Mobilization and Representation under Adverse Conditions

Par­ties exist not only in repre­senta­tive de­moc­racies, but also in re­gimes domi­nated by au­thori­tarian in­cum­bents and influ­ential eco­nomic actors ("oli­garchs"). Fo­cusing on au­thori­tarian Rus­sia on the one hand and the hy­brid de­moc­racies of Ukraine and Mol­dova on the other, the junior re­search group inves­ti­gates the condi­tions of exist­ence of par­ties and asks whether they can repre­sent the inter­ests of citi­zens de­spite sys­temic barri­ers.

The Junior Research Group at a glance

Place of researchLMU Munich
AssociationElite Graduate Program „East European Studies“
Project duration2023 to 2029
Group leaderDr. Jan Matti Dollbaum
Contact the group leader
Further informationWebsite Mobilization and Representation under Adverse Conditions

Parties in war and authoritarianism

Even in repre­senta­tive de­moc­racies, the func­tion of par­ties to trans­late the pref­er­ences of citi­zens into poli­cies is some­times im­paired. This is exac­erbat­ed where au­thori­tarian and in­for­mal prac­tices sys­temat­ically dis­tort politi­cal com­peti­tion – or elimi­nate it alto­geth­er. In such con­texts, the exist­ing litera­ture sees par­ties pri­marily as an in­stru­ment of the pow­erful to stabi­lize au­thori­tarian rule or to en­force oli­gar­chic inter­ests. Nev­erthe­less, there are ex­am­ples of suc­cess­ful mobi­liza­tion of voters and activ­ists and even of suc­cess­ful repre­senta­tion of socie­tal de­mands.

On the one hand, the Junior Re­search Group exam­ines par­ties in the pa­tronal de­moc­racies (i.e., de­moc­racies char­acter­ized by a high de­gree of in­for­mali­ty) of Ukraine and the Re­public of Mol­dova. It also exam­ines the con­se­quences of the Rus­sian war of ag­gres­sion for do­mestic poli­tics. Sec­ond, it ex­plores how Rus­sian oppo­sition par­ties have emerged as pillars of the au­thori­tarian re­gime since the 1990s – and asks whether they can never­the­less have a future as in­stru­ments of politi­cal repre­senta­tion.

Expanding party research

The results of the stud­ies on Mol­dova and Ukraine will be con­nect­ed to the litera­ture on par­ties in East-Central and West­ern Eu­rope, while the stud­ies on Rus­sia will find their way into com­para­tive au­thori­tarian­ism re­search. In this way, the group also exam­ines to what extent the term "post-Soviet" still repre­sents a mean­ingful des­igna­tion for a region that is in­creas­ingly dif­feren­tiating politi­cally and social­ly more than 30 years after the col­lapse of the Soviet Un­ion.

portrait picture of Dr. Jan Matti Dollbaum

Like few other programs in the German research landscape, a International Junior Research Group within the Elite Network of Bavaria allows to work on a complex and socially highly relevant research question in a concentrated and extensive way.

Dr. Jan Matti Dollbaum

It cooperates closely with the Elite Graduate Program „East European Studies“.