Year of Graduation
"Protest Publics" in Authoritarian Regimes: Defining New Democratic Practices (cases of Russia and Turkey in 2011-2015)
Political Analysis and Public Policy
This paper is an attempt to make a contribution to research of a new phenomenon "protest publics", which has shown its worth especially during the Arab spring. Mass political protests of recent years, starting with the Arab Spring in 2010-2011 when protesters swept the Middle East and North Africa and up to the latest developments in Ukraine can become not only a factor but also an actor of political changes in modern polities. Once emerged, protests go on and preserve their influence on political changes in the United States and Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Turkey, Egypt, Thailand and many other countries all over the world. This allows some researchers to talk about the emergence of a new phenomenon – the phenomenon of protest groups of citizens or protest publics. In the beginning of this research we posed a research question based on the problem characterized protest publics’ role as a driver of political changes in authoritarian regimes; the question was how protest publics in authoritarian regimes managed to influence on political changes in countries. Research goal was to define the role of protest publics in the mechanism of political changes in authoritarian regimes. Analyzing actors, factors of political changes and political changes itself in two countries we can assume that Protest Publics in Turkey is very similar to the one in Russia – in both cases publics becomes a kind of democratic “innovator”. Protest publics’ actions may lead not only to democratization but also to strengthening authoritarian regime. Nevertheless, even there it creates the contratendency of accumulation democratic practices.