Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/10072
Democratic transition in post-Soviet Europe: The incomplete process of democratization in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova
This thesis examines the democratization process in three former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova in the twenty years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. These countries had limited experience with independence and democracy when they were forced to go through a regime change from Communism to a new kind of rule. The challenge was to create a democratic political system but Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova have all failed to do so in their post-Soviet transitional paths. A consolidated democracy has not been established in any of the countries but why have these countries failed to democratize? In the thesis, five factors are introduced separately within each country which have arguably contributed the most to the incomplete process of democratization. They are political parties, political leadership, civil society, external actors and nation-building. In the end, each factor is analyzed according to its influence on democratization in each country.
Results show that in Ukraine democratization has failed due to the regionalization of political power which has led to a political system of oligarchs whose main interest is to serve
their own needs. In Belarus, the main cause of the lack of democratization is the introduction of the strong presidency which has resulted in a sultanistic regime where the president has power over every aspect of the political system. Moldova’s lack of democratization is derived from two factors; the ethnic and nation-building problems the Moldovan government has had
to focus on and the authoritarian governance of the Communist elite.