Goal of research: identification of the main parameters of the transformation of socio-political destabilization dynamics in the epicenter countries of the global phase transition in the period of 2011-2015, the subsequent development of practical recommendations for overcoming or avoiding socio-political instability.
Methodology: The main method of research is a system method based on the modern theory of political systems. In addition, the study uses situational analysis, methods of political sociology, as well as significant elements of political-historical and political-philosophical approaches.
Empirical base of research: in the research, CNTS and Freedom House databases were used.
Results of research:
a) During the implementation of the project, the team attempted to test the hypothesis that consolidated democracies and successive autocracies are more stable than intermediate regimes. Empirical tests using the CNTS and Freedom House databases in general have confirmed the existence of a U-shaped relationship between the type of regime and the level of socio-political instability (consolidated democracies and successive autocracies are more stable than intermediate regimes). At the same time, it revealed a number of important details. First, the U-shaped dependence of the level of socio-political instability on the type of regime, as a rule, is significantly asymmetrical. Secondly, the nature of this asymmetry can change with time. Thirdly, after the end of the Cold War, the U-shaped relationship between the type of regime and the level of socio-political instability has significantly weakened and undergone important changes. If in 1973-1991, the highest level of socio-political instability was demonstrated by unconsolidated democracies, in 1992-2012, it became more characteristic of inconsistent autocracies.
b) Another result of the work on the project is the assumption that a prolonged fall in oil prices leads to an almost inevitable increase in socio-political instability in the oil-exporting countries, and their systematic increase could be regarded a powerful factor of socio-political stabilization. At the same time, the dependence appears to have a power law character - therefore, price changes in the range above $ 60 per barrel do not have a very strong impact on the level of socio-political instability in oil-exporting countries, but when it falls below this level, the next 10 dollars leads to significant increase in the risks of socio-political destabilization. These risks are especially high with a prolonged fall in prices below $ 40 per barrel, and with the prolonged fall of these prices below $ 35, a very noticeable increase in socio-political instability in oil-exporting countries is almost inevitable. At the same time, the effect of a three-year time lag is revealed: although a strong sustained drop in oil prices immediately leads to a noticeable increase in the risks of socio-political destabilization, a truly high risk becomes three years after this. This is due to the fact that, during a period of high prices, the oil exporting states usually accumulate a certain stock of stability, which tends to dissipate for consistently low prices in three years (note that a steady rise in prices tends to exert its stabilizing effect with a three-year lag).
The practical inevitability of the growth of overall socio-political instability in oil-exporting countries with the fall in oil prices below $ 35 (in dollars in 2014) does not mean that a very significant increase in socio-political instability is absolutely inevitable in any of the oil-exporting countries. For example, in the 1980s and early 1990s, a prolonged fall in oil prices served as a powerful factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union or the genesis of the civil war in Algeria, while Saudi Arabia (although not at all easily) succeeded to avoid serious socio-political destabilization in those years. Thus, for the oil-exporting countries, a prolonged drop in prices below the level of 40 (and especially 35) dollars per barrel greatly increases the risk of socio-political destabilization, but does not make it inevitable. Yes, if the price of oil does not return to a level above $ 60 per barrel in the coming years, one could expect a significant increase in socio-political instability in some oil-exporting countries; if this price steadily goes below 40 (and especially 35) dollars, we can expect much stronger destabilization in a larger number of oil-exporting countries. Accordingly, in Russia, the oil-dependent risk of socio-political destabilization has grown already practically and will inevitable (if oil prices do not return to levels above $ 60) grow in the coming years (let's not forget about the three-year lag). With a steady drop in prices to levels below 40 (and especially 35) dollars, this risk will grow particularly strongly. But even in the latter case, it will not be about the inevitable radical destabilization; in the case of adequate actions by the state administration and civil society, it can very well be prevented.
c) The work carried out on the project also showed that the statistically significant positive correlation (r = 0,935, R2 = 0,875) between GDP per capita and the intensity of anti-government demonstrations found in the range of up to USD 20,000 at purchasing power parity is partly connected with the following circumstances: 1) GDP growth in authoritarian regimes leads to an intensification of the struggle for democracy, and hence to an increase in the number of anti-government demonstrations; 2) In countries with per capita income of up to $ 20,000, per capita GDP growth is strongly correlated with a decrease in the share of authoritarian regimes and an increase in the share of non-authoritarian (democratic and transit) regimes, while the availability of non-authoritarian regimes in this category significantly correlates with a higher intensity of anti-government demonstrations; 3) in countries with a per capita income of up to $ 20,000, GDP growth leads to an increase in the educational level of the population, and an increase in the educational level of the population, in turn, contributes to an increase in the number of anti-government demonstrations. At the same time, all three mechanisms considered by us together do not fully explain the revealed correlation, which indicates the need for further research.
d) It is shown that although socio-political destabilization was observed in recent years in all the World System zones, in the countries of the Near and Middle East it had more violent forms than in most other World-System zones, where internal destabilization was expressed mainly in the form of demonstrations, strikes, riots, etc. So, in spite of the fact that in other World-System zones there was also a noticeable growth of terrorist activity, in the countries of the Near and Middle East its level was recently 2-3 times higher there.
e) Despite the existence of a large number of studies on the factors of terrorism, most of them are exploring these factors at the personal, group, cross-national level. Within the framework of this project, these factors were investigated at provincial level in Iran in 2005-2013. The main trends of terrorism in Iran during this period were a high concentration of terrorist attacks and their commitment by ethno-religious groups. With the help of a negative binomial regression on the basis of 242 points distributed over 31 provinces over 8 years, it was revealed that unemployment and Sunni-Shi’a schism are key factors in the terrorist attacks in this country. The share of Baloch people in the province's population was also significant.
f) It is shown that the war in Afghanistan served as a trigger for the development of Islamist movements in Iraqi Kurdistan. For a long time, the "echo of Afghanistan" in the form of returning soldiers who had received military and religious training, significantly influenced the political situation in Iraqi Kurdistan. There is a risk that during the next decade the political processes in Kurdistan will be affected by an "echo of ISIS" (prohibited in Russia), if it would be destroyed. In addition, the border areas with Iran, near the province of Halabja, are a permanent powder keg for Iraqi Kurdistan. The Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (IMK) began to grow and develop its infrastructure in Halabja back in the 1980s. At the moment, the IMK practically does not represent a serious political force, as it received only one seat in the parliament in the 2013 elections, but the works of thirty years ago still bear fruit: various Islamist groups still draw human resources in these areas. Also, at the moment there are a number of prerequisites for the growth of the influence of Islamist movements. Among them, it is worth noting the corruptness and ineffectiveness of the current political system of Iraqi Kurdistan. In addition, thanks to the migration inside Iraq, even more Muslim Arabs began to live in the territory of Iraqi Kurdistan. Moreover, the consequences of the war in Afghanistan had a tremendous impact on the Islamic factor in regional stability. Former "Afghan fighters" brought to South Kurdistan not only a radical ideology, but also military experience. The expansion of radical ideas in the region has received a serious impulse. Despite the neighborhood of the Iraqi Kurdistan and the "Islamic State", the factor of the role of Islamist movements in the destabilization of the region at the moment can still be considered relatively unimportant. However, in the future, it may increase in connection with the return of militants of the "Islamic State" to their homeland. The consequences of such processes can be seen in the example of the nineties фтв the beginning of the 2000th, when militants from Afghanistan returned to the territory of Kurdistan. Also, one should not discount the refugees from war-torn Iraqi territories, among which the majority focuses not on the Kurdish national idea, but on the Islamic one. Along with the consequences of the economic crisis in Kurdistan, this phenomenon is likely to only expand the social base of Islamists.