Archive for August, 2009

Russian views on EU’s decline

(with updates)… I started this blog a few months ago with a post on “Is the EU a mistake of history?” where I argued that many, if not most, EU-watchers and policy makers in Russia think the EU is a temporary phenomenon after which Europe will return to power-politics among nations-states and ‘Concert of Europe’-style diplomacy. It is always useful to know what others think of the EU, and I will make sure to post views of the EU from the neighbourhood as well. Here is one more opinion from Russia (copy-pasted without changes):

  • “The European Union (EU) is growing weaker as an actor in foreign politics. The EU common foreign and security policy is still at its infancy because of the diverging interests of the European Union member states, and their reluctance to increase defense spending and shoulder responsibility for keeping up international peace and security. For this reason, the EU cannot be viewed as significant player in the world’s political and especially military-political arena”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Moldova defies post-Soviet traditions

Revolutions, staged successions and consolidated authoritarianism replaced “elections” in practically all the post-Soviet countries. Against such a background the best news from Moldova’s recent elections is the lack of any other event but the election results. In the last decade, in CIS there have been only two changes of power through elections only (where the governing party goes into opposition after the counting of the votes, not street protests) and both of them were in Moldova: in 2001 when the Communists came to power, and in 2009 when they lost it. These last years Moldova’s political system was highly centralized (and less pluralistic than Ukraine’s). And still Moldova is the only CIS country with an uninterrupted cycle of legal and constitutional transfers of power through elections since its independence in 1991. The pendulum of power is swinging with great difficulties but without interruption, while in all other post-Soviet states the pendulum has either stopped for now, or has been terribly dysfunctional. This is an almost surprising achievement for a state that is rural, semi-depopulated, has a separatist conflict and the lowest GDP per capita in Europe (yes, lower than Albania’s).

Selections vs elections

For the last decade, post-Soviet states have developed three types of managing transitions of power. None of these included “elections”:

  • The first is the model of not transfering power at all. This is the case of Belarus, Azerbaijan and the Central Asian “stans” (with the partial exception of Kyrgyzstan);
  • the second model is “project successor”, where an incumbent president passes power to a chosen successor who is then confirmed through popular “selections” (as opposed to “elections”). Read the rest of this entry »

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