Course Name: Post-Communist Transitions and Democratic Revolutions
Special Topics in Russian, Eurasian, and Transition Studies (EURR 5202)

University: Carleton University

Department: Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies

Course Description:
The first aspect of the course will investigate ‘fourth wave’ transitions in Central‐Eastern Europe and Eurasia from a theoretical perspective and in comparison to the ‘third wave in Southern Europe and Latin America. A major focus of the course will cover why some countries succeeded and others failed to establish democracies, specifically, what is the role of path dependency inherited from the Communist era, in what way are elites and institutions important, and what kind of role did Western institutions, such as the EU, play in the success of democratic transitions.

A second aspect of the course will investigate the phenomenon of democratic revolutions in post‐communist states. Why did democratic revolutions take place in four countries (Serbia [2000], Georgia [2003], Ukraine [2004], Kyrgyzstan [2005])? Did Bulgaria, Slovakia and Croatia also undergo democratic revolutions but earlier in 1997‐1999? Why were these revolutions non‐violent? Why did Ukraine’s Orange Revolution se the largest level of participation? Was there an “American conspiracy” behind the revolutions as Russia claims? In what way were the revolutions similar or different? What type of regime is more susceptible to democratic revolution? What successful counter‐revolutionary policies have been undertaken in Russia and elsewhere to prevent democratic revolutions?

A third segment of the course will focus on policies undertaken following democratic revolutions which create high expectations. What changes in policies have been undertaken since the Serbian and Georgian revolutions? Why have counter‐revolutionary forces remained highly popular in Serbia and Ukraine but not in Georgia? Why have Serbia and Ukraine undergone years of political crises since their revolutions?