Shoring Up Autocracy: Participatory Technologies and Regime Support in Putin's Russia." 2021. Comparative Political Studies. DOI: 10.1177/0010414021989759


Foreign Media Broadcasts as a Tool of Soft Power: Agenda Setting and Issue Framing Effects of Russian News in Kyrgyzstan.” With Theodore P. Gerber. International Studies Quarterly 63 (3): 756–769. DOI: 10.1093/isq/sqz046.


Xenophobia on the Rise? Temporal and Regional Trends in Xenophobic Attitudes in Russia.” With Kyle L. Marquardt, Yoshiko M. Herrera, and Theodore P. Gerber. Comparative Politics 50 (3): 381-394. DOI: 10.5129/001041518822704944.


 To Know It is to Want More of It: The Intelligibility and Definition of Democracy, Support for Democratization, and Global City Residence in Russia.” With Theodore P. Gerber. 2017. Democratization 28 (3): 481-503. DOI: 10.1080/13510347.2017.1387537.


“Georgia.” 2017. In Online around the World: A Geographic Encyclopedia of the Internet, Social Media, and Mobile Apps. Editors, Marilyn Andrews and Laura Steckman. Santa Barbara: ABC–CLIO.


“Kyrgyzstan.” 2017. In Online around the World: A Geographic Encyclopedia of the Inter- net, Social Media, and Mobile Apps. Editors, Marilyn Andrews and Laura Steckman. Santa Barbara: ABC–CLIO.

Discussions with the Dictator (Book Project):


This book project presents a theory of how non-democratic regimes use seemingly democratic forms of communication and participation to bolster regime legitimacy and mitigate information dilemmas. In particular, I argue that autocrats develop and maintain what I call participatory technologies—elite-mass communication strategies that promote increased interaction between the public and individuals in power—to engage their citizens in the political process. These strategies are used by autocrats around the world—from call-in shows in Venezuela to petition systems in China and feedback units in Singapore and Saudi Arabia.       


The book develops the concept of participatory technologies through the case of Russia. In the case study, I use expert interviews and qualitative content analysis of two original datasets to explain the development and use of participatory technologies in modern-day Russia. Through this case study, I demonstrate how participatory technologies help autocrats overcome information dilemmas and build legitimacy. I then test this theory through two original survey experiments fielded on nationally-representative samples in Russia. Results suggest that while participatory technologies can increase approval of the autocrat and bolster political efficacy, these tools have the potential backfire against the regime, leading to greater political polarization in the long term.  


Given the rise of authoritarian regimes around the world, it is important to understand the tools autocrats use to reinforce their regimes. This project contributes to this goal by providing a detailed look at an important but often overlooked strategy frequently pursued by non-democracies. I am currently revising the manuscript for publication as an academic book.

Other Publications:


Putin would recognize Trump’s ‘reality TV’ techniques in the State of the Union address.” 2020. The Monkey Cage [The Washington Post]. February 11.


Russian Propaganda Isn’t as Effective As You May Think.” (with Theodore P. Gerber). 2019. The Monkey Cage [The Washington Post]. September 5.


 In Moscow, citizens have been protesting for five weekends in a row. What does the rest of Russia think?” 2019. The Monkey Cage [The Washington Post]. August 15.


Putin now has his own TV show, following his daily life. This explains why.” 2018. The Monkey Cage [The Washington Post]. September 28.


Russians are getting less xenophobic.” 2018. The Monkey Cage [The Washington Post]. April 18.


Trump’s news conferences look a lot like Putin’s. Should you worry?” 2017. The Monkey Cage [The Washington Post]. February 18.



Working Papers:


"Contingent Support for Democracy." With Margaret Hanson, Valery Dzutsati, and Paul DeBell. Under Review. 


“Dimensions of Electronic Political Engagement: New Media, Old Media, and Public Opinion in Russia’s Contested Election Season of 2011-12.” With Theodore P. Gerber.


"Protest and Political Attitudes in Non-Democracies: A Natural Experiment from Russia." 


“Explaining Gender Equality: A Spatial Analysis of Women’s Rights Around the World.”