The Party’s Command: Explaining the Near Absence of Military Coups in Communist Countries


Why are military coups almost nonexistent in communist countries, despite the fact that democratic, and authoritarian regimes in the developing world have repeatedly demonstrated serious vulnerability to such way of seizing power? Although there is an abundance of scholarly works that concentrated on explaining the nature of military coups, none have delivered a comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon identified above. This paper provides a broader examination of military coups by way of case studies, as well as the creation of a new dataset on civil-military relations in communist party-states utilizing both primary and secondary sources. I identify exceptional patterns in the command structure of communist armies that sets them apart from armed forces in other types of political regimes. Specifically, I argue that the military command structure in communist states best explains the lack of coups when compared to other coup-prone countries with similar political, social, and economic characteristics. With a combination of qualitative and quantitative data, I believe my research results contribute to the field of political science by filling a notable void in the study of military coups and regime types.

Author Information
Zi Yang, Georgetown University, USA

Paper Information
Conference: ACSS2015
Stream: Politics

This paper is part of the ACSS2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by amp21