Preventive Repression and Public Opinion in Electoral Autocracies

05.12.2022 - 11:00 to 12:30
Location : 
online only
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Katerina Tertytchnaya
Lecturer affiliation: 
University College London

Does preventive repression dampen or does it bolster mass support for groups
that dissent despite obstruction? While 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 I draw on evidence from
unusually detailed data on unauthorized and authorized protest from Russia and
an original survey experiment. I show that when the 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 demonstrator tactics on public opinion. These effects, however, are contingent
on citizen attitudes about the law and the authorities. Findings, which provide one
of the first causal tests of the mass opinion effects of preventive repression, expand
understanding of the consequences and audiences of repression and have implications
for studies of authoritarian resilience.