Symbolische Orientierungsleistungen und -erwartungen in postsowjetischen Gesellschaften

Workshop des Kompetenznetzes  „Institutionen und institutioneller Wandel im Postsozialismus“, München 21.-22.11.2014

Empirische Studien zur Politischen Kultur in Russland und anderen postsowjetischen Staaten haben beobachtet, dass politische Meinungen und Präferenzen stärker durch Wertvorstellungen geleitet werden als durch persönliche Alltagserfahrungen oder ökonomische Interessen. Dieses Phänomen wurde damit erklärt, dass viele Bürger/-innen die materiellen Konsequenzen ihrer Wahlentscheidungen nicht antizipieren können, da keine politischen Parteien mit kohärenten Programmen und klaren Handlungsalternativen existieren. Stattdessen dominiere die Polarität von Staatsmacht und Opposition. Nach dem Ende des staatssozialistischen Systems herrsche große Unsicherheit über gesellschaftliche und politische sowie nationale und moralische Leitbilder; zudem sei die politische Agenda durch Grundsatzfragen statt durch inkrementale Adjustierungen wie in den westlichen Demokratien geprägt. read more

Ein Vorschlag zum Status der Krim

Ein Beitrag für das IPG Journal,7.4.2014

Die Zukunft der Ukraine entscheidet sich nicht auf der Krim. Deshalb wäre eine Strategie des Westens verfehlt, die Russland aufgrund der völkerrechtswidrigen Krim-Annexion nicht an der Neugestaltung des post-revolutionären ukrainischen Staates beteiligt. Sie würde die Ukraine zum Opfer einer neuen Ost-West-Konfrontation machen. Gegenwärtig sind die westlichen Staaten und Russland jedoch in einer Blockadekonstellation, die vor allem den russischen und ukrainischen Nationalisten in Russland und der Ukraine in die Hände spielt. read more

Business Elites and the Eurasian Economic Union Project

Paper for the Workshop  “Elite Networks in Russia and Ukraine. Change, Structures and Political Role”, , German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Berlin, 13-14 February 2014


Business elites can be considered important advocates of Eurasian integration since neofunctionalist theory has assigned them a key role in the emergence of supranational EU governance structures. Do business elites in Russia articulate a demand for supranational policies that supports political elites in their efforts to create such structures? To examine this question, the paper firstly discusses existing political and economic rationales for the recent steps of integration. While political motives appear to prevail, plausible economic reasons can also be identified. The relevance of the economic rationales is further explored by studying whether and how Russian business elites assess the Eurasian Economic Union project. The paper finds that the Eurasian Economic Commission has sought to incorporate business representatives into its legislative procedure. However, major Russian business associations have devoted only selective and limited attention to Eurasian economic integration. There is empirical evidence that representatives of medium-technology industries outside the fuel sector most actively promote the project. In contrast, leading business representatives have revealed expectations of intergovernmentalist politics that are likely to impede a neofunctionalist mechanism of reinforcing Eurasian integration. read more

Authoritarian Governance in Eurasia: the Creation and Contestation of Institutional Legitimacy

Conference of the project network “Institutions and Institutional Change in Postsocialism”, 28-30 November 2013, Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung, and Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich

Eurasian states hold regular elections, but few political regimes in the region meet democratic standards. Non-democratic arrangements of governance have emerged and persisted despite the ‘color revolutions’ and their challenge to incumbents manipulating elections. This situation has generated significant scholarly interest and has resulted in a growing number of studies examining the sources of authoritarian stability. However, this field of research in the social sciences has hitherto been dominated by instrumentalist views of institutions that emphasize the engineering of institutions by utility-maximizing political actors. Institutions are sets of rules structuring interactions, but they are also defined by their legitimatory functions that are embedded in shared historical and cultural understandings. Due to this embeddedness, authoritarian rulers may not create political institutions at will. Rather, political elites depend on their ideational abilities to communicate their actions as meeting expectations of appropriateness. These abilities enable and constrain actors’ use of available frames, discourses, traditions, norms and practices in order to confer legitimacy on the institutions they seek to reform and build. read more

A Eurasian European Union?

Relaunching Post-Soviet Economic Integration

A paper presented at the ECPR General Conference 4-7 September 2013, Bourdeaux, European Consortium for Political Research

Abstract In November 2011, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia agreed to establish a “Eurasian Economic Commission” (EAEK) charged with the development and functioning of the Customs Union and a “Single Economic Space” comprising the three states. Their presidents and other political actors referred to the European Union and its formation to frame these projects and the envisaged creation of a “Eurasian Union” until 2015. The paper studies how these references are emulated in Russian public discourse and the legal regulation of the EAEK. Combining theories of policy transfer and gradual institutional change, the paper conceptualizes different modes of emulation. A weak authority of the EU model and weak powers of integration advocates suggest a “facade emulation” where formal similarities coexist with persisting inherited practices and behavioral patterns. This hypothesis is confirmed by (1) labeling and framing strategies that relate the EU model to familiar ideas in Russian political culture and previous initiatives of post-Soviet integration and (2) a limited emulation of labels and organizational structures from the EU within an essentially intergovernmentalist institutional arrangement. Go to project page Download paper:Brusis_EurasianEuropeanUnion

Trade Liberalization and Democracy

A Research Note for the Policy Planning Staff, Federal Foreign Office of Germany, 10 June 2013


The aim of the proposed study is to analyze whether trade liberalization has facilitated market economy and democracy, how to reinforce this impact through complementary policies and how to use trade liberalization to achieve a democratization in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. This study is to be elaborated in a cooperation between economists and political scientists, and its findings / policy recommendations are to be discussed and agreed with scholars from France and Poland. To organize this cooperation, the research questions need to be addressed and operationalized in different modules. read more

Twenty Years after the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Change, Continuity and New Challenges

Conference organized by the Project Network “Institutions and Institutional Change in Postsocialism“, German Association for East European Studies (DGO) and Frankfurt Institute for Transformation Studies (FIT), Berlin 1-3 December 2011

plakat_webThe dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 marked the collapse of a state, of an empire, and of a project of an alternative modernity. Initially, the collapse of the “Soviet civilization” seemed to provide an opportunity for the countries of the CEE and Eurasia to arrive in the West with its capitalist democracies, its liberal individualist values, and a global pax americana. History as a struggle between ideologies appeared to have reached its (liberal) end. This was an error of judgement, however. Since then, new, non-Western powers and global threats have emerged, and the historico-political region “Eastern Europe” has disappeared. Today, this region is more diverse than any other region in the world: while most of the countries of Central and Southeast Europe adapt successfully to the liberal standards of the West and are now members of the European Union, the post-Soviet states have embarked on a search for alternatives. Here, we encounter authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes and state-run capitalist economies, new regional cooperation and security alliances, as well as attempts to develop local models or to learn from other non-Western experiences, especially from China and the Asian “tigers”. read more