DOI: 10.1525/cpcs.2023.1999961 ISSN: 0967-067X

Communist Legacy, Anti-Elite Sentiments, and Modernization Theory

Olga Vasilyeva, Alexander Libman
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Development

Communist rule left a strong imprint on the development of Eastern European countries, but the precise mechanisms and directions of this legacy effect are subject to debate. This article looks at the legacies of giant infrastructural projects, which played an important role in the ideology and policy practice of communist regimes. Using the natural experiment of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM), we investigate the influence of this project on post-communist voting behavior. We show that the BAM legacy reduces the share of votes for United Russia, the party of power of Putin’s regime, and leads to a larger share of votes for the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). While the BAM legacy could be associated with a multitude of channels, we provide empirical evidence for at least one of them—the persistence of human capital, showing that BAM settlements are characterized by better educational outcomes than the control group.

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