This project initially began as research into Russia’s strong centralized state, it evolved into a comparative analysis of Russia’s hybrid regime with that of Kazakhstan and Hungary. My research consisted of analysis of scholarly articles and books, both those which specialized on these countries individually and those that focused on authoritarianism more broadly. Alongside some brief data analysis of democratic indices such as Freedom House, Polity-IV and V-Dem, I compared the levels of authoritarianism in these three countries in order to better understand where Russia exists on the geopolitical spectrum of hybrid regimes. By the end of my research experience, I was able to better understand the political systems of Russia, Kazakhstan and Hungary, including the aspects that differentiate them from one another and those which bring them together.
My research experience first helped me to improve my analytical skills, but more importantly helped me to translate my analysis into a cohesive and understandable argument. In this I was able to gain skills that will be transferable to my entire undergraduate career, but also be invaluable in pursuing higher degrees. This research project allowed me to build upon the knowledge that I gained in my Russian Politics class last semester, and further understand the political system which guides the actions taken by the Kremlin in this present. Moreover, this project contributed to my academic experience as a prospective political science major, as I was able to learn more about the democracies, or lack thereof, which currently exist across the world. Most importantly, this project helped me to discover my passion for democracy and desire to work to preserve it in the future.