Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
tel. +358-(0)50-563 63 07

Coordinator
Eeva Korteniemi
tel. +358-(0)50-4150 571

aleksanteri-fellows [at] helsinki.fi

Aleksanteri Institute
P.O.Box 42 (Unioninkatu 33)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi
firstname.lastname [at] helsinki.fi

Location & Connections

 

Visiting Fellows 2014-2015

Regina Smyth, Indiana University, USA

“The Anatomy of Evolution"
(15 August - 15 November 2014)

Biography:
Regina Smyth is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Indiana University.  Her research and teaching explores the evolution of state society relations in the post-Communist region, focusing on the conditions that thwart effective state representation of social interests in new democratic regimes. Specifically, Smyth’s work focuses on the pathologies of party formation in new democracies, the role of parties in legislative decision-making, the nature of patronage linkages in post-Communist society, and most recently, the efficacy of protest as a mechanism of political change in electoral authoritarian regimes. Her book Candidate Strategies and Electoral Competition in the Russian Federation:  Democracy without Foundation (2006) is published by Cambridge University Press. Her work has appeared in The American Political Science Review, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Europe-Asia Studies, Post-Communist Affairs, Politics and Society and other journal focused on regional politics. Her current project places the Russian experience in the context of modern electoral authoritarian regimes. This book project explores the social response to the Kremlin’s strategy to secure popular support through a mix of institutional manipulation, symbolic appeals, and coercion, focusing on the ways in which the 2011-2012 protest cycle altered the relative distribution of these factors in that strategy. 

Abstract of current research:
Smyth’s current project, titled The Anatomy of Evolution, places the Russian experience in the context of modern electoral authoritarian regimes, with sustained attention to mass politics.  The point of departure of the study is the 2011-2012 elections and the resulting protest events.  Relying on broad literature on contentious politics, this book-length project explores the social response to the Kremlin’s strategy to secure popular support through a mix of institutional manipulation, symbolic appeals, and coercion.  Relying on unique survey data, focus group data and in-depth interviews, Smyth examines the nature of political mobilization in the anti-Kremlin protests and pro-Kremlin rallies, comparing these active participants to a sample of non-participants in order to understand the meaning on non-participation. The latter portion of the manuscript focuses on the Kremlin’s strategic response to protest and the movement’s efforts to transform itself in the face of this new aggressive regime.

E-mail: rsmyth [at] indiana.edu

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Jussi Lassila and Jukka Pietiläinen