Contrasting legacies : determinants of support for incomplete democracies in the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation
For a generation prior to democratic transition, South Korea combined a bureaucratic-military authoritarian regime and a developmental state, while the Soviet Union was a post-totalitarian party-state. Today both South Korea and Russia are incomplete democracies. Following the logic of selecting most different cases for analysis, this thesis compares and contrasts the influence of the legacies of the two prior undemocratic regimes on public support for the current system of government. Support is conceived here as having two dimensions, normative and empirical, and the determinants of support on each dimension are compared between Korea and Russia. The Soviet legacy is more negative than that of the Korean undemocratic regime in terms of supplying democratic institutions and it exerts a complex but ultimately negative set of effects on support. However, in each country differences amongst individuals are more important than the legacies of prior regimes in determining levels of support. When one compares support for current regimes in Russia and Korea with a range of post-communist democracies in Europe, the sharpest division is not between Korea on the one hand and the post-communist countries on the other, but within the postcommunist category. The Soviet legacy as experienced by Russia, correlating with lack of political and economic freedom, failure to progress towards the rule of law and failure to achieve early financial stabilization, help explain why support for Russia's incomplete democratic regime is relatively low. Quantitative tests are used to show that in Russia normative support for the current regime is less widely dispersed and less resilient than in Korea.