Almost twenty five years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia and several Central Asian republics appear to be converging on what may be termed a ‘hierarchic party system’, characterised by controlled and unequal competition between parties. Addressing the juncture between international politics and party politics, this article explores this convergence and considers Russian authoritarian norm diffusion as a possible explanation. This article argues that although Russia continues to build significant party-based linkage in Central Asia, similarities between party systems are the result of complex, multidirectional norm diffusion, as regimes look to liberalise or close their respective political systems.

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