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The Political Economy of Collective Memories: Evidence from Russian Politics

Alessandro Belmonte () and Michael Rochlitz ()
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Michael Rochlitz: National Research University Higher School of Economics

No WP BRP 59/PS/2018, HSE Working papers from National Research University Higher School of Economics

Abstract: How do political elites exploit salient historical events to reactivate collective memories and entrench their power? We study this question using data from the Russian Federation under Putin. We document a substantial recollection campaign of the traumatic transition the Russian population experienced during the 1990s, starting with the year 2003. We combine this time discontinuity in the recollection of negative collective memories with regional-level information about traumatic experiences of the 1990s. Our results show that Russians vote more for the government, and less for the liberal political opposition, in regions that suffered more during the transition period, once memories from the period are recalled on state-controlled media. We then provide additional evidence on the mechanism and nd, using a text analysis of local newspapers, that in those regions where local newspapers more intensively recall the chaotic 1990s, electoral support for the government is higher. Finally, we show that in regions in which the media is less independent from the state, this recollection campaign is more effective.

Keywords: collective memory; recollection of the past; voting; Russia. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D74 D83 P16 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-big, nep-cdm, nep-cis and nep-pol
Date: 2018
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Published in WP BRP Series: Political Science / PS, March 2018, pages 1-50

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hig:wpaper:59/ps/2018

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