Support for democracy and autocracy in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, 1992-2002

Christian W. Haerpfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyzes the "realist" support for the current regime as well as the support for democracy as a set of "idealist" principles in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It also analyzes political support for nondemocratic regimes as alternatives to democratic governance. The main conclusion of this article is that mass public support for democracy as the best form of government encompasses an absolute majority of citizens in Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, and Belarus as well as a relative majority of Russian citizens. Political support for the current regimes declined between 1992 and 2002 and collapsed in Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Armenia. This collapse of public support for the current political regime contributed to the "revolutions" in Georgia and Ukraine. The proportion of supporters for authoritarian regimes in Russia and the other post-Soviet countries decreased from about one-third to one-fifth of their respective electorates. This cross-national study provides empirical evidence of increasing support for democracy as an ideal form of government and a corresponding decrease in support for autocracy in eight political regimes in the Commonwealth of States area in the period from 1992 until 2002.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-431
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Political Science Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


  • democracy
  • autocracy
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • Central Asia
  • revolutions


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