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SPP 375

Title: PLURALISM BY DEFAULT: CHALLENGES OF AUTHORITARIAN STATE-BUILDING IN BELARUS, MOLDOVA, AND UKRAINE
 
Author: Lucan A Way
 
Description: This article examines regime trajectories in Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine in the face of a common set of historical and institutional factors that would seem to undermine democratic development. What explains the relative strength of pluralism in all three countries in the early 1990s and the divergent paths taken by the three countries by the late 1990s? Moldova, the poorest and most rural of the three was also the most democratic. Ukraine remained a competitive authoritarian or hybrid regime while Belarus quickly descended from a competitive authoritarian regime into a rather virulent form of dictatorship. My argument is that the initial level of pluralism in the early 1990s was a direct outgrowth of the simultaneous collapse of regime and state in 1990-91. State collapse in all three countries undermined the capacity of incumbents to impose authoritarian rule. The greater success of pluralism in Moldova and Ukraine can be traced to the greater degree of ethnic fragmentation and polarization there.

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

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