This article argues that Russia has a peculiar form of authoritarianism that exhibits pronounced technocratic features. The analysis places in a comparative frame the bases of regime legitimacy and the paths to political, administrative, and economic power in Russia. By locating the Russian state in a matrix that considers the ideology of governance on one axis and the backgrounds of elites on the other, the article highlights areas of overlap and separation between state–society relations in Russia and other regimes in the developed and developing world. It also illustrates the ways in which technocratic elites in Russia differ from their counterparts in other parts of the world.

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