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Aram Terzyan


Despite the growing body of research on authoritarian regimes, few studies address the issues of their legitimization through exaggerating external threats and constructing enemy images. Targeting the gap in the literature, this article explores the discursive strategies of ‘evilization’ and demonization of the ‘other’, with a focus on their implications for legitimating and sustaining the authoritarian regimes in post-Soviet space. Examining the cases of Russia and Azerbaijan, the qualitative, comparative analysis presented in this article uncovers a series of essential similarities between the regimes’ legitimization strategies. Findings suggest that there has been a strong tendency in both Russian and Azerbaijani discourses to ‘externalize’ major problems facing the countries and scapegoat ‘evil forces’ as their main causes. Frequent appeals to the external threats have been accompanied by a heightened emphasis on the necessity of strong presidential power, with ‘strongmen’ that are capable of withstanding the enemies’ conspiracies. Remarkably, one of the core similarities between the two regimes is their unstoppable drive towards monarchical presidencies.


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How to Cite
Terzyan , Aram. 2020. “SUSTAINING POWER THROUGH EXTERNAL THREATS: THE POWER OF ENEMY IMAGES IN RUSSIA AND AZERBAIJAN”. Journal of Liberty and International Affairs 6 (2):45-56. .
Author Biography

Aram Terzyan , Eurasia Institutes, Los Angeles, USA

I am a political scientist and I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from National Defense Research University and Yerevan State University in 2014. My areas of specialization include Russian and East European politics, foreign policy analysis and legitimation strategies. I was a Senior Lecturer of Political Science at Yerevan State University from 2014 to 2018. I have held research positions at New Europe College (Bucharest, Romania), Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic), Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium), as well as at Malmo University (Malmo, Sweden). Currently, I am a research director of Los Angeles -based Eurasia Institutes (Institute of Russia and Eastern Europe). Besides, I am affiliated with Eurasian Research and Analysis Institute, as well as with UNESCO Chair of Human Rights, Democracy, and European Studies at Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences. I have taught the following courses: Theory of International Relations, Energy Geopolitics, International Conflicts, Political Psychology, as well as Elections and Electoral Systems. I have over thirty peer-reviewed publications, along with conference and workshop papers. I have appeared on national TV news and analytical programs. I am a member of the American Political Science Association; Armenian Political Science Association, Swedish Institute Network for Future Global Leaders; Black Sea Link of New Europe College, editorial board member of Armenian Journal of Political Science, and a board member of Armenian Scientific Educational Center.