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Reading the Tea Leaves: Medvedev’s Presidency Through The Political Rhetoric of Federal and Sub-national Actors

By Alexander Baturo and Slava Mikhaylov


In the absence of public information on the inner workings of the Russian political regime, especially during Medvedev’s presidency, outside observers often have to rely on politicians ’ unguarded comments or subjective analysis. Instead, we turn to quantitative text analysis of political rhetoric. Treating governors as a quasi-expert panel, we argue that policy positions revealed in regional legislative addresses explain how elites perceived the distribution of power at the federal centre. We find that governors moved from a neutral position in 2009 to a clearly pro-Putin position in 2011, and that policy initiatives advocated by Medvedev all but evaporated from the rhetoric of governors in 2012. Key Words: Political rhetoric, elite politics, policy position estimation, Russian politics Recent advances in comparative politics underline the crucial importance of institutions that manage intra-elite cooperation to ensure the stability of non- and partly- democratic regimes (e.g. Gandhi, 2008; Magaloni, 2008). Central to this research agenda is the analysis of the relationship between rulers and their coalitions. Indeed, rulers most often lose offic

Year: 2013
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