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SPP 226

Title: DISTRUST AS AN OBSTACLE TO CIVIL SOCIETY
 
Author: Richard Rose, CSPP
 
Description: Trust is a necessary condition of democracy and a civil society in which institutions represent individuals. But distrust is a pervasive legacy of Communist rule. Although most people in post-Communist societies would prefer a democratic political system, they distrust institutions that are central in the workings of a civil society and a democratic political system. The first section of this paper considers the legacy of distrust resulting from the totalitarian aspiration of Communist regimes crippling or eliminating institutions independent of the state. Secondly, the paper presents survey data from Russia in order to show that people do feel free, in the negative sense of not controlled by government, but they also feel distrustful of the new institutions claiming to represent them. Individual freedom from state interference is insufficient for representative government.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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