Region: Central and Eastern Europe

October 2006, Volume 17, Issue 4

Belarus: Learning From Defeat

The Belarusian presidential election of March 2006 appeared to be an exercise in meaninglessness, while the protests against manipulation by the Lukashenka regime seemed a study in futility. But appearances can deceive.

July 2006, Volume 17, Issue 3

Reforming Intelligence: Russia’s Failure

Much like other institutions in post-Soviet Russia, the intelligence and security services have yet to make a transition to real democratic control, and remain infused with the authoritarian tendencies of their Soviet predecessors.

April 2006, Volume 17, Issue 2

What Really Happened in Kyrgyzstan?

The March 2005 “Tulip Revolution” that toppled President Askar Akeyev is often grouped with the “color revolutions” in Georgia and Ukraine, but in many ways the Kyrgyz case was unique.

April 2006, Volume 17, Issue 2

Azerbaijan’s Frustrating Elections

The 2005 elections were marked by massive fraud, but the democratic world mostly looked the other way. Azerbaijani society remains receptive to democracy, but the regime clearly has other plans—and will soon have massive oil wealth to fund them.

January 2006, Volume 17, Issue 1

Russia: Authoritarianism Without Authority

Vladimir Putin has pulled the plug on democracy in Russia in an effort to strengthen the authority of the central state. But a look at Russian federal relations shows that the state is growing weaker rather than stronger.

Free

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Transitions from Postcommunism

The years since 2000 have seen a surprising new wave of democratic breakthroughs in postcommunist lands as varied as Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine. Can we identify any factors common to each case?

April 2005, Volume 16, Issue 2

The End of Postcommunism in Romania

The 2004 elections saw the defeat of the former communists who ruled Romania for most of the period since the fall of communism. Will the country's new, democratic, and pro-European government be able to break with the semi-authoritarian habits of its postcommunist predecessors?

July 2004, Volume 15, Issue 3

Russian Democracy in Eclipse: What the Polls Tell Us

The first flush of democratic hopes has faded, as the recent elections have emphasized. But the democratic idea has a foothold, and the presidential machine that swept those elections will not have an easy time retaining its sway.

April 2004, Volume 15, Issue 2

Georgia’s Rose Revolution

Events last November confouned expectations set by the failure of democratization in Russia and other ex-Soviet republics, and should prompt new reflections on how fragile openings to democacy may be sustained and widened.

January 2004, Volume 15, Issue 1

Books in Review: Putin’s Deep Freeze

A review of Popular Choice and Managed Democracy: The Russian Elections of 1999 and 2000 by Timothy J. Colton and Michael McFaul; Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State by David Satter; and Putin's Russia by Lilia Shevtsova.

October 2003, Volume 14, Issue 4

What Europe Means for Poland

The famed former dissident reflects on the lessons learned from Poland’s transformation, the anxieties that continue to beset his country, and the hopes and fears that attend its return to Europe.

October 2002, Volume 13, Issue 4

Pluralism by Default in Moldova

During the 1990s, politics in the small post-Soviet state of Moldova was more competitive than anyone would have expected. Yet there was less to this surprising pluralism than met the eye.

October 2002, Volume 13, Issue 4

Dark Days in Belarus

Why did Belarusians return dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka to power in September 2001? Could a better-managed opposition campaign have made a difference?

October 2002, Volume 13, Issue 4

Post-Election Blues in Ukraine

In March 2002, three-fifths of Ukraine’s voters chose a party or coalition opposed to the overbearing presidential apparatus of Leonid Kuchma, but the antipresidential forces found themselves frozen out in the new parliament.

April 2002, Volume 13, Issue 2

Bulgaria’s Royal Elections

Last year, Bulgarians elected their newly returned former king as prime minister and then, in a shocking upset,ousted their incumbent president. What do these results portend for the future of Bulgarian democracy?

January 2002, Volume 13, Issue 1

Slovenia’s Smooth Transition

The story of this small former Yugoslav republic offers an example of how-if circumstances are right-it may be possible for a country to reform its way out of communism and into parliamentary democracy and a market economy.

January 2002, Volume 13, Issue 1

The Weakness of Postcommunist Civil Society

Recent studies suggest that civil society in the postcommunist countries is significantly weaker than in other types of democracies, old or new. Can this legacy of communism be overcome? If not, what are the implications for democracy?

July 2001, Volume 12, Issue 3

History and Memory: The Revolutions of 1989-91

There has been surprisingly little celebration of the tenth anniversary of the revolutions that brought down communism. The exaggerated hopes of the time have given way to disillusionment, but the real achievements of many of the postcommunist countries should not be discounted.

July 2001, Volume 12, Issue 3

Serbia’s Prudent Revolution

A bloodless revolution toppled the corruption-ridden 13-year-old regime of Slobodan Milosevic and brought to power a team led by committed democrats. Although strains exist within the new 18-party ruling coalition, there are strong reasons for it to hold together during the current period of transition.

July 2001, Volume 12, Issue 3

Romania’s Politics of Dejection

The elections of 2000 reflected the profound disillusionment of the Romanian electorate with the performance of the centrist government of the past four years, rather than a turn away from democracy itself.

October 2000, Volume 11, Issue 4

Monitoring the Vote in Croatia

A nongovernmental organization, Citizens Organized to Monitor Voting (GONG), helped ensure the transparency of Croatia’s recent elections.

July 2000, Volume 11, Issue 3

Russia Under Putin: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Does the election of Vladimir Putin as Russia’s president represent a fundamental turn away from democracy or merely a temporary setback? Although Putin’s apparent indifference to democracy is worrisome, it would be premature to conclude that democracy is lost in Russia.

April 2000, Volume 11, Issue 2

Eastern Europe: The International Context

Nowhere else has the impact of international factors on democratization been as apparent as in Central and Eastern Europe. Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures is one particularly strong democratizing force.

April 2000, Volume 11, Issue 2

Women in East European Parliaments

A major question in the consolidation of Eastern Europe’s new democracies is whether women will participate fully in the political process. One key indicator is the representation of women in the region’s parliaments.

Democracy after Communism

Is the challenge of building and consolidating democracy under postcommunist conditions unique, or can one apply lessons learned from other new democracies? The essays collected in this volume explore these questions, while tracing how the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have fared in the decade following the fall of communism.