Nikolai Mukhin

HSE University
Coauthors and affiliations
authoritarianism, institutions, China, leadership succession, nepotism, communism
Arguably, party institutions sustain resilient dictatorships. However, it is unclear how certain institutions support regime resilience over time and how some previously successful party institutions cease to be so, leading similar regimes to different survival outcomes. Moreover, the causal mechanism of party institutions’ role in the resilience of single-party regimes has not been examined closely. We investigate this puzzle and propose that party institutions must be studied over the long term. The article shows how nepotism in autocracies has buttressed regime stability devised by conventions adopted at critical junctures to structure elite behavior. Based on institutional analysis of leadership succession in the highly similar single-party regimes in China, Vietnam, and Laos, I argue that political nepotism became a means of institutional reproduction that has allowed Vietnam and Laos to consolidate collegial rule established by regime founders. In contrast, the successful fight against nepotism in China has led to further personalization of the regime.
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Sons of Revolution: Nepotism as a Source of Authoritarian Resilience in the Communist China, Vietnam and Laos