Political Culture and Civil Society in Russia and the New States of Eurasia

Political Culture and Civil Society in Russia and the New States of Eurasia

Political Culture and Civil Society in Russia and the New States of Eurasia

Political Culture and Civil Society in Russia and the New States of Eurasia

Synopsis

What are the near- and long-term prospects for the establishment of democratic polities in the Soviet successor states? In seeking to answer this question the best indicator would be the healthy development of civil societies of the region, with a growing capacity to assume social responsibility and exact government accountability. The chapters in this volume examine the evolving political cultures of the post-Soviet states.

The contributors include Dominique Arel, Patricia Carley, James L. Gibson, Jeffrey W. Hahn, Henry Huttenbach, Roger Kangas, Cynthia S. Kaplan, Sergei Markov, Michael McFaul, Zenovia Sochor, Orest Subtelny, and the editor.

Excerpt

This book is the seventh in a projected series of ten volumes produced by the Russian Littoral Project, sponsored jointly by the University of Maryland at College Park and the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University. As directors of the project, we share the conviction that the transformation of the former Soviet republics into independent states demands systematic analysis of the determinants of the domestic and foreign policies of the new countries. The series of volumes is intended to provide a basis for comprehensive scholarly study of these issues.

The collapse of theSoviet Union and the discrediting of Marxism-Leninism as a source of political legitimacy have prompted a search for fresh principles of political organization that will shape the nature of political culture in all the post-Soviet countries. This volume analyzes the nature of the emerging political cultures and their impact on the processes of democratization in these new states. In this search for a new organizing principle, two potential sources of guidance are the idea of civil society and an intensified sense of national identity. The book points to the relative weakness of civil society and the persistent quest for national identity, its varieties, and its various political consequences. Some of the political cultures explored in the volume draw from predominantly civic values, others emphasize ethnic traditions and mythologies. The discussion of political culture, however, cannot ignore the continued impact of Leninist legacies on the emerging pluralism that characterizes most of these states. Given these concerns, the book finally explores in some detail the question of whether these states will become democratic polities, semi-authoritarian regimes, or some sort of illiberal political establishment.

We would like to thank the contributors to this volume for their help in making this phase of the Russian Littoral Project a success and for revising . . .

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