Authoritarian Regional Powers and Containing Democratic Transition: Saudi Arabia and Russia

The study examines the influence of authoritarian regional powers on the democratization process in the near abroad countries by focusing on Russia and Saudi Arabia as case studies. It seeks to highlight how their "perception of threat" of democratization or regime change in neighboring countries influences the nature and type of strategies and policies employed to deal with such a challenge. The study illustrates how the two regional actors engage in two parallel games related to regime survival and geopolitical interests. It concludes that the effectiveness of external authoritarian support is a function of the degree of this support which, in turn, depends on the level of threat perception. These interactions take place within a specific domestic setting and are being influenced by the degree of external promotion of democracy.

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Abstract

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The study examines the influence of authoritarian regional powers on the democratization process in the near abroad countries by focusing on Russia and Saudi Arabia as case studies. It seeks to highlight how their "perception of threat" of democratization or regime change in neighboring countries influences the nature and type of strategies and policies employed to deal with such a challenge. The study illustrates how the two regional actors engage in two parallel games related to regime survival and geopolitical interests. It concludes that the effectiveness of external authoritarian support is a function of the degree of this support which, in turn, depends on the level of threat perception. These interactions take place within a specific domestic setting and are being influenced by the degree of external promotion of democracy.

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