Is Russia today an example of "electoral authoritarianism", "electoral democracy," or a "weak democracy"?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Russia today is best characterized as an example of electoral authoritarianism.  It is a system that has a facade of multi-party elections that is used to try to cover up the fact that the power is closely held in the hands of a few.

We can see this in at least two ways.  First, the government has had a role in creating many of the political parties that are allegedly in opposition to it.  It has done so in an attempt to make the country look more like a democracy than it is.  Second, the government makes serious efforts to repress any sort of dissent.  There are well-known incidents, for example, of journalists being killed for being too critical of the regime.

These are not the actions of a weak democracy in which the government is simply not able to respond to the needs of the country.  Instead, it is a system in which the government is fairly strong, holds the power closely, and maintains a facade of democracy.  This is typical of electoral authoritarianism.

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