Political Cycles in Media Harassment
Abstract: This paper explores the political economy of media harassment in Russia. We use a unique monthly dataset on the incidents of media harassment in Russian cities between 2004 and 2017 to establish real political cycles driven by local elections. We find that harassment incidents are 54% more likely to occur during the two months before a local election - a period that coincides with the official period of the electoral campaign. The effect differs with respect to the type of local election: more important elections produce bigger cycles.