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SPP 280

Author: Richard Rose
Description: Democracy is one possible alternative form of political change in post-Communist political countries. A reversion to Communist rule, to an old-fashioned or new form of national authoritarianism, or a 'Latin Americanization' of politics are other alternatives. The 28 post-Communist countries divide into three groups: ten can currently be classified as free, eleven as partly free and seven as unfree. The successor states of the former Soviet Union dominate the not free categories. This paper draws on the New Democracies and New Russian Barometer surveys to examine the strength of popular support for democracy and rejection of alternatives. It shows substantial and stable support in Central and Eastern Europe, and no evidence of a wave of reaction against democracy. It also gives reasons why democratization should strengthen in Central and Eastern Europe in the coming years. Co-incidentally, this will produce asymmetric divergence, because it will widen the distance between countries now in association with the European Union and the majority of former Soviet republics, which are going nowhere and not democratic.

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

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland