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Photo: Vladimir Putin with military people (2018-05-31) 08“, by licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 Hue modified from the original.

Guasti, Petra, and Jaroslav Bílek. “The demand side of vaccine politics and pandemic illiberalism.” East European Politics 38, no. 4 (2022): 594-616.


We take the demand-side perspective of Sputnik V, trying to answer why facing vaccine scarcity, some countries opt for Sputnik V, and others do not. To show how the pandemic tests the institutional safeguards and soft guardrails of liberal democracy, we compiled a unique dataset and combined statistical analysis and case studies. While our quantitative analysis shows that the illiberalism of the party in power is the main explanatory factor in the import of Sputnik V, our qualitative case studies illustrate under what conditions institutional guardrails withstand the pressure of populist and illiberal leaders.

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.