Sunday, December 28, 2008

On The Fate Of Post-Soviet 'Imitation Democracies'; Expect Four More Afghanistans

In New Left Review, Dmitri Furman provides an overview of democratic development throughout the 15 states that emerged from the collapse of the USSR. He groups them into three categories - democratic, authoritarian, and a third type that has switched between the two. This last group includes "imitation democracies" that are doomed to crisis and collapse:

"Increased control over society means the atrophy of ‘feedback mechanisms’. Once elections become pure fiction and the media are on a tight leash, the authorities lose all sense of what is happening in the country. The strengthening of control leads, ‘dialectically’, to a loss of control. The quality of the elite deteriorates, due to systematic promotion of the weakest and most servile. Corruption reaches monstrous proportions. Legitimacy disappears, since there is no alternative ideology and democracy itself becomes an increasingly transparent fiction."

Afghanistan's northern neighbours, already political dungheaps to varying degrees, should be expected to convulse in the coming years: "I foresee there being Kazakh, Tajik, Uzbek and Turkmen ‘revolutions’, which will not conform to the ‘colour’ model, or necessarily lead to democracy."

It's not called 'the long war' for nothing. But where does it lead?

"I am convinced that democracy will triumph everywhere. It is a necessary component of modernity."


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