Explaining Political Regime Diversity in Post-Communist States: An Evaluation and Critique of Current Theories
100 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2010
Date Written: April 30, 2007
This study seeks to assess theories of post-communist political regime diversity. Since 1989 tens of former communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe and in former Soviet Union developed into a rainbow of regimes, from stable democracies to stable autocracies. Four major theoretical approaches try explaining this diversity by focusing respectively on legacy, institutional choices, political leadership, and external influence. These approaches are tested to sample of three post-communist countries representing different political trajectories, democracy, authoritarianism, and intermediate regime. The findings show that none of these approaches comprehensively explains this diversity. “Unpacking” these approaches and combining some elements across them however provides a good starting point for understanding the problem. Designing particular political institutions like electoral system and strong presidential office may produce democratic or authoritarian trends. Particular legacies like lack of shared public identity between rulers and ruled can interfere and, despite institutional preconditions, keep post-communist countries in intermediate position.
Keywords: postcommunism, communism, europe, regime diversity
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation