Demokratie im postkommunistischen EU-Raum. Erfolge, Defizite, Risiken

(i.E.), Springer Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2021 (Mitherausgeber: Günther Verheugen und Karel Vodička)

Wie gefährdet ist die Demokratie in Osteuropa? Beflügelt von den Krisen der Europäischen Union, mobilisieren Populisten und Extremisten Unzufriedene. Mehrere Regierungen demontieren rechtsstaatliche Kontrollen und beschränken die Meinungsvielfalt. Korruptionsaffären und dubiose ökonomische Interessen scheinen die Politik zu beherrschen. Dieses Buch schaut genauer hin. Renommierte Länderexpert*innen analysieren Defizite, Erfolge und Risiken der demokratischen Entwicklung in den postkommunistischen EU-Mitgliedstaaten und in Ostdeutschland. Sie liefern ein systematisch vergleichendes und nuanciertes Gesamtbild – eine Generation nach den demokratischen Umbrüchen und im Blick auf Europas neue Gegensätze. read more

Eastern Partnership Index 2018 Update

On 25 January 2018, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum published the fifth edition of the Eastern Partnership Index. The Index is a set of individual and composite indicators which measure the extent to which the six Eastern European neighbour countries of the European Union have established sustainable democratic institutions and made progress towards closer integration with the EU.

In the methodology suggested by me, “integration” is conceived as a core and multi-dimensional concept that consists of converging norms, growing economic exchange, deeper transnational networks linking up societies, and more frequent contacts between people. This broad notion of integration implies that EU membership or association may be aims, stages or final states of the integration process. However, it is not limited to a measure of harmonisation with EU norms and standards, but also reflects actual societal, economic and political change. The levels of contractual relations between the Eastern Partnership states and the EU are viewed as elements of a much broader process that is, as a whole, not driven or controlled solely by governments and intergovernmental negotiations.

Rather, European integration is seen as a non-hierarchical, networked process where citizens, civic associations and business organisations play important roles. The interplay of these actors has been crucial for the historical development of the EU itself, as it induced and supported national political elites to take legal and institutional steps towards closer integration. Drawing on this experience, the Index is built on the premise that the ties between societies, peoples and economies form dimensions of European integration that are at least as important as the policy agendas of national governments and European Commission officials.

It is further assumed that transnational linkages contribute to the emergence and spread of common European and international norms which, in turn, facilitate closer linkages with the EU. For example, increasing trade is likely to strengthen domestic companies that benefit from foreign investment and are likely to become interested in courts that protect investors’ rights. A judicial system based on fair procedures and professionalism will then contribute to attracting more foreign investors.

An analogous reinforcing dynamic derives from a commitment to international norms and universal values. By incorporating democratic values, the protection of human rights and the rule of law in their constitutions, EaP states have adopted universal norms that have formed the basis of co-operation and integration among West European states since the end of the Second World War. The more these norms are implemented and respected in EaP states, the more co-operation with the EU will ensue because these states and the EU will increasingly recognise each other as partners sharing common norms and underlying values.

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Politics and Legitimacy in Post-Soviet Eurasia

New Publication


Political legitimacy has become a scarce resource in Russia and other post-Soviet states in Eurasia. Their capacity to deliver prosperity has suffered from economic crisis, the conflict in Ukraine and the ensuing confrontation with the West. Will nationalism and repression enable political regimes to survive?

This book investigates the politics of legitimation in post-Soviet countries, focusing on how political and intellectual elites exploit different modes of legitimation. Combining cross-national comparisons and country case studies, it addresses state-economy relations, pro-presidential parties, courts, ideas of nationhood, historical and literary narratives.

Weak economic performance, evidence of electoral fraud, unresponsive governments and the waning authority of presidents continue to jeopardize institutional legitimacy. Whilst incumbent elites have been able to shift between legitimation modes, this collection argues that shifts towards nationalism, artificial charisma and traditionalism will not be sufficient in the long term to keep elites in power.

Martin Brusis, Joachim Ahrens and Martin Schulze Wessel (eds.): Politics and Legitimacy in Post-Soviet Eurasia, Palgrave Macmillan, London 2015.

Table of contents and my introductory chapter: Book_sample

Advance Praise for ‘Politics and Legitimacy in Post-Soviet Eurasia’

‘The authors have assembled a stimulating collection of studies on political legitimation in the CIS. The chapters combine a variety of perspectives and case studies on the challenges regimes face after the economic crises of 2008-10 and the Crimean crisis of 2014. Many chapters are important stand-alone studies.’

Richard Pomfret, University of Adelaide, Australia, and The Johns Hopkins University, Bologna, Italy


‘This is the remarkable outcome of an inter-disciplinary research network touching upon the fundamentals of Eurasian post-communist states: the different aspects of their politics of legitimation and legitimacy. The volume will be a leading scientific tool for international scholars of post-Soviet countries and their realities.’

Jutta Scherrer, Professor of Russian History, L’École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, France


‘This inter-disciplinary collection explores the legitimation strategies adopted by ruling elites in post-soviet Eurasia. Combining a Weberian conceptual framework with detailed country case studies, this will be a valuable addition to the debate over the political stability of the post-soviet states in the face of widespread corruption and sluggish economic performance.’

Peter Rutland, Professor of Government, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, USA