Martin K. Dimitrov, Associate Professor of Political Science at Tulane University and editor of Why Communism Did Not Collapse, will speak on the puzzling durability of communist autocracies in Eastern Europe and Asia, the the longest-lasting type of non-democratic regime to emerge after World War I.
Why Communism Did Not Collapse brings together a distinguished group of scholars working to address the puzzling durability of communist autocracies in Eastern Europe and Asia, which are the longest-lasting type of non-democratic regime to emerge after World War I. The volume conceptualizes the communist universe as consisting of the ten regimes in Eastern Europe and Mongolia that eventually collapsed in 1989–91, and the five regimes that survived the fall of the Berlin Wall: China, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea and Cuba. The essays offer a theoretical argument that emphasizes the importance of institutional adaptations as a foundation of communist resilience. In particular, the contributors focus on four adaptations: of the economy, of ideology, of the mechanisms for inclusion of potential rivals, and of the institutions of vertical and horizontal accountability. The volume argues that when regimes are no longer able to implement adaptive change, contingent leadership choices and contagion dynamics make collapse more likely. By conducting systematic paired comparisons of the European and Asian cases and by developing arguments that encompass both collapse and resilience, the volume offers a new methodological approach for studying communist autocracies.
Joining Dimitrov on the panel as chair and moderator is James Person, Senior Program Associate with the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program.
Martin K. Dimitrov is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Tulane University. He is also an associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and a research fellow at the East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. Dimitrov has previously taught at Dartmouth College and has held residential fellowships at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard, the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study and the American Academy in Berlin. He is the author of Piracy and the State: The Politics of Intellectual Property Rights in China (Cambridge University Press, 2009).