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External Actors and Regime Change: How Post-communism Transformed Comparative Politics

Vachudova, Milada Anna (2015) External Actors and Regime Change: How Post-communism Transformed Comparative Politics. [Conference Proceedings] (Submitted)

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    Introduction: The fall of communism was destined to open up new avenues of research in comparative politics as East European states embarked on regime change on the world’s most densely institutionalized continent, creating complex puzzles about the relative importance of domestic and external factors in explaining policy and regime outcomes over time. Myriad external actors such as transnational non-governmental organizations, private foundations, governments and international organizations moved in to lend a hand in shifting these states away from communism, many sharing the broad goal of laying the foundations for liberal democracy. And this seemed like a good fit: The Western model of liberal democracy, rule of law, and market capitalism had been internalized by dissidents in key states well before 1989. The revolutions in East Central Europe were about emulating and joining the West. In a handful of states these were extraordinary, joyful moments of regime change, with the leitmotif of the “return to Europe” carrying the day. But even though the great majority of communist states and their successors were building new forms of authoritarianism even as they dismantled communism, and even though in the disintegrating Yugoslavia these new forms of authoritarianism were twinned with civil war, Western actors expected something else: that many post-communist states could and would travel the road to liberal democracy, albeit at different speeds and with different amounts of Western help. The expectation proved right only for a limited number of cases, but at least competitive elections became the norm, planting the seed for different kinds of electoral breakthroughs, however ephemeral, in the future.

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    Item Type: Conference Proceedings
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > general
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2015 (14th), March 4-7, 2015
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2018 15:03
    Number of Pages: 15
    Last Modified: 06 Mar 2018 15:03

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