Patriotism and Entrepreneurship: is There a Crimean Consensus Among Russian Enterprises?

Andrei Yakovlev (NRU Higher School of Economics)
Alexander Libman (LMU Munich)

Abstract: Why does private business support the authoritarian rule? Most of the discussion in the literature concentrates upon the economic benefits entrepreneurs can extract from alliance with the nondemocratic states, including preferential access to rents and protection from competition. Yet it is possible that owners and managers of private companies - similarly to the general population - embrace the policies of authoritarian states because they share the main premises of the dominant ideology. "Patriotic" business can back the authoritarian government even if it does not extract direct benefits from it; at the same time, it is also possible that ideological loyalty and access to rents mutually reinforce each other as factors increasing the support of the regime. This paper uses the results of a list experiment conducted as part of a large survey of about 1,800 Russian manufacturing companies carried out in autumn 2018 in about 60 regions to single out the characteristics of this possible group of "ideologically loyal" companies. The list experiment intended to estimate the extent to which individual companies share the belief that the accession of Crimea into the Russian Federation was a major positive factor in the recent Russian development. Overall, we find a consistent pattern of features of the companies embracing the "Crimean consensus" in terms of the industry, location and ownership structure.