This is a comparative study of political freedom in the post-soviet successor states with a structural approach.
The Post-soviet space spans from democraticly consolidated Baltic states to sultanistic Central-Asian states, and from authoritarian Belarus with unlimited presidential powers to semi-democratic, pluralistic Ukraine. Ukraine and Georgia have been experiencing so-called “colour revolutions” while Russia and Armenia seems to be in a “autoritarian backlash”.
What determined their different path, if they all departed in 1991 from the same political unit? Because democratisation came instantly and simultaneously to all of the 15 former Soviet republics, the former soviet union republics (from now on called FSU) represent one is one of the worlds most unique and largest labs to compare the political development of new-born democracies, and analyze the process of liberalization. By this study I hope to shed light on precondition for political liberalization in the former Soviet Union, with possible general implications also for other regions in transit to liberal democracy.
The quest is interesting for scholars trying to understand what creates and what deteriorates democracies and political freedom, but also interesting for all foreign policy makers and non-governmental groups inside or outside the FSU whose aim to spread a liberal democracy.
My two research questions are: Can the IPR, socioeconomic development and fragmentation of elites be preconditions explain the variation of political freedom in the post-soviet space? If yes, how can the IPR, socioeconomic development and fragmentation of elites be preconditions explain the variation of political freedom in the post-soviet space?
My suggested model has three basic variables with these operationalisation(Dependent D)Variation of political freedom in FSU Freedom Scale 7 - 1 (Independent A) Power resource distribution IPR - Index of Power Resources(Independent B) Socioeconomic development level HDI - Human Development Report (Independent C) Elite fragmentation Nr. of effective president candidates previous. election
The theory of independent variable A assumes that higher distribution of economical and intellectual resources, like income, property and education in society will influence the strength of a political freedom: the less concentrated economic and intellectual resources are on few hands, the more freedom persists. Independent variable B is a theory of socioeconomic development. The basic assumption of the theory is that the more well-to-do (educated, healthy and wealthy) a population is, the more political freedom. Independent variable C is the theory of fragmented elites. The basic assumption of this theory is that a when political power is distributed, when there is real competition for governmental power, - a fragmented elite, - prospects improve for the existence for the civil and political rights.
The paper draws on theories from development theory, democracy theory and elite theory, and use structuralist theories to identify preconditions for political freedom. I also argue why measuring political freedom equals measuring democray, in the region of post-soviet space and discuss the theoretical problems of a structural approach, a universal approach, and the interpretation of the analysis.
I conclude that that the distance from Tallinn to Tashkent is indeed long, but taht there does seem to exist structural preconditions in the former soviet union republics that explain the variation of political freedom and these are precondtion that can be affected by policy, internally and externally. The most important explanatory precondition seems to be IPR, partially in combination with elite theory.