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Photo: “Vladimir Putin address to citizens 2020-04-02“, by The Presidential Press and Information Office, licensed under CC BY 4.0. Hue modified from the original

Waller, Julian. “Mimicking the Mad Printer: Legislating Illiberalism in Post-Soviet Eurasia” September 7, 2021.


Illiberal policy innovation has grown in post-Soviet Eurasia over the 2010s, especially regarding controversial moral and cultural issues. These have often been developed by illiberal entrepreneur states and then taken up elsewhere. This article reviews the case of the Russian “homosexual propaganda” law, situating the particular domestic context for its legislative development and then turning to the partial diffusion of “copycat” versions debated in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Georgia. Although Russian illiberal innovation can be understood through domestic drivers of policy development, attempts to pass illiberal laws elsewhere are better explained by the interaction of domestic political incentives and international factors.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.