Presentation: Preemnik (successor) as a mode of political turnover in contemporary world: norm or deviation?

Presentation: Preemnik (successor) as a mode of political turnover in contemporary world: norm or deviation?

The Centre for Comparative History and Political Studies is happy to share the materials from the open seminar that took place the 4th of April on a new theoretical approach to the phenomenon of political succession suggested by Petr Panov and his colleagues. Professor Panov presented the preliminary results of the collaborative research project “The Institution of Preemnik: a model of power reproduction and perspectives for modernisation in contemporary world”.

The last three cases of personal handover of political power among the top Russian leaders – in 2000, 2008 and 2012 – are often qualified and conceptualized through the term preemnik. Obviously, the sense of this term in Russian discourse cannot be reduced to the simple meaning of successor as a next president or succession of policy. This rather emphasizes the very process of political handover. In the latter sense this term is widely spread all over the world which provides grounds to speak of preemniks as a specific mode of political turnover or power self-reproduction.

This mode is characterized by following features:

  1. The presence of a subject that makes key political decisions regarding future candidature of president; when masses even taking part in electoral procedure, merely approve earlier decision;
  2. THe presence of a relative consensus concerning candidature within the elite group

As a result of the comparative analysis of various practices of power transmission and self-reproduction allows us to identify multiple cases of preemniks (successors) in post-Soviet countries, Latin America and Africa. At the same time, it should be noted that within the model there is still a considerable variation. Drawing upon this variety of preemniks we have delineated the typical forms of succession, including the “ideal type” and its deviations. What is remarkable is that over the last two-three decades the number of cases following our model has dramatically increased. What might account for it? Does it mean that preemniks are becoming a norm in contemporary politics?

Nevertheless, in majority of countries this type of succession has not yet turned into an established practice of power reproduction as opposed to Mexico and its prominent practice of dedazo. What prevent this model from institutionalization as a dominant practice? Why in some cases the hard task to transfer political power suddenly fails? What are the consequences of this type of political power reproduction?


Petr Panov – Ph.D. in Poltical Science, Professor of Political sciences at the Perm State National Research University, member of Academic council, chair of the research committee on political institutions (Russian Political Science Association), member of the Editorial Board of the Russian Journal Political Science (Polticheskaya Nauka).