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Democracy in the Post-Communist World: Unfinished Business

Written by Fabrizio Coricelli, this article apperead on the first issue of Vol. 21 of East European Politics & Societies in February 2007. 
 
While in Central-Eastern Europe and in the Baltics democracy and market reform have been consolidated, culminating in entry to the European Union, in the states of the former Soviet Union democracy and economic reforms are still lagging, and in some cases we observe reversals in both political and economic reforms. The article identifies the risk of a “trap” of partial reforms, both political and economic. Incentives for further reforms are weak for policy makers, and at the same time opposition to reforms by citizens increases. Lack of competition and concentration of economic power lead to opposition by wealthy people, while the lack of social safety nets leads to opposition by those adversely affected by reforms. An external anchor (e.g., entry or candidacy to entry in the European Union) seems to be crucial; lacking such an anchor, the process is much harder.

 

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