Almost two decades have now passed since the USSR broke apart, yet we still lack a clear understanding of how post-Soviet political systems are developing and why. Outcomes range from Turkmenistan’s totalitarianism to Lithuania’s democracy, though the least understood countries are those in the majority: “hybrid regimes” that combine features of both democracy and autocracy. As diverse as these outcomes may appear, it will be shown that they follow a logic common to the post-Soviet space. This logic explains not only patterns of democracy and autocracy, but accounts for the timing and impact of “revolutions” and “democratic breakthroughs” with important implications for both theory and policymaking.
Henry E. Hale (Ph.D. Harvard University 1998) is Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES) and Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. His research focuses on issues of democratization, center-periphery relations, and ethnic politics, usually with a focus on the post-Soviet region. He is the author of the books The Foundations of Ethnic Politics (2008) and Why Not Parties in Russia? (2006), and is co-editor of Developments in Russian Politics 7 (2010). He is currently completing a new book, Great Expectations: The Politics of Regime Change in Eurasia. During September 2007 through December 2008, he was based in Moscow as a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center.