Democratization Processes and Conflict in Post-Soviet Countries: A Look at Violence/Linkage Shifts.
CitationYevetska, Olga. 2018. Democratization Processes and Conflict in Post-Soviet Countries: A Look at Violence/Linkage Shifts.. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis thesis modifies and expands an analytical framework for understanding the democratization process and its relation to conflict in post-Soviet countries after the breakdown of Soviet Union. It utilizes the concept of linkages and leverages by Stephen Levitsky and Lucan Way to explore linkages of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Belarus to Russia, as an example of consolidated authoritarian regional power and analyzes the patterns of conflict in the post-Soviet countries.
The research for this thesis is conducted by a mixed-method approach that simultaneously applies qualitative and quantitative analysis. Quantitative research involved analyzing national-level variables for four countries while qualitative analysis, through examination of local sources in Russian, Ukrainian, Moldovan, Georgian and Belorussian languages helped to fill the gaps that were not adequately addressed by the quantitative research alone.
Preliminary investigation of conflicts between Russia and its neighbors found that conflicts go hand in hand with democracy changes. As such, after each instance of structural violence, democratization score tends to worsen. Worsening of democratization score ceases only upon presence of an armed conflict. Furthermore, after each armed conflict democratization score tends to improve, unless followed by another instance of structural violence.
Next, through multiple regression analysis, the research found that all the linkages were important for democratization. While each country had a different picture of significant for democratization linkages, intergovernmental linkage with Russia proved to have an impact on democratization in all four countries. Leverages proved to have an impact on democratization only in the case of Belarus.
While armed conflict and structural violence, along with revolution did not prove to have direct impact on democratization, changes in linkages were indeed affected by conflicts: armed conflict brings decrease in linkages with Russia while instances of structural violence showed an immediate drop in linkages and a gradual rise afterwards.
The thesis concluded that instances of structural violence and armed conflict influence democratization differently as they provide different ways for solving the hostile situations. The cooperation, possibly at the expense of pro-Western democratic policies, is possible only in the case of structural violence. Furthermore, linkages are important for democratization as a bargaining tool in a conflict.
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