Democratic Transition

25 Years of Independence: The Ukrainian Referendum

On December 1, 1991, more than 92 percent of voters in Ukraine approved the Verkhovna Rada’s August Declaration of Independence. Mere days later, the Soviet Union dissolved and an independent Ukraine was born. The aftershocks of these events are still felt 25 years later, as questions of territory, sovereignty, and national identity remain painful and contested. What did the path forward look like in 1991 and how has this vision changed over the course of the intervening decades?

Looking Toward 2017: Prospects for Brazil-U.S Relations and the Domestic Political Outlook for Brazil

The upcoming change of administration in the United States and the ongoing political and economic crisis in Brazil have raised new questions about the future direction of domestic and bilateral relations, but also offer new opportunities for engagement. In recent years, the Brazil-U.S. relationship, although cordial, has remained superficial despite their many common interests and occasional public statements in favor of increasing cooperation.

Uzbekistan at a Crossroads

The death of Uzbekistan’s authoritarian president, Islam Karimov, 78, on September 3 marked the end of an era. Karimov was one of only two remaining Central Asian leaders whose rule began during the Soviet period.

Book Launch—Bangladesh: A Political History Since Independence

Bangladesh is a country of paradoxes. The eighth most populous country of the world, it has attracted considerable attention from the international media and western policymakers in recent years, often for the wrong reasons: corruption, natural disasters caused by its precarious geographical location, and volatile political situations with several military coups, following its independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Frustrated Democracy in Post-Soviet Azerbaijan

Frustrated Democracy in Post-Soviet Azerbaijan tells how a newly independent oil-rich former Soviet republic adopted at first a Western model of democratic government but turned toward a corrupt authoritarianism.

2014 Ratiu Award Winner Profiled in the New Yorker

Winner of the 2014 Ion Ratiu Democracy Award, Mustafa Nayyem, is profiled in the September 5, 2016 issue of The New Yorker in an article about his transition from journalism to politics in Ukraine. Nayyem is credited for having made the social media post that helped spur thousands of protestors to gather in Maidan Square.

How a Mining Disaster is Helping to Overhaul Impunity in Brazil

On November 5, 2015, a tailing dam in the state of Minas Gerais (in the southeast of Brazil) ruptured. It released an estimated fifty million tons of iron ore waste into neighboring areas. It has quickly become the country’s worst environmental disaster.

Tsai Ing-wen Becomes Taiwan’s First Female President

Women in Public Service Project Director, Gwen Young, discusses the significance of Tsai Ing-wen becoming Taiwan’s first female president. 

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