Building Democracy in Romania: Internal Shortcomings and External Neglect

Tom Gallagher

in Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 2: International and Transnational Factors

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244096
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600371 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 Building Democracy in Romania: Internal Shortcomings and External Neglect

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Argues that the process of building democracy in Romania is dependent on a favourable external environment and active support from abroad. However, Romania has benefited far less from external efforts to promote democracy than most other ex‐Warsaw Pact States. The chapter points to some of the reasons of the retarded progress of democratization in Romania, such as a historical legacy of foreign occupation and sharp internal economic, cultural, and ethnic cleavages. The communist regime's determination to retain absolute control over politics and society and oppose any liberal initiatives in economics blocked off the possibility of any democratic transition. The activity of anti‐reformers described as ‘nomenklatura nationalists’ also contributed to the weakness of democratic consolidation in Romania. They demonstrated their ascendancy by blocking economic reforms between 1989 and 96, with the support of Russia, which sought to make Romania dependent on Russia's cheap energy supplies in return for political compliance. The author makes a case for a new approach to democracy building from domestic reformers and international organizations that recognizes Romania's special problems and pursues realistic targets.

Keywords: democracy building; democratic consolidation; democratic transition; democratization; economic reforms; foreign occupation; internal cleavages; nomenklatura; Romania; Russia

Chapter.  12611 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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