A Theoretical Framework for Understanding (Lack of) Change in Post-Soviet Countries: from Democratic Transition to Rule Persistence
Authors: Amiran KAVADZE, Tina KAVADZE, Ryhor NIZHNIKAU
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Since collapse of communism, some theoretical and empirical knowledge has been accumulated which make it possible to elaborate certain observations over the processes of post-Communist transformation in post-Soviet countries. Despite the heavy criticism and uncovered fallacies of transitology in the academic literature, its ideas on sources of change based on neoliberal presumptions of linearity of change sustain in policy-making and academic circles, while many countries that supposedly embarked on the path of democratic transition towards this “endpoint” have stalled in their progress. To address this issue, in this paper we highlight that the transformation or persistence of rules depends on a number of interdependent factors. To assess the degree of transformation or persistence of rules, first it is pointed at the prevalence of politics over economy and hazardous impact of homogenization attitudes towards institutional change. Second, four interrelated issues are particularly highlighted as necessary factors for understanding the prospect and potential sustainability of change in the region: the level of inclusiveness of political institutions (political democracy), development of institutions and their capacities to regulate, level of inclusiveness of economic institutions (market economy) and strength of civil society and external factors, such as the ongoing EU-Russia competition in the case of the post-soviet countries.