Mass Repression and Political Loyalty: Evidence from Stalin's 'Terror by Hunger'

Arturas Rozenas, Yuri M. Zhukov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    States use repression to enforce obedience, but repression - especially if it is violent, massive, and indiscriminate - often incites opposition. Why does repression have such disparate effects? We address this question by studying the political legacy of Stalin's coercive agricultural policy and collective punishment campaign in Ukraine, which led to the death by starvation of over three million people in 1932-34. Using rich micro-level data on eight decades of local political behavior, we find that communities exposed to Stalin's "terror by hunger" behaved more loyally toward Moscow when the regime could credibly threaten retribution in response to opposition. In times when this threat of retribution abated, the famine-ridden communities showed more opposition to Moscow, both short- and long-term. Thus, repression can both deter and inflame opposition, depending on the political opportunity structure in which post-repression behavior unfolds.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalAmerican Political Science Review
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

    Fingerprint

    hunger
    repression
    loyalty
    terrorism
    opposition
    evidence
    obedience
    political behavior
    agricultural policy
    Ukraine
    micro level
    community
    penalty
    campaign
    regime
    threat
    death

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

    Mass Repression and Political Loyalty : Evidence from Stalin's 'Terror by Hunger'. / Rozenas, Arturas; Zhukov, Yuri M.

    In: American Political Science Review, 01.01.2019.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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