In this article, we study the subnational variation in the deployment of the politically motivated coercion during Aleksei Navalny’s 2017–18 presidential campaign in Russia. We posit that the strategic consideration behind the use of coercion helps to explain why some subnational authorities relied heavily on repressive tactics while others abstained from it. As regime agents aim at preventing mobilization from escalating, in resource abundant localities they must be more proactive. Also, they have to develop organizational capacities and overcome political constraints. Hence, we expect higher intensity of repression in the cities where propensity and capacity to repress are higher, and constraints are lower. We test these propositions against the data on the incidents of coercion in 159 cities and find some tentative support for this theory.

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