Seminar on authoritarian regimes at Uppsala

Participants: Leila Alieva (University of Oxford/UCRS), Sofie Bedford (UCRS), Alexei Pikulik (Belarus Institute for Strategic Studies/UCRS) and Laurent Vinatier (Thomas More Institute/UCRS)

It is beyond doubt ‘opposition’ is important both in democratic and non-democratic contexts. Notably ‘there can be no real democracy without opposition’. Still literature theorizing and problematizing the concept of opposition in authoritarian milieus is not very common. Interestingly a large number of both older and newer literature focusing specifically on the concept of political opposition both in democratic or in non-democratic contexts describe the topic as understudied.

In the light of this the two first years of our project “Building Sustainable Opposition in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes, funded by VR in 2015, has been dedicated to elaborating the understanding of the nature and character of opposition in authoritarian regimes, specifically in Azerbaijan and Belarus. The main focus of the study has been to observe and analyze opposition dynamics in action. During this seminar we will present two papers from the project related to this, focused particularly on the restrictive contexts and its effects on oppositional activity: “E-Opposition in Belarus. How the Internet Undermines the Chances of the Opposition to Win” “Opposition in a Rent-Seeking State. Azerbaijan and Belarus Compared.