Elite Renewal and Continuity in the Political Landscapes in Eurasia: Methodological and Empirical Inquiries

Open Panel

Recent political turbulences in Eurasia has been accompanied with changes in political elite structures. Popular discontent with the political establishment opened the window of opportunity for “new faces” to enter the politics, either in the course of the mass protests in Moldova, Georgia and Armenia or through the regular electoral vote in Ukraine. In similar vein, although more incremental, elite structures transformed in less competitive regimes in Eurasia. The move from performance-based to ideas-based legitimation claims in Russia altered the distribution of power and resources among Russian elites. Similarly, the change in Kazakhstan’s leadership shook the informal networks around the office of the president.
The panel addresses different aspects of elite renewal and continuity in Eurasia in the light of recent political turbulences in the region. It incorporates the horizontal interactions between political elites, business elites and civil society as well as the vertical interactions between central and regional/local elites. Its main goal is to seize how elites and elite networks reacted to the exogenous and endogenous challenges. The panel suggests focusing on the following questions:
• What new configurations in the elite networks, both in horizontal and vertical dimensions, can be detected?
• Who are the newcomers? What are their origins? How they come and integrate into existing networks or/and create the new ones?
• What helps the members of the old guard to survive? Who are the survivors and what are the structural pre-conditions of their survival in power?
• How do formal and informal ties of elite members assist during turbulent times in staying in power and stabilizing elite networks?
• Does the cooperation of different branches of state power and civil society, the symbiosis of political and business elites evolve to sustain the network structures?
• How do the changes in the elites and their networks translated into the practices of governance?

The panel is open to both single-country studies and comparative studies with a regional focus in Eurasia. Papers with a broader geographical coverage are also of interest in case of covering the power elite networks during turbulent periods of the recent decades (after 1989). The panel welcomes (but is not limited to) methodological approaches and theoretical contributions on the edge of Political Science, Political Sociology, Sociology of Elites and Political Economy.