Pro-Putin rallies before the 2012 presidential elections became campaign venues in which the Kremlin used political symbols—woven into a narrative of nationalism and tradition—to define and activate core voters across the Russian Federation.
Our analysis illustrates the Kremlin’s agility in response to opposition protests and the debacle of the December 2011 parliamentary elections. it also underscores the evolution of Kremlin strategies from a reliance on cooption to more coercive strategies—a trend that continued after Putin’s election in March. 14 these strategies were successful in mobilizing core voters, creating a common identity among participants, and containing the electoral effects of the opposition protests. the Kremlin’s strategy also, however, introduced significant costs that are likely to have long-term effects.
A Well-Organized Play: Symbolic Politics and the Effect of the Pro-Putin Rallies. Problems of Post-Communism. 2013. Vol. 60. No. 2. P. 24-39 (with Regina Smyth, Anton Sobolev) [SSRN]
Featured Image: Carnevale di Venezia.