Tertytchnaya, K.

"This Rally is Not Authorized": Preventive Repression and Public Opinion in Electoral Autocracies

World Politics , Volume 75, Number 3, July 2023

Does preventive repression dampen or does it bolster mass support for groups that dissent despite obstruction? Although a large literature recognizes the importance of preventive repression for authoritarian stability, we know very little about its effects on public opinion. To gain traction on this question, this article draws on evidence from unusually detailed data on unauthorized and authorized protests from Russia and an original survey experiment. The author shows that when authorities engage in preventive repression, such as when they deny protest authorizations, protesters' ability to generate support is compromised. Preventive repression also conditions the effect of nonviolent demonstrator tactics on public opinion. These effects, however, are contingent on citizens' attitudes about the law and the authorities. This article's findings—which provide one of the first causal tests of the mass opinion effects of preventive repression—expand our understanding of the consequences and audiences of repression and have implications for studies of authoritarian resilience.


Otlan, Y., Kuzmina, Y., Rumiantseva, A. and Tertytchnaya, K.

Authoritarian media and foreign protests: evidence from a decade of Russian news

Post-Soviet Affairs, Volume 39, Issue 6, 2023

The proliferation of protests around the world poses challenges for authoritarian media outlets. While censoring news about protests abroad may push audiences to alternative news sources, their coverage could motivate citizens to take to the streets at home. To explore whether and how authoritarian media outlets cover foreign protests, we leverage evidence from Russia. Combining evidence from a decade of news coverage with protest-event data, we show that far from censoring news on protests abroad, authoritarian outlets afford them extensive coverage. The coverage of foreign protests, however, declines on days of large Russian protests, when the costs of encouraging mobilization are potentially greater. We also show that authoritarian media selectively use protests abroad, especially those in democracies, to convey the image of citizen activism as threatening and disorderly. Findings, which speak to research on authoritarian propaganda, have implications for scholarship on protest management and authoritarian resilience.

Tertytchnaya, K. & Tiratsoo, M.

Legal Repression in Russia

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, January 2024

This article discusses how, in Vladimir Putin's Russia, the law has been used to exercise political power vis-à-vis the opposition. Since the early 2000s, the Russian authorities have used legislative channels to adopt and refine laws and regulations aimed at hindering protest and inhibiting the development of an independent civil society. The discussion of the Russian case contributes to comparative research on legal repression and authoritarian politics in various ways. First, it offers important insights into the direct and indirect consequences of legal repression on dissent, the development of civil society, and public opinion toward groups targeted by legal repression. Second, the study of Russia illustrates how institutional capture and power consolidation facilitate the adoption and implementation of repressive legislation. Finally, the Russian case advances our understanding of the dynamic nature of legal repression. Reforms to laws regulating protest and civil society in Russia showcase how domestic and external events may cause legal repression to escalate. The article concludes by identifying fruitful avenues for future research on legal repression.


Tertytchnaya, K.

Protest and Civil Society

in Developments in Russian Politics 10, Editors: Hale, E. H., Johnson, J. & Lankina, T., 2024

Tertytchnaya, K.

Russian Protests Following the Invasion of Ukraine

PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo No. 841., 2024


Tertytchnaya, K., Kim, W., Neundorf, A., Northmore-Ball, K. and Nazrullaeva, E.

Indoctrination and Personalism in Dictatorships

OSF Preprints, 2024

Contemporary autocracies are characterized by increasing personalization of power in the hands of the leader. However, we know little about personalist leaders' strategies to manage the masses and lower the costs of staying in power. To gain traction on this question, we ask whether, in the process of amassing power, personalist leaders invest in non-coercive strategies of political control. The empirical analysis leverages novel, expert-coded data on state control of the education system, and covers 220 autocratic regimes in the period 1950-2010. Contrary to conventional wisdom that personalist leaders shut down non-coercive pathways of socio-political control, we show that the personalization of power in dictatorships drives growing investments in indoctrination through schools and the media. Findings, which answer several calls to move beyond the study of repression for understanding the politics of non-democracies, have implications for research on authoritarian politics and personalism.