal actions, but because he paid their wages and pensions on time and visibly punished those who had sought to tear down fair democratic capitalism with criminal business activities. Due to the particularly unfair experience of democracy in the 1990s, Russians embraced Putin as a proponent of democratic practices rather than an enthusiast of authoritarianism.
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  • In Copyright
  • Robertson, Graeme
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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