Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Democratization Without Decommunization in the Balkans

Democratization Without Decommunization in the Balkans


Since recent U.S.-led democratization projects having led in some cases to the election of Islamist movements, the old democratic theory that structural preconditions are key determinants of successful democratization has apparently been bolstered. This article examines the democratization experience in postcommunist Europe to assess which matters more, a society’s “givens” favoring democracy or the institutional imports that a democracy-minded elite can borrow. In particular, it compares the experience of the Southeast Europe countries, which presented poor prerequisites for successful democratization and yet in at least two cases (Romania and Bulgaria) are far along on the path to democratization to the experience of Central Europe and the former Soviet Union as a whole.

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