Democracy at Dawn: Notes from Poland and Points East


From the sweeping changes of democratic reform to the bloody conflict of the Chechen Republic, 1993-95 was a tumultuous and critical time for Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics. During that two-year period, Frederick Quinn traveled the former Soviet empire as head of the rule of law programs of the Warsaw Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). His primary task was to help the new nations of the region write new constitutions and modernize their judicial systems. Keenly aware of the uniqueness of the history he was witnessing unfold, Quinn took notes of his experiences. The result is Democracy at Dawn - a vividly written personal, firsthand account of hope and nascent political and social freedom in a part of the world filled with vivid contrasts - drab cities and lively people, dedicated reformers and traditional governments. Quinn recounts the difficulties of many of the countries, as governmental and judicial habits held over from communist regimes, lack of equipment and supplies, shortages of food and services, and, in the case of the Chechen Republic, a devastating civil war all conspire against the formation of popular, pluralistic democracies. He cites frustrating bureaucratic problems, both with the various host governments as well as with the administration of OSCE and ODIHR. Quinn also recalls in fascinating detail his encounters with the new leaders of the region, such as Georgia's Edouard Shevardnadze. At the core of this powerful memoir is Quinn's admiration for the many people he encountered, from working men and women to the functionaries at the highest levels ofgovernment, who share a desire for democracy and constitutionality - alien concepts that they nevertheless desperately want to realize. And, despite daunting obstacles faced by the former communist-bloc countries, Quinn asserts th

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Thomas Cushman
  • Bronislaw Misztal
  • James Sadkovich
  • Keith Tester
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • College Station, TX
Publication year:
  • 1998