Description : This text aims to sketch some of the challenging issues of the attitudinal dimension of system changes. It provides facts and figures on the progress of democratization in Central and Eastern Europe.
Description : Our understanding of the dynamics of Communist systems was substantially improved by taking political culture into account. But how much does the concept of political culture add to our empirical understanding of post-Communist Russia? The book's contributors engage with theoretical debates between political culture and competing 'rational choice' and institutionalist approaches to post-Soviet politics, and provide illustrative empirical studies of civic participation, views of national identity, the Russian criminal justice system and political violence.
Description : The nonviolent revolution of Albania reinforced the belief in the West that democracy is an exportable good if Western democracies implement a right combination of pressure and aid in collaboration with internal political actors. Western pressure, coupled with technical and economic assistance was domestically understood as a conditio sine qua non for the successful implementation of the first phase of democratic reforms. However, efforts to establish a democracy in Albania raised the following question. Will the framing of the appropriate constitution and economic system - building democratic institutions and developing positive attitudes towards them - take place among Albanians through ongoing familiarization? Accordingly, the failure of the 1994 referendum on the new constitution, the overnight changes of the 1998 constitution in 2008 and the permanent stagnant economy strengthened the belief among Albanians that a democratic constitution and a functioning market economy cannot flourish if they are not rooted in an environment pervaded by a democratic culture. Furthermore, if democracy has to persist and become consolidated, it is not enough just to skillfully engineer institutions without taking into account the effect of political culture. Ultimately, this book attempts to show that the efforts made by the Western countries to export democracy to Albania and to promote consolidation through political tools generalized from other alien realities, without taking into consideration Albania’s internal political culture values, have turned out to be in the long run a ‘political abortion’. On the other hand, this book should be construed neither as a critique of democracy nor as a defense of it; it is also not a balance sheet of the success or failure of democracy and democratization processes in Albania, but rather it aims at presenting an alternative approach to democratic consolidation through Albania's authentic cultural heritage.
Description : Taking a unique qualitative approach to studying Russian political culture, this book presents an in-depth analysis of the attitudes and activities of residents in two provincial capitals, Syktyvkar and Kirov. It shows evidence of underlying democracy in popular opinions. It also finds an authoritarian side that is being strengthened by the ongoing crisis of Russia's transition. In entering a controversial subject area, the author directs a critical eye toward the contemporary research on Russian political culture.
Description : The last decade of the 20th century saw radical changes in Eastern Europe and the former USSR. Most of these countries made a transition from totalitarianism or authoritarianism to democracy and from central planning to a market economy. Adding to the latter, a number of national entities gained their independence after the disintegration of the federative states of the USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. Many recent studies have focused on these double, in some cases triple transitions, and scholars from different fields analyzed the so-called "1989 Revolution" from different perspectives. Rather less scholarly attention has been paid to the future of post-communist constitutions and prospects for constitutionalism in these countries. The main questions dealt with throughout this study can be formulated as follows: Will liberal democratic constitutionalism take root in these countries? Will new constitutions in Eastern Europe and the former USSR perish or survive? This study also aims at contributing to the construction of a general constitutional theory by studying the causes and dynamics of constitutional change in general. Such constitutional change is not only on the East European, but also on the West European agenda. The purpose of this study is not to introduce a general theory about constitutional in/stability, but studying post-communist constitutions will help us to understand the causes and dynamics of constitutional change from a broader perspective.
Description : The most comprehensive study of Romanian politics ever published abroad, this volume represents an effort to collect and analyze data on the complex problems of Romania's journey from sultanistic national communism to a yet-unreached democratic government.
Description : In recent years, the Russian Orthodox Church has become a more prominent part of post-Soviet Russia. A number of assumptions exist regarding the Church’s relationship with the Russian state: that the Church has always been dominated by Russia’s secular elites; that the clerics have not sufficiently fought this domination and occasionally failed to act in the Church’s best interest; and that the Church was turned into a Soviet institution during the twentieth century. This book challenges these assumptions. It demonstrates that church-state relations in post-communist Russia can be seen in a much more differentiated way, and that the church is not subservient, very much having its own agenda. Yet at the same time it is sharing the state’s, and Russian society’s nationalist vision. The book analyses the Russian Orthodox Church’s political culture, focusing on the Putin and Medvedev eras from 2000. It examines the upper echelons of the Moscow Patriarchate in relation to the governing elite and to Russian public opinion, explores the role of the church in the formation of state religious policy, and the church’s role within the Russian military. It discusses how the Moscow Patriarchate is asserting itself in former Soviet republics outside Russia, especially in Estonia, Ukraine and Belarus. It concludes by re-emphasising that, although the church often mirrors the Kremlin’s political preferences, it most definitely acts independently.
Description : Eastern Europe addresses the emergence of uncertain pluralism in the region following the disintegration of the communist regimes in 1989. Taking a broad historical approach, the volume considers issues and challenges that have marked Eastern Europe from 1939 through World War II and the era of socialism, up to the present. Eight comprehensive country studies are augmented by detailed assessments of economic developments, security issues, religious currents, cultural policies, and gender relations in the region.
Description : In Russian politics reliable information is scarce, formal relations are of relatively little significance, and things are seldom what they seem. Applying an original theory of political language to narratives taken from interviews with 34 of Russia's leading political figures, Michael Urban explores the ways in which political actors construct themselves with words. By tracing individual narratives back to the discourses available to speakers, he identifies what can and cannot be intelligibly said within the bounds of the country's political culture, and then documents how elites rely on the personal elements of political discourse at the expense of those addressed to the political community. Urban shows that this discursive orientation is congruent with social relations prevailing in Russia and helps to account for the fact that, despite two revolutions proclaiming democracy in the last century, Russia remains an authoritarian state.