Belarus and Ukraine: Democracy Building in a Grey Security Zone

Taras Kuzio

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

 Belarus and Ukraine: Democracy Building in a Grey Security Zone

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Compares different paths of democratic consolidation in Belarus and Ukraine since the disintegration of the USSR. The author argues that Ukraine has evolved beyond ‘Electoral Democracy’ towards ‘ Liberal Democracy’. By contrast, after 1994 Belarus has seen democratic erosion and regression from ‘Electoral Democracy’ to authoritarianism. The chapter advances three propositions. Firstly, the strength of ethnicity and national identity at the start of transition process can have a direct impact upon the choice of strategy, speed, and domestic policies adopted by the ruling elites. Secondly, the elites have little choice but to choose a foreign policy orientated towards ‘returning to Europe’—the source of security assurance and technical and financial assistance. Thirdly, the international community can play a highly positive role by providing incentives and assistance that persuade countries that have embarked on democratization to continue the process in the hope of reaching the final destination of democratic consolidation. The chapter is divided into three parts. The first places the transition in Ukraine, Belarus, and the rest of the former USSR within a theoretical and comparative framework by focusing on domestic factors. The second part discusses the international influences faced by a country that has participated in the reform process (Ukraine), and Russian influences on a country that has not done so (Belarus). The last two parts examine Ukraine's ‘return to Europe’ and Belarus’ ‘return to Eurasia’.

Keywords: authoritarianism; Belarus; democratic erosion; electoral democracy; ethnicity; foreign policy; international community; liberal democracy; Ukraine; USSR

Chapter.  11657 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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