Democratization can be contagious in specific geographic regions. Samuel Huntington described the wave of democratization during 1974-90 as the 'Third Wave'. Meanwhile, Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan discussed the Zeitgeist and diffusion among tightly grouped countries as ensuring the likelihood of the domino effect of democratization. 1 Twenty-three of the twenty-nine countries democratizing during Huntington's 'Third Wave' had previous democratic experience. Therefore, it can be better described as 'redemocratization'. Of the twenty-seven post-communist states, possibly only ten had an earlier pre-communist experience with democracy. 2 Within the former USSR, the majority of the successor states are building democratic polities from scratch.
Belarus, surrounded by Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia, which are all participating to different degrees in a democratizing 'Fourth Wave', has not been influenced by this latest democratizing process. Between 1990 and 1994, democratization and marketization in Belarus progressed slowly. Since the election of Alyaksandr Lukashenka in July 1994, Belarus has returned to the authoritarianism of the Mikhail Gorbachev era. In contrast, Ukraine has made strides towards democratization and marketization under both Presidents Leonid Kravchuk (December