The Socialization of Democratic Norms in Russia: Is the Glass Half-empty or Half-full?
The whole enterprise of examining the role of international actors in socializing democratic norms throughout Europe builds upon a basic premise of the external environment’s influence upon domestic developments in states. This analytical set-up logically implies a possible role not only for international organizations, but also for powerful state actors like Russia as another external factor capable of influencing the development and consolidation of democracy and security in the transforming societies of Europe. Indeed, due to its historical role in Europe, notably in the transforming societies of Baltic, Central and Balkan Europe in the recent past, Russia qualifies as ‘perhaps the dominant external influence on the trajectories of change’ (Breslauer, 1997: 5; Skak, 1996: 76–136). Russia is thus simultaneously an agent of socialization as well as an object for socialization. For better or worse — and many would focus on the latter seeing Russia as a nuisance, if not an outright threat to democracy and security in the region — Russia remains a key factor in the equation of Europe even though Russia has been decisively weakened through the collapse of Communism economically, militarily and politically. Therefore, Russia is no plain out-group 2 country2 (if there ever was one) where ceteris paribus conditions prevail due to geopolitics and history: points I shall elaborate upon below.
KeywordsCivil Society Foreign Policy Political Culture Democratic Consolidation Democratic Change
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