The phenomenon of crony capitalism has been explored primarily with reference to its impact on economic growth. This study investigates the political implications of crony capitalism and, specifically, the interaction between political competition and crony capitalism. Based on a case study of a political trajectory in one of the regions of the Russian Federation, I argue that under crony capitalism political competition can undermine the legitimacy of state authorities and such democratic institution as the electoral mechanism. Played out in public during the electoral campaigns unrestricted political competition uncovers the predatory nature of crony elites engaged in struggle for power and wealth and increases public perceptions of corruption.

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