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Rural Roots of Authoritarian Populism in Contemporary Russia (2017-2018 )

Author: MAMONOVA, Natalia
Field of study: Social Science, Anthropology, Development Studies

This paper examines rural support for authoritarian populism in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Supporters of authoritarian populism are commonly portrayed as “simple people”, who vote against their own interests as they are not sophisticated enough to resist the propaganda they encounter. This study rejects this simplistic approach and investigates the objective and subjective factors that shape
political views and preferences of rural Russians, who are the main supporters of Putin’s regime. In particular, this study discusses the agrarian transformations and historical legacies that gave rise to rural support for the authoritarian regime. Special attention is devoted to analyzing discourses in which villagers express their opinions about strongman leadership, democracy, national interests, the
‘others’ at home and abroad and other elements of authoritarian populism.

Keywords: authoritarian populism, Putinism, rural communities, Russia

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