Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Idalia Bastiaens, Ph.D.


This thesis demonstrates how different models of authoritarianism rely on surveillance technology as a part of the state’s capacity. Specifically, I look at the technology based mechanisms employed by China and Russia in their efforts to regulate their population and ensure their durability based on their historical ideology of surveillance. In the comparison of the two states, I demonstrate how the differences in the scope of their efforts reflects China’s long term authoritarian stability in contrast with Russia’s political turbulence. The two regimes have similar historical origins, nontax revenue structures, and political institutions, whereas they differ in their state’s capacity shown by the extent of their surveillance. State capacity is the state’s ability to effectively govern its citizens and territory. The CCP’s development and state-led production of new technology to monitor its citizens in the digital era has allowed it greater control over the population. Russia is closely following China’s lead and combines Soviet era surveillance techniques with the digital tools of the twenty-first century, and is beginning to see similar results of a compliant citizenry. Ultimately, this thesis argues that an authoritarian regime will utilize surveillance technology to enhance its control over a nation and the extent of the regime’s surveillance is reflective of the regime’s durability.