Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

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Burkhardt, Fabian

Fabian Burkhardt, M.A.



National Research University – Higher School of Economics
Institute for Industrial and Market Studies
Shabolovka Str., bldg. 9
119049, Moscow, 28/11

Website: Webprofile (HSE)

Doctoral project

Der Präsident und Machtteilung in der Russischen Föderation: eine Institution im Wandel — abgeschlossen

The Presidency and Power Sharing in the Russian Federation: A Study of Institutional Change — completed

The Ph.D. dissertation analyses the central institution of the Russian political system - the presidency. Being epistemologically grounded in historical institutionalism, three aspects are analysed with regard to horizontal and vertical power sharing in the period between 1993 - 2012: institutional design, gradual institutional change as well as the effect of institutional change on other actors, institutions and processes. Whereas in the realm of comparative politics presidential power, and therefore its change, is conceived of mostly on the constitutional level, area studies often neglect formal institutions, although they, even in regimes with a high degree of informality, influence outcomes. The following key questions are being tackled in the dissertation: How can abrupt (like with the collapse of the Soviet Union) as well as gradual, dynamic institutional change of the formal, the factual as well as the informal presidential power (over a longer period of time with superficial continuity) be adequately described and explained, what kind of actors drive change? What is the role of ideas that actors hold, in how far are these ideas imported from the West and fitted to the local context or, respectively consciously repudiated? What role do formal institutions play in regimes that are to a large extent moulded by informality like the Russian Federation, can we speak of an “informal institutionalization”? To answer these central questions and to approach the three aspects of institutional design, change and the effects of change, a qualitative case study design is applied for comparisons both on a longitudinal as well as on the subnational level.

Curriculum Vitae

Born 1984 in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany; studied Russian and English, law, political science and Russian studies in Heidelberg, St. Petersburg, Hagen and London. From April 2012 to November 2013 research fellow at Geschwister-Scholl-Institute for Political Science, LMU Munich, in the research network “Institutions and institutional change in post-socialism (KomPost). Since November 2013 research fellow and PhD candidate at the Graduate School for East and South East European Studies. Since November 2013 also a member of the international research network “Constitutional politics in the post-socialist states in Central and Eastern Europe (case study on Belarus). Travel and research grants: Landestiftung Baden-Württemberg, DAAD, KomPost and Open Society Foundation. Coordinator of German-Polish-Russian youth fora for DRJUG - Alumni Association of the German-Russian Youth Parliament e.V.; Curator of the travelling exhibition “Armenians and the war 1941 - 1945: Remembering war captivity, forced labour and the life thereafter.”


Journal articles and book chapters

Constitutional politics in Belarus, in: A. Fruhstorfer/M. Hein (Hg.): Constitutional Politics in Central and Eastern Europe. Between Stability and Change, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2016, pp. 463-493.

Ordnung der Macht. Die Generation Anton Wainos und Russlands techno-bürokratischer Autoritarismus, in: Russland-Analysen Nr. 322, 2016-10-07, pp. 13-19. URL:

„Securitization“ von Geschichte? Russlands Archivagentur Rosarchiv in der Präsidentenvertikale, in: Erinnerungskulturen. Erinnerung und Geschichtspolitik im östlichen und südöstlichen Europa (Weblog of the Graduate School), 2016-04-30. URL:

Concepts of the Nation and Legitimation in Belarus, in: M. Brusis/J. Ahrens/M. Schulze Wessel (Hg.): Politics and Legitimacy in Post‐Soviet Eurasia, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, pp. 148-171.

Gesetze wie heiße Piroggen – Geschichtspolitik und legislative Aktivität in der ukrainischen Rada, in: Erinnerungskulturen. Erinnerung und Geschichtspolitik im östlichen und südöstlichen Europa (Weblog of the Graduate School), 2015-06-10. URL:

Externe Einflüsse auf den ukrainischen Reformprozess: Wer bekommt was, wann und wie? In: Ukraine-Analysen Nr. 148, 2015-03-24, pp. 21-24. URL:

Die Ukraine-Krise in den deutschen Talkshows, in: Ukraine-Analysen Nr. 135, 2014-06-24, pp. 10-19. URL:

Neopatrimonializacija vmesto modernizacii: politika Germanii v otnošenii Rossii i «otkat». [Forum novejshej vostočno-evropejskoj istorii i kul’tury], in: Russkoe izdanie № 2 (2013), pp. 387-399.

Neopatrimonialisierung statt Modernisierung. Deutsche Russlandpolitik plus russischer Otkat, in: OSTEUROPA 63, 8/2013, pp. 95-106.

Further publications

Essays and smaller articles e.g. for,,,,,,,,,,

Presentations (selected)


"The institutional presidency and the power vertical: regime stabilization by institutionalization of the presidential administration in the Russian Federation 1994-2012" (First German-Russian Workshop on Institutional Change „Institutional Reform in Post-Communist States: Obstacles, Resistance, Failures“, Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, October 2016).

"Measuring subconstitutional change of presidential power in the Russian Federation 1994-2012" (ECPR General Conference, Prague, September 2016).

"Presidential power and agenda-setting in the Russian Federation: The presidential address to the Federal Assembly 1994-2012" (Comparative Presidentialism seminar on paraconstitutional practices and informal institutions, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, February 2016).


"Presidential power and institutional change in the Russian federation: accumulation, deinstitutionalization or signaling?" (Kolloquium der Forschungsstelle Osteuropa Bremen, November 2015).

"Presidential power and institutional change in the Russian Federation" (BISA PGN Annual Conference, King’s College London, March 2015).


"Constructing the nation - and its crisis? On the use of nationalist and crisis discourses in post-Soviet Belarus and Kyrgyzstan" (Ko-Autor des Beitrags, der von Philipp Lottholz vorgestellt wurde auf der Konferenz "Nationalist Responses to Economic and Political Crises", Nationalism Studies Pogram at the Central European University (CEU) and the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) Central European University, Budapest, June 2014).

"Regime Durability and Legitimacy: The Consolidation of National Identity in Belarus" (The association for the Study of Nationalities 2014 World Convention. New York, Columbia University, Harriman Institute, February 2014).

"Presidential power and centre-periphery relations in Russia 1991-2012: Does institutional change have an effect on the recruitment of presidential representatives?" (KomPost-Workshop Elite Networks in Russia and Ukraine - Change, Structures and Political Role, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin, February 2014).


"Neopatrimonialisation instead of modernisation. Germany’s policy towards Russia plus Russian otkat" (Research seminar "German - Russian relations in a Wider Europe: Interdisciplinary Facets", Osteuropa-Institut der Freien Universität Berlin, Berlin, November 2013).

"Executive-Legislative Relations in the Russian Constitutional Discourse: The Making of non-Western Constitutionalism" (with Petra Stykow, KomPost-Workshop, Munich, March 2013).


"Belarus – ein Staat ohne Nation, aber mit zwei nationalen Identitäten?" (20. JOE-Tagung: Jenseits der Transformation, Tutzing, Akademie für politische Bildung, June 2012).


"Medvedev's conservative modernization. A hegemonic discourse analysis" (Internationale Konferenz für Nachwuchswissenschaftler, Fakultät für Internationale Beziehungen, Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia, December 2011).