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Economic Autonomy and Democracy
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 (ISBN-13: 9780511217906 | ISBN-10: 0511217900)

Economic Autonomy and Democracy

Hybrid Regimes in Russia and Kyrgyzstan

How do individuals decide to exercise their democratic rights? This book argues that they first assess their economic autonomy, meaning their ability to make a living independent of government authorities. Before individuals consider whether their resources and organizational abilities enable them to act on their interests, they calculate the risk of political activism to their livelihood. This is particularly evident in regions of the world where states monopolize the economy and thus can readily harass activists at their workplaces. Economic autonomy links capitalism and democracy through individuals’ calculations about activism. Accounts of activists’ decisions about establishing independent media, leading political organizations, and running for office, and descriptions of government harassment in Russia and Kyrgyzstan, along with examples from most regions of the world, illustrate these arguments. A lack of economic autonomy and the interaction among democratic rights help explain the global proliferation of hybrid regimes, governments that display both democratic and authoritarian characteristics.

Kelly M. McMann is an assistant professor of political science at Case Western Reserve University. Her work appears in the edited volumes The Transformation of Central Asia: States and Societies from Soviet Rule to Independence (2003) and Everyday Life in Central Asia: Past and Present (forthcoming). She has conducted field research in the capital cities and outlying regions of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan and survey research in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the International Research & Exchanges Board, and the Institute for the Study of World Politics have funded her research.

Economic Autonomy and Democracy

Hybrid Regimes in Russia and Kyrgyzstan

Case Western Reserve University

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011-4211, USA
Information on this title:

© Kelly M. McMann 2006

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2006

Printed in the United States of America

A catalog record for this publication is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

McMann, Kelly M., 1970–
Economic autonomy and democracy : hybrid regimes in Russia and Kyrgyzstan / Kelly
M. McMann.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-521-85761-9
1. Democracy – Russia (Federation) 2. Democracy – Kyrgyzstan. 3. Political
participation – Russia (Federation) 4. Political participation – Kyrgyzstan.
5. Russia (Federation) – Politics and government – 1991– 6. Kyrgyzstan – Politics and
government – 1991– 7. Russia (Federation) – Economic conditions – 1991–
8. Kyrgyzstan – Economic conditions – 1991– I. Title.

JN6699.A15M39    2006
320.947–dc22    2005022523

ISBN-13 978-0-521-85761-1 hardback
ISBN-10 0-521-85761-9 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for
the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or
third-party Internet Web sites referred to in this publication
and does not guarantee that any content on such
Web sites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

To Ellen and John McMann


List of Figures page viii
List of Tables ix
Acknowledgments xi
Notes on Transliteration xv
1   Capitalism, Democracy, and Economic Autonomy 1
2   The Concept of Economic Autonomy 28
3   Measurement of Democracy 44
4   Activism under the State’s Thumb 69
5   Illustrations of Economic Autonomy 138
6   Hybrid Regimes 174
    Appendix A: Description of Surveys 185
    Appendix B: Alternative Explanations 201
    Appendix C: List of Interviews 218
    Appendix D: Measurement of Eight Guarantees of Democracy 220
References 231
Index 251


Map 1 The Four Regions, 1998 page 23
2.1  Economic Autonomy and Political Activism 29
3.1  Ideal Impact of “Alternative Sources of Information” 49
3.2  Ideal Impact of “Freedom to Form and Join Organizations” 51
3.3  Ideal Impact of “Freedom of Expression” 53
3.4  Ideal Impact of “Eligibility for Public Office” 54
3.5  Ideal Impact of the “Right to Compete for Support” 55
3.6  Ideal Impact of the “Right to Vote” 55
3.7  Ideal Impact of “Free and Fair Elections” 56
3.8  Ideal Interaction among the Eight Guarantees 56
4.1  Interaction among the Eight Guarantees in Ul’ianovsk and Naryn 135


1.1  Socioeconomic Indicators for Russia and Kyrgyzstan page 14
1.2  Characteristics of the Russian Regions 21
1.3  Characteristics of the Kyrgyzstani Regions 24
3.1  Dahl’s Eight Guarantees 45
3.2  Impact of Individual Components 57
3.3  Evaluating Democracy: Measures and Sources 62
4.1  Comparison: Extent of Democracy 70
4.2  Comparison: Alternative Sources of Information 71
4.3  Comparison: Freedom to Form and Join Organizations 82
4.4  Comparison: Eligibility for Public Office and Right of Political Leaders to Compete for Support 95
4.5  Candidates per District 98
4.6  Characteristics of Parliamentary Candidates in the Russian Regions 100
4.7  Citizens’ Requests and Complaints 111
4.8  Public Protests in the Four Regions 115
4.9  Characteristics of Winners and Losers in Russian Regional Parliamentary Elections 126
5.1  Comparison: Punishment and Self-Censorship 139
5.2  Professions of Leaders of Political NGOs 141
5.3  Professions of Candidates for Provincial Office in the Russian Regions 142
5.4  Economic Characteristics of the Russian Regions 152
5.5  Economic Characteristics of the Kyrgyzstani Regions 160
A.1  Russian Survey: Knowledge of Regions 191
A.2  Kyrgyzstani Survey: Knowledge of Regions 192
A.3  Russian Survey: Knowledge of Most and Least Democratic Regions 192
A.4  Familiarity Ranking: Kyrgyzstan 194
A.5  Regional Ratings: Russia 197
A.6  Regional Ratings: Kyrgyzstan 198
A.7  Russian Survey: More and Less Democratic Rankings 199
B.1  Candidacy Regulations in the Russian Regions 204
B.2  Campaign Regulations in the Russian Regions 205
B.3  Allowable Campaign Funds in the Russian Regions 207
B.4  Allowable Campaign Funds in Ul’ianovsk as a Percentage of Allowable Campaign Funds in Samara 208
B.5  International Organizations in the Regions 215
C.1  Tally of Interviews 219
D.1  Sources of Provincial News 221
D.2  Ownership and Financing of Independent Media 224
D.3  Nongovernmental Organizations 226
D.4  Outcomes in Russian Regional Parliamentary Elections 229


Aigul, Almazbek, Nadezhda, and the other citizens of Russia and Kyrgyzstan who shared their stories with me are the foundation of this book. To these activists, politicians, bureaucrats, and businesspeople I owe the greatest debt. In addition to these individuals, eight families in Russia and Kyrgyzstan were particularly instrumental. Without their friendship, living in these countries would not have been nearly as enjoyable or educational. Their hospitality extended beyond food and shelter. They treated me as one of their own, including me in momentous occasions, such as the weddings of dear friends, and routine activities, such as the slaughtering of lambs! Sadly, the possibility that some of these individuals could face negative repercussions for their openness and hospitality has deterred me from revealing their identities.

   Two individuals, Edward Gibson and Zvi Gitelman, provided inspiration for this project during my graduate studies at the University of Michigan. Ed’s outstanding seminar on democratization prompted me to shift my focus from ethnic conflict to democratic development. Zvi’s enthusiasm for field research and foreign languages was a useful reminder that, despite its stumbling blocks, graduate study is an extraordinary experience that few are so fortunate to have.

   Pauline Jones Luong and Henry Hale have been generous with their advice and time and have provided ongoing encouragement since I left Ann Arbor. Each has been an excellent mentor. These individuals and the community of post-Soviet politics scholars I have come to know have made the start of my career particularly stimulating and enjoyable.

   During this project, certain people offered particularly useful advice or opportunities from which I benefited tremendously. These individuals include Alfred Evans, Mark Beissinger, the late Leonid Gordon, Ted Hopf, the late Harold Jacobson, Joel Moses, Tokonai Ozhukeeva, Nikolai Petrov, and Sergei Zasorin.

   Institutional support has been superb. The faculty and staff of the Department of Political Science and the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Michigan ensured that my graduate studies were invigorating and pleasant. I am particularly grateful for the numerous grants the University of Michigan provided to fund this project. During my time at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Timothy Colton, John Schoeberlein, Lisbeth Tarlow, and Joshua Tucker made me feel welcome and provided a stimulating environment in which I was able to refine my ideas. Most recently, I have benefited from the support of the Department of Political Science and the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. The current and former department chairs, Joseph White and Vincent McHale, respectively, have ensured that I have had the time and resources necessary to conduct research for this project and write this book. A fellowship from the Institute for the Study of World Politics funded the field research. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. SBR-9729989. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

   Numerous research assistants at the universities mentioned helped me collect information and edit this book. I am grateful to Gulnora Aminova, Christopher Beattie, Christopher Erenburg, Joshua Ehrenreich, Amanda Gibson, Philip Kehres, Inna Oskova, Marlene Torres, Sarah Tremont, and Brittany Williams for their assistance.

   Many scholars commented on various versions of this book, and I am grateful to them for their thoughts and time. Members of my dissertation committee – Samuel Eldersveld, Zvi Gitelman, Katherine Verdery, and William Zimmerman – provided extensive, helpful suggestions at the early stage of this project. Douglas Blum, Melissa Caldwell, Gerald Easter, Pauline Jones Luong, and Valerie Sperling offered useful assessments of the first complete draft. Todd Eisenstadt, Henry Hale, Heather Hill, Debra Javeline, Kathryn Lavelle, Emery Lee, Frances Lee, Ellen Lust-Okar, Sharon Werning Rivera, Bruce Rutherford, Richard Snyder, and members of Harvard’s Post-communist Politics and Economics Workshop shared their insights about portions of the manuscript. I also appreciate the comments that two anonymous reviewers for Cambridge University Press provided. In the final stage of the project, Lewis Bateman provided invaluable advice about the publishing industry.

   I thank two publishing houses and the Slavic Research Center of Hokkaido University for permission to reproduce information from my earlier publications. Data about candidates’ nominations in Table 4.6 and information in Table 5.2 appeared in “The Personal Risks of Party Development,” in Dilemmas of Transition in Post-Soviet Countries, edited by Joel C. Moses, 163–186 (Chicago: Burnham Inc. Publishers, 2003), now a Rowman and Littlefield title. Sections of Appendix A and Table B.5 appeared in “International Influences on Russian Regional Democratization,” in Slavic Eurasia’s Integration into the World Economy and Community, edited by Shinichiro Tabata and Akihiro Iwashita, Slavic Eurasian Studies, no. 2, 413–434 (Sapporo: Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University, 2004). Tables A.1, A.3, and A.5 were reprinted with permission from Post-Soviet Geography and Economics, Vol. 41, No. 3, 155–182 (© V. H. Winston & Son, Inc., 360 South Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach, FL 33480. All rights reserved.)

   On a personal note, I dedicate this book to my parents in recognition of two important gifts they gave me: an excellent college education and the choice of a career. This good fortune early in life has enabled me to pursue my interests. I would also like to thank my husband’s parents, Penelope and Theodore York, for providing a peaceful retreat and stimulating conversation during the research and writing of this book. I am grateful to our close friends Todd Gorman and Scott Miller for keeping my husband company during my long absences. They, along with their spouses and children, Nathalie Turgeon, Emma and Noah Gorman, and Lisa Cosimi, have also provided lively respites from my work. My young daughter, Marie, has supplied daily breaks from writing, rejuvenating me each time with a single smile.

   It is fitting that I thank my husband, Gregory York, last, for he has excelled in all these roles: as friend, motivator, mentor, advisor, advocate, editor, and companion. For this I am extremely grateful.

Notes on Transliteration

Throughout this book, I have used the Library of Congress system of Russian transliteration. However, for well-known names and words, I use the more common spelling (for example, Yeltsin instead of El’tsin and oblast instead of oblast’). I transliterated Kyrgyz and Uzbek names and words from their Russified forms unless another version was standard.

Economic Autonomy and Democracy

Hybrid Regimes in Russia and Kyrgyzstan

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