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  • Author: Vesna Pesic
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Large-scale systemic state capture, which is the root of widespread corruption, is acquiring such proportions in Serbia that it may undermine the success of its transition. 'State capture' is defined as any group or social strata, external to the state, that seizes decisive influence over state institutions and policies for its own interests and against the public good. The appropriation of state institutions and functions by the political party leadership is being carried out at an alarming rate in Serbia, as supported by research data in this paper by Vesna Pesic, an International Policy Research Fellow. The phenomenon of state capture is explored in depth looking at its background, prevalence and variety of mechanisms in Serbia today. The author concludes with policy options and recommendations to help curb corruption, address the deep mistrust expressed by the Serbian people about their political system, and to pave the way for democratic transition.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Serbia finally has a new government but one that is deeply divided between pro-Western and nationalist forces. Facing two difficult issues–Kosovo status and cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)–its choice is between moving towards European integration or on to a more isolationist path. The government's composition, deep mistrust among many of its members and the parliament's nationalist majority suggest it will follow the second option. Pro-Western forces have suffered a significant setback, the government is vulnerable to manipulation by the security services and oligarchs, and the system of divided responsibility for the security services renders unlikely serious cooperation with the ICTY, especially the arrests of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. Although Kosovo independence could destabilise the government, it may surprise and last far longer and prove more stable than expected. The West should prepare for Serbia turning increasingly away from Europe and towards Moscow.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Moscow, Serbia
  • Author: Oleh Protsyk, Andrei Volentir, Igor Bucătaru
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The Transnistrian conflict continues to be one of the most important issues facing political parties and the expert community in Moldova. Since the start of the post-communist transition period, political parties have routinely felt the necessity to articulate their approaches to solving the conflict. During both electoral and inter-electoral periods, the Transnistrian issue has occupied a special position on the country's political agenda. This has required political parties to take a stance on the issue. Similarly, the country's expert community, which includes academics, political analysts, and media commentators, has struggled with the need to explain and interpret the conflict to their audiences. In presenting such interpretations for the general public, they could not avoid formulating their own positions on potential causes of and solutions to the conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Moldova, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Conflict over Abkhazia, squeezed between the Black Sea and the Caucasus mountains, has festered since the 1992- 1993 fighting. Internationally recognised as part of Georgia and largely destroyed, with half the pre-war population forcibly displaced, Abkhazia is establishing the institutions of an independent state. In twelve years since the ceasefire, the sides have come no closer to a settlement despite ongoing UN-mediated negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Georgia, Abkhazia
  • Author: Steve Pifer
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: What a difference a year makes. The 2004 Ukrainian presidential election entailed massive fraud, sent hundreds of thousands of protesters into the streets, and sparked a revolution. The March 26 parliamentary elections, by contrast, were strikingly calm and ordinary. The Orange Revolution's main hero, President Viktor Yushchenko, saw his party, Our Ukraine, come in a disappointing third. He nevertheless remains in the driver's seat in deciding who will make up the ruling coalition in the next Rada (parliament).
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Author: Giorgi Kandelaki
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Efforts to resist calling the 2003 events in Georgia a “revolution” were misplaced. Although the turmoil was marked by a lack of violence, a critical mass of people did come out to move the country away from the rampant corruption of the Shevardnadze regimes of 1972 to 1985 (when he was Communist Party first secretary) and 1992 to 2003 (when he was president). As president, Shevardnadze supported independent civil society groups and media outlets such as the television station Rustavi-2. His support of these groups ended in 2001, when he tried to shut down Rustavi-2. This action prompted reform-minded members of his government to form opposition parties. Before the 2003 parliamentary elections, opposition groups hoped only to gain momentum for the 2005 presidential elections. However, blatant electoral fraud, Shevardnadze's refusal to compromise, and the discipline of nonviolent opposition groups precipitated his exit. The youth group Kmara (Enough) played an important role in combating widespread political apathy among the Georgian public and youth in particular. The successful mobilization of so many young people continues to reverberate as former Kmara members maintain their interest in politics. Saakashvili's National Movement party believed that its success depended on radicalizing the political sphere and thereby broadening political participation. It was particularly effective at increasing political participation among provincial populations. Georgia's independent media, particularly Rustavi-2, supported the Rose Revolution by providing a forum for opposition parties and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) critical of the government. The channel also co-funded and broadcast exit polls that contradicted the official election results. Although a few civil society organizations did play significant roles in the revolution, most were constrained by foreign funding priorities and their own elitism. Similarly, foreign actors played a limited role because they lacked information or were overly cautious about fostering significant political change. There was no violence because the various security forces chose not to respond to public demonstrations with force. Three main factors drove their decision: 1) The security forces were accustomed to responding to democratic pressures and not defending autocratic rule; 2) a divided ruling party could not speak with one voice; 3) opposition groups, including Kmara, made strong efforts to build sympathy for their cause while downplaying the threat posed by political change. International actors can best support democratic transitions by targeting assistance to nationwide election watchdogs, such as the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), that can carry out parallel vote tabulations (PVT). Ideally, large numbers of observers from similar organizations outside Georgia should be deployed, since they can be more outspoken about electoral fraud.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Geir Flikke, Sergey O. Kisselyov
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This paper is based on an analysis of electoral support to left-wing movements of parties and blocs in Ukraine from 1998 to 2006. It argues that traditional left-wing ideologies and thereby the position of the left-wing parties have eroded in the political landscape of Ukraine. The authors hold that this is due not only to the decline of traditional left-wing ideologies in Ukraine's electorate, but also to the return of a strong managed party for the Eastern regions of the country.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: South Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons
  • Abstract: Government, NGO and International Organisation representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the UN Administered Territory of Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Montenegro participated in a sub-regional SALW (Weapons) Collection Seminar in Budva, Montenegro from 12 - 13 July 2006. The objective of the seminar was to discuss 'best practices' and share operational experience of SALW Collection activities within South Eastern Europe, in order to assist the Government of Montenegro in planning a possible SALW Collection process later this year.
  • Topic: Government, Non-Governmental Organization, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The international community has properly decreed that Kosovo's final status must not involve division of its territory. But this declaration has not been followed by sufficient action. Belgrade's policy of pursuing some form of partition is far advanced in the restive northern city of Mitrovica and its hinterland, and a major security, political and financial effort is required to save the situation. Capacity should be built immediately, and its implementation should begin once the Contact Group has declared its support for Kosovo's future as a functional, conditionally independent state within its present borders.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Author: Biljana Vankovska, Håkan Wiberg
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The paper studies how nation, state and religion – in particular: churches – are related among Orthodox South Slavs: Bulgarians, Serbs, Macedonians and Montenegrins. The close relations between (self-conceived) nations and churches go back to the Ottoman Empire, and seem to have been strengthened by the conflicts in Former Yugoslavia since 1990. The close relation between state and nation go back to how the Ottoman empire was dissolved and have also been strengthened by the same conflicts, even though all states proclaim themselves as non- discriminatory in this respect. The close relation between church and state also has long historical roots, but is more ambiguous today, with elements of competition as well as cooperation – and the latter is seen by many as having gone too far under communism. It is notable that where there are attempts to stabilise a separate identity – in Macedonia and Montenegro – establishing separate churches is a part of this on par with defining separate languages, rewriting history, etc. and the churches are seen as important national symbols even among quite secularised groups; and the same is true for the resistance against separation from the Serbian Orthodox Church.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro
  • Author: Tom Trier, Eleonora Sambasile
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: With resolution 1415 of January 2005, the Council of Europe encouraged Georgia to keep up with its commitments and obligations following the change of leadership with the 'Rose Revolution', inter alia, by recommending that the Georgian Parliament sign and/or ratify a number of pending European conventions, honouring the obligations made when Georgia joined the Council of Europe in 1999. In the resolution, the Council of Europe urges Georgia to: a. sign and ratify the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities, before September 2005; and to b. ratify the revised European Social Charter and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, also before September 2005.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: South Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons
  • Abstract: This survey represents the findings of a comprehensive assessment of the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) situation in the Republic of Serbia. It examines the distribution of SALW; the impact of SALW on individuals, communities and the state; public perceptions of SALW and security; and the capacity of the state to control proliferation and misuse.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: South Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons
  • Abstract: In November 2001 the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe adopted a Regional Implementation Plan on Combating the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons1 in South Eastern Europe, which provides a framework of approaches and measures to tackle SALW issues that can be adopted by the countries of the region and supported by international organisations and bi-lateral donors. The Implementation Plan included provision for the establishment of a regional clearinghouse to support its implementation, and on the basis of this mandate SEESAC was officially launched in Belgrade on the 08 May 2002 as a joint UNDP and Stability Pact initiative.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Oil-rich Azerbaijan, which borders Iran, Turkey and Russia and is still scarred from its defeat by Armenia ten years ago, gives cause for both hope and concern. The October 2003 election of Ilham Aliyev to the presidency that his late-father, Heydar, had held almost from independence, highlighted the stark choices which now face the country. Its government is a carefully designed autocratic system, which the father and former Soviet-era politburo member began to construct in the late 1960 s, with heavy reliance on family and clan members, oil revenues and patronage.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Dorothee Bohle, Bela Greskovitz
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: During the past decade of European economic integration vastly worse standards have emerged in work conditions, industrial relations, and social welfare in Eastern Europe than in the West. Area scholars explain this divide by labor weakness caused by the ideological legacy of communism, and do not problematize the impact of transnational capital. In contrast, this essay argues that the reason why the European social model has not traveled to the East is that its socio-economic foundations, the industrial building blocks of the historical compromise between capital and labor, have not traveled either. In the West, the compromise had been rooted in capital-intensive consumer durables industries, such as car-manufacturing, and their suppliers. These sectors brought together organized and vocal labor with businesses willing to accommodate workers' demands, because for them labor had been less a problem as a cost-factor and more important as factor of demand. However, the main driving force of the eastward expansion of European capital has been the relocation of labor-intensive activities where business relies on sweating masses of workers, whose importance as consumers is marginal, and who are weak in the workplace and the marketplace. With this general conceptualization of how the emerging new European division of labor constrains the social aspects of East European market societies as a background, the essay studies the cases of Hungarian electronics and Slovak car industries in order to better understand how particular features of various leading sectors mediate the general pattern.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Stephen Crowley
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Studies on the changing labor relations in post-communist countries have flourished in recent years, such that a review and analysis of what has been reported is overdue. Yet, interestingly, these studies have not reached a consensus on what they seek to explain. Indeed, some of the main questions remain under contention. First, is labor in post-communist societies weak, or (in at least some countries) strong? What should the referent be in determining strength or weakness? To the extent labor is weak, what would explain this weakness? If labor's power varies throughout the region, what would explain this variation? There have been a number of answers posed to these questions to date, but not a thorough testing of rival hypotheses. This paper will demonstrate, using a variety of measures, that labor is indeed a weak social and political act or in post-communist societies, especially when compared to labor in western Europe. This general weakness is rather surprising when one examines it against the now considerable economic and political diversity that exists in the post-communist world. The paper will then examine a number of hypotheses that have been proposed to explain labor's weakness, concluding that the institutional legacies of post-communist trade unions, and the ideological legacy of the discourse of class, best explain this overall weakness. However, the concept of legacy is itself found wanting, since it is unable to account for the extent of this weakness or the trends that have occurred in the region over time.
  • Topic: Communism, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Abby Innes
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This article suggests that the academic emphasis on rational choice and political-sociological approaches to party development has led to a misleading impression of convergence with Western patterns of programmatic competition and growing partisan identification in the Central European party political scene. As an alternative thesis, the author argues that the very character of 'transition' politics in Eastern Europe and the necessarily self-referential nature of the parliamentary game has structured party systems in those countries, and that the differences between the party systems in this region are critically related to experiences under communism (–a political-historical explanation). The paper argues that, in order to cope with a practical lack of public policy options in major areas such as the economy, parties have had little choice but to compete over operating 'styles,' rather than over substantive (ideologically based) programmatic alternatives. The development of parties incumbent in government since 1989 may be compared to the development of catch-all parties in Western Europe in terms of the competitive logic of weakening/avoiding ideological positions in order to embrace a large constituency. However, successful parties in Eastern Europe lack the 'baggage' of an ideological past and the history of mass membership and a class or denominational clientele – their defining characteristic is that they try to appeal to all of the people all of the time.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Tove H. Malloy, Tankut Soykan
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: With negotiations on the basis of the Annan Plan, complex power-sharing mechanisms were again on the agenda for the re-unification of Cyprus. Complex power-sharing mechanisms constitute an alternative approach which seeks to go beyond the traditional juxtaposition of consociational or integrative models and provide a more open approach in terms of a matrix of tools. This matrix covers multilevel governance, political representation, autonomy regimes, special rights for communities, moderating conflicts of authority, executive representation and generating equal opportunities. However, complex power-sharing arrangements cannot be achieved, nor will they take root in a society, unless they are understood, supported, and most crucially, developed further by local constituents. Hence, the parties directly involved in an attempted settlement must be enabled to take ownership of their own process and settlement. Putting the Northern Cypriot negotiation teams in this position was the overall aim of the FIRST Technical Expert Seminar on Complex Power-Sharing Mechanisms in Cyprus.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Balochistan
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Making another attempt to unite the divided city of Mostar has become, unexpectedly but appropriately, a very high international priority in Bosnia " Herzegovina (BiH) in 2003. By late summer, it had come to be ranked by High Representative Paddy Ashdown among his four major projects for structural reform. In each case, the High Representative appointed a foreign chairman to lead commissions composed of domestic representatives and charged with finding statebuilding solutions in the symbolically or substantively important realms of defence, intelligence, indirect taxation - and Mostar. All aim to unify divided and dysfunctional institutions. The first three commissions, which have already reported and whose draft legislation is proceeding through the various parliaments, have also sought to empower the state over the entities and their respective national establishments.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Recent events require that policymakers revise substantially the conventional assessment that Macedonia is the foremost political “success story” of the Balkans. In fact, it is an underperforming post-conflict country still very much at risk, unable to tackle – operationally or politically -- its security challenges without upsetting an uncertain ethnic balance. Clear-eyed analysis of the dynamics driving unrest, from criminality and weak policing to an equally weak economy and corruption, is needed if a country that narrowly avoided war in 2001 is to secure long-term stability. Specifically, Macedonia cannot yet safely do without the presence of an international security force.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Balkans, Macedonia