As demonstrated by current events in Tunisia and Egypt, oppressive regimes are rarely immune to their citizens’ desire for democratic government. Of course, desire is always tempered by reality; therefore how democratic demands are made manifest is a critical source of study for both political scientists and foreign policy makers. What issues and consequences surround the fall of a government, what type of regime replaces it, and to what extent are these efforts successful?
Judging from some of the titles of recent books on Russia—for example, Richard Sakwa's The Crisis of Russian Democracy, Gulnaz Sharafutdinova's Political Consequences of Crony Capitalism inside Russia, and Tom Remington's The Politics of Inequality in Russia—all is not well 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Corruption abounds, and state institutions are weak where they should be strong or strong where they should be weak.
This volume brings together a distinguished group of scholars working on Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to examine in depth three waves of democratic change that took place in eleven different former Communist nations. Its essays draw important conclusions about the rise, development, and breakdown of both democracy and dictatorship in each country and together provide a rich comparative perspective on the post-Communist world.
Given the dramatic change in Russia's economic circumstances a year after Medvedev's ascendancy to president and Putin's move to the office of prime minister, now is a particularly appropriate time to evaluate the political causes and effects of Russia's latest economic troubles. This article surveys Putin's economic legacy in Russi and argues that despite eight years of rapid growth, by the first quarter of 2009, Russia became caught in the same cycle of problems that it suffered in the 1990's when growth was negative, unemployment and inflation were high, and oil export prices were low.
Before the democracy promotion efforts of Iraq or Afghanistan in the early 21st century, there was the Soviet Union in the late 20th century. For much longer, and with much greater capacity than Saddam Hussein’s regime or the Taliban, the Soviet regime threatened the United States. The destruction of the Soviet regime and the construction of a pro-Western, democratic regime in its place, therefore, was a major objective of American foreign policy. Some presidents pursued this goal more vigorously than others: Nixon cared less, Reagan rather more.
Why do new, democratizing states often find it so difficult to actually govern? Why do they so often fail to provide their beleaguered populations with better access to public goods and services? Using original and unusual data, this book uses post-communist Russia as a case in examining what the author calls this broader "weak state syndrome" in many developing countries.
When Vladimir Putin was elected President of Russia in March 2000, the country bequeathed to him by his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, was an unconsolidated, often disorderly and raucous electoral democracy. Gradually though, the Russian political system under Putin came to be described as first "managed democracy" then "illiberal democracy" or "delegated democracy" and finally, by 2005, a non-democracy.
This collection of essays is the result of a conference convened at Princeton University marking the ten year anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Some of the best minds in post-Soviet studies focused on the task of identifying in what ways the post-communist experience with transition has confirmed or confounded conventional theories of political and economic development. The result is a rich array of essays examining vital aspects of the transitional decade following the Soviet collapse and the comparative lessons learned.
This book analyzes a crucial aspect of one of the great dramas of modern times -- the reconstitution of the Russian polity and economy after more than 70 years of communist rule. This is the first book to look comprehensively and systematically at Russia's democratic transition at the local level. Its goal is to explain why some of the new political institutions in the Russian provinces weathered the monumental changes of the early 1990s better than others.