The author elaborates that in the transition from a previous political system into a liberal democracy, there is an ever-present threat of the encroachment of authoritarianism into the democratization agenda. This chapter argues that the conditions for “authoritarian syndrome” can be found in the form that democratization takes and in the culture of a given transitional state. The focus here is on the latter and on the social, political, and economic dynamics that can lead a transitional society to reject democratization. Russia, a transitional state where echoes of authoritarianism and great power aspirations are always on the surface of politics, is presented as a case study.
Russia is a country of great complexity—eighty-nine subject regions, ethnic diversity, economic variance across regions, the power struggle of Moscow versus the regions—and multiple realities—urban versus rural, rich versus poor, and cosmopolitan versus provincial, just to name a few. Fragmented Space in the Russian Federation explores Russia's complexity and the meanings of the country's internal borders, the future of its agricultural spaces, the development of its political parties, and the effect of its federal organization.
The contributors examine stratification, citizenship, federalization, democratization, the politics of culture and identity, and globalization. These essays show how political leaders within Russia and scholars and policymakers from outside must accept the country's complexity and view uncertainty as a positive development rather than a liability. The authors explore how Russian experience can enhance theory political science, sociology, geography, and economics.
Various forms of dictatorship have been a context in which SBS have been developing through most of the 20th century. Nazi and fascist regimes in Europe, Communist single-party states, military juntas in Latin America and elsewhere in the post-colonial world accompanied the crisis of tradition and development of modernity as an alternative to liberal democracy. Dictatorships have thoroughly affected the history of SBS pursuing a policy of repression and control and, sometimes, encouraging a growth of various social science disciplines. The lack of intellectual and institutional autonomy is generally endured, though to different degrees and in different aspects, by SBS under dictatorship.
Miscommunicating Social Change analyzes the discourses of three social movements and the alternative media associated with them, revealing that the Enlightenment narrative, though widely critiqued in academia, remains the dominant way of conceptualizing social change in the name of democratization in the post-Soviet terrain. The main argument of this book is that the “progressive” imaginary, which envisages progress in the unidirectional terms of catching up with the “more advanced” Western condition, is inherently anti-democratic and deeply antagonistic. Instead of fostering an inclusive democratic process in which all strata of populations holding different views are involved, it draws solid dividing frontiers between “progressive” and “retrograde” forces, deepening existing antagonisms and provoking new ones; it also naturalizes the hierarchies of the global neocolonial/neoliberal power of the West. Using case studies of the “White Ribbons” social movement for fair elections in Russia (2012), the Ukrainian Euromaidan (2013–2014), and anti-corruption protests in Russia organized by Alexei Navalny (2017) and drawing on the theories of Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, and Nico Carpetntier, this book shows how “progressive” articulations by the social movements under consideration ended up undermining the basis of the democratic public sphere through the closure of democratic space.
The purpose of the Mythologies of Capitalism and the End of the Soviet Project is to show that in order to understand popular disillusionment with democratization, liberalization, and other transformations associated with the attempts of non-Western societies to appropriate the ideas of Western modernity, one must consider how these ideas are mythologized in the course of such appropriations. Olga Baysha argues that the seeds of post-revolutionary frustration should be sought in pre-revolutionary discourses on democracy, liberalism, and other concepts of Western modernity that are produced outside local contexts and introduced through the channels of global communication and interpretations of politicians, activists, and experts
The article analyzes results of political development of post-Communist countries. It looks at various indices and quantitative measurements of modernization, democratization and state capacity, such as Bertelsmann Transformation Index, The Economist Democracy index, etc. This analysis allows the author to assert correlation between success of a country in building market economy and democratization on one hand, and attaining higher state capacity, on the other. The article further proceeds to discuss evolution of political regimes, electoral systems, effects in changes in the regimes and systems, as well as the current phase of development of political parties’ systems. In most cases the article compares and contrasts trends characteristic of respectively eastern and western parts of the post-Communist space. The article also analyzes impact of external (the aspiration to join the European family of nations) and internal factors on the choice of transformation strategies at different phases of post-Communist developement Certain attention is paid to the phenomenon of retraditionalization which is observed both in eastern and western parts of the postcommunist space. The last sub-chapter of the article constitutes a brief case-study which reveals correlation between the level of development and institutional maturity of the political parties’ system and overall progress of a given country in democratization. The author concludes by asserting that the term of “post-Communist countries” did not exhaust its validity to this day for comparative political studies because in most of these countries transformation processes are still underway.