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Factors of Political Isolationism of Russian Regions (2012-2017)

Student: Semen Kievets

Supervisor: Andrey N. Scherbak

Faculty: Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies

Educational Programme: Comparative Politics of Eurasia (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2019

The current work analyses the phenomenon of political isolationism of Russian regions from 2012 to 2017. In recent years, Russian citizens have chosen an isolationist way towards domestic development, to the detriment of foreign policy activities. However, which factors do contribute to the rise of political isolationism in Russia? To find out these features, I employ principal component analysis and ordinary least squares (OLS) regression in the research. My thesis argues that the level of scientific and innovative development of Russian regions is connected with their political isolationism to a certain extent. Regions having a lot of foreign students, research and development personnel, pupils learning foreign languages and spending much money on technological and innovative development are inclined to low level of political isolationism. Isolated regions, in their turn, focus on their resources and have limited contacts with the outside world. They have closed regime with a low level of competition and change of power. These regions are conservative and prefer to follow the strategy of noninvolvement in different ties with other states. They cannot be identified as scientific and innovative centers due to lack of the “creative” class. People belonging to this group strive to develop new ideas, technologies, and unique creative content. Besides, I managed to confirm that the factor “Economy” is weak and has no impact on the level of political isolationism of Russian regions. Their success depends on the number of the “creative class” because those regions with its representatives have the strongest economies. Moreover, the rating of political isolationism of Russian regions has been elaborated. At the top of the rating Russian subjects with a huge number of representatives of the “creative class” are placed while at the bottom we can observe the most isolated regions, which lack its supporters.

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