Book Project

The State and Support in Electoral Autocracies 

The literature on authoritarian politics emphasises the threat negative shocks to citizen income and security pose for regime stability. However, we know relatively little about how illiberal incumbents manage public opinion, influencing the process by which citizens attribute responsibility for shocks and poor performance. To gain insights into this question I study how government responses to shocks moderate, or ameliorate their effect on the levels of support incumbents enjoy. I propose that little constrained by constitutional rules, critical media or coalition partners, electoral authoritarians use propaganda to manipulate attributions of responsibility on the one hand, and tactical redistribution to appease groups affected by the shocks on the other. Repression in this context is used rarely, and only after propaganda and redistribution have failed to prevent popular support from eroding. The project illustrates arguments with the case of contemporary Russia – an electoral authoritarian regime with high levels of personalist rule – and leverages evidence from government and citizen responses to the 2010 wildfires, terror attacks taking place over the 2010-12 period, the 2011-12 electoral protests and the 2014-6 economic downturn. Combining novel data on government responses to these events with over 60,000 responses from nationally and regionally representative surveys, the project makes an original contribution to the literature on authoritarian vulnerability and resilience.


Tertytchnaya, K., & Lankina, T. Electoral Protests and Political Attitudes under Electoral Authoritarianism. Forthcoming in the The Journal of Politics. PDF | Appendix

Tertytchnaya, K., De Vries, C. E. Solaz, H., & Doyle, D. 2018. When the Money Stops: Fluctuations in Financial Remittances and Incumbent Approval. American Political Science Review. 112(4): 758-774.  Replication materials

Tertytchnaya, K., & De Vries, C.E. 2018. The political consequences of self-insurance: Evidence from Central Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Political Behavior. Replication materials

Working Papers 

“Protests and Ruling-Party Defections in Electoral Autocracies: Evidence from Russia”. Revision invited.

“Remittances and corruption” (with Catherine de Vries, Hector Solaz and David Doyle). Under review.

Work in Progress 

“Fridge vs. Television Set: The Economy and Economic Reporting in a Hybrid Regime” (with Bryn Rosenfeld and Kohei Watanabe)

“Ordinary Citizens in Autocracies” (with Johannes Gerschewski, Anja Neundorf and Ksenia Northmore-Ball)