Our “Politics and pandemics” special series continues, and this week we are going to take a look at what changes did COVID-19 bring into the political life of Hungary. This week’s blog post is written by Katalin Miklóssy, University Lecturer, Discipline coordinator in Eastern European and Balkan Studies at the Aleksanteri Institute.
Reading time: 7 minutes
Continue reading “Pandemic Power: Hungary Beyond Cure”
This eventful Spring also had several important changes for the Russian state. After in late March, Vladimir Putin had to postpone the “referendum” on the new constitutional amendments, on the 13th of May State Duma passed a fastly drafted bill, which allows conducting elections and referendums of all levels by post or through the Internet. ElMaRB project leader Margarita Zavadskaya was asked to comment on this situation by the Vot-tak.tv.
There are countries in the world, where voting by post is an established practice. For example, on the 7th of May, Sejm of Poland passed the Law on postal voting at the presidential elections 2020, on which insisted the party of power “Law and Justice” (PiS) and with which did not agree the opposition and the senators. Margarita Zavadskaya also mentions Switzerland, Estonia, and some other states as an example. “However, under the conditions of undemocratic, nontransperent regime, a normal democratic norm may work out badly. Unfortunarely, researchers of electoral politics know, that a share of votes casted for the president of Russia correlates well with the share of at-home voting. And this issue with post or Internet voting will serve as a kind of remote ballot box.
Read the full version of the article at Vot-tak.tv
This post, written by Margarita Zavadskaya and Elena Gorbacheva, is the seventh in the special series “Politics&Pandemics”.
Reading time: 12 minutes
Three days ago, on May 11th, during his latest address to the nation, Vladimir Putin stated that from the 12th of May the regime of non-working days is over, and each region should proceed to gradually lift off restrictions according to their own schedule. Does this imply that the pandemic has reached the long-awaited plateau and Russian authorities handle the corona crisis successfully? This does not seem to be the case: since the beginning of May, there have been more than 10.000 new cases of coronavirus infections recorded daily in Russia. At the moment, Russia has the second highest toll of the number of COVID-patients in the world after the US. Not to mention the growing number of complaints from the business, doctors, and impoverished citizens locked in their homes.
Continue reading “Concentrating Benefits and Delegating Costs: How the president undermines the governors’ chance to raise their own political credentials while handling the pandemic”
Self-isolation does not prevent research seminars from happening. Today, Margarita Zavadskaya together with Anna Shirokanova, senior research fellow, Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (LCSR) presented their research, that they have been doing together with Elena Sirotkina, doctoral student, University of North Carolina, at the Russian Media Lab Network cyber lunch. The paper they presented is titled “Is it who is saying or what is being said? Mechanisms of disinformation under non-democracies. Evidence from a survey experiment in Russia” and is a result of the research based on a nationwide survey, where the participants were asked how do they perceive two ideologically polarised media messages depending on the media outlet they are published in – Channel One or Ekho Moskvy.
How good citizens are in defining disinformation in an autocracy? Which information they name credible and what influences their perception of credibility? On a representative sample of the Russian population, we run a story-based vignettes experiment to find out how consistency of the message and the source influences credibility to the information provided given partisanship and perceived neutrality. We find that overall citizens accurately identify which of the polarized opinions is more likely to appear at a pro-government and a pro-opposition source. However, the message content and its tone coupled with the respondents’ partisanship define whether s/he deems the piece of information credible and trustworthy. Perceived neutrality is the main mechanism, which forces credibility to the message. This perceived neutrality proves to be a key heuristics for navigation in media for citizens from both pro-government and pro-opposition flanks. The results of the survey experiment suggests that respondents generally admit that the Russian media mostly transmit pro-government messages, while largely fail to spot the pro-government bias having been intentionally exposed to it. These findings adds up to the argument that public opinion under autocracies does not entirely result from the preference of falsification, but also from ‘the preference for propaganda’.
Some day in the future, economic historians will likely consider the dramatic decline of international oil prices, which occurred in March 2020, as a turning point in the development of the global petroleum industry. This collapse puts the end to the era of expansive oil, which began after the Iraq war of 2003. That era is over now as the global economy seems to return to a period of low oil prices, similar to the one at the end of the 20th century after 1986.
There are a lot of explanations for the collapse of oil prices in the business and academic literature. Some experts think that the coronavirus pandemic undermines the global demand for petroleum, while other economists suppose that the dissolution of the coalition of OPEC countries and Russia in March 2020 was responsible for the destruction of the previous oil price equilibrium at the international oil market. However, the question of why this collapse of the oil price equilibrium happened is no longer relevant. The questions scholars should focus on now are how the decrease in oil prices will impact the economies of oil-exporting countries in the world after the pandemic? What reaction to this crisis can we expect from the governments of oil-producing countries? Finally, what will happen to the Russian economy?
The oil crisis and the escalating oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia of 2020 might open intellectual debate on what is the best way of the organization of the petroleum industry in the conditions of low oil prices. What model of petroleum ownership is optimal for the economy in the new age of cheap oil prices? What will the reaction of the state to this problem be? Could we expect the mass privatizations of state-owned oil companies around the world? This essay is an attempt at addressing the problem. This is the sixth blog post of the Politics & Pandemics special series, written by invited researchers Aleksei Pobedonostsev* and Nadezhda Stepanova+.
*Aleksei Pobedonostsev, Ph.D. candidate in political and social sciences (European University Institute in Florence), Aleksanteri Institute visiting fellow, Aleksei.Pobedonostsev@EUI.eu
+Nadezhda Stepanova, Ph.D. in economics, Aleksanteri Institute, Invited Researcher firstname.lastname@example.org
Reading time: 14 minutes
Continue reading “The Privatization of Rosneft: An Unintended Consequence of the Coronavirus Pandemic and the 2020 Oil Crisis”