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This introduction to the special issue on Electoral Politics and Policy under Putin presents the central arguments of the contributors and situates those within the broader relevant literatures. Collectively, the articles cover a sweeping constellation of electoral issues that have become hallmark considerations of the Putin era, such as opposition party performance in a consolidated dictatorship, the election of women and minority candidates, corruption, electoral malfeasance, and cancelled elections. Many of the manuscripts address two central themes in the Russia-specific and comparative literature – first, how dictatorships coordinate machine politics, and second, explanations for why authoritarian regimes may struggle to capture electoral support, even when engaging in blatant and conspicuous forms of manipulation. The contributions shed light on the multifaceted challenges that the Putin regime faces today and suggest that the regime may be experiencing a type of widespread decay that is ultimately insurmountable.

In: Russian Politics