Public support for Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin has fluctuated significantly over Russia's first post-Soviet decade. Cultural explanations for these dynamics emphasize the country's authoritarian culture and Russian preferences for strong and decisive leaders. Neo-institutional theories attribute the dynamics to citizens' everyday evaluations of presidential performance as the government succeeds or fails in meeting citizens' needs and demands. This article tests competing cultural and neo-institutional theories of presidential popularity in Russia during the Yeltsin and early Putin years (1991-2000). We develop and estimate a series of political support models of Russian presidential approval. Although we find substantial support for elements of both cultural and neo-institutional theories of presidential popularity, institutional theories perform substantially better in accounting for fluctuations in Yeltsin's and Putin's popularity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science