Democracy in Post-Communist Europe: Democracy Lite

Is democracy losing momentum in post-communist Europe? The conduct and consequences of recent elections have aroused concern about its future and the resurgence of illiberal nationalism in Serbia, Croatia, Georgia and Russia. These four countries are all divided by liberal parties and truculent nationalists. But maybe the west is just not spending enough on democracy; Europe is at risk of new insecurity.

The World Today Published 1 February 2004 Updated 16 October 2020 4 minute READ

Anita Inder Singh

Authoritarian multi-ethnic European states were broken up in 1991 when Croatia and Serbia seceded from the former Yugoslavia through war and Georgia withdrew as the Soviet Union collapsed. But the illiberal character of the secessionists in Croatia, Serbia and Georgia embroiled them – and post-Soviet Russia – in wars against their own undemocratic separatists.

In Georgia and Russia, widespread electoral fraud produced different outcomes. In a peaceful revolution Georgians rose against what they regarded as a corrupt presidency, forcing it from office and necessitating fresh presidential elections last month. Russians accepted the results of a rigged election which could be the first step towards a new dictatorship.

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