Erica Marat is a visiting scholar at the Kennan Institute of the Wilson Center. She is an expert on security issues in postcommunist countries, with a focus on military, national, and regional defense, as well as state-crime relations. Marat previously worked at the Voice of America's Russian Service and was a research fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program, which is affiliated with the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. She is an associate with the Central Asia Program at the George Washington University.

Project Summary

This project explores the conditions in which a meaningful transformation of the police - as the embodiment of the state's monopoly over the legitimate use of violence over society - is likely to succeed and when it will fail. It addresses criticism that international efforts to democratize police forces in countries with recent authoritarian past rests in the donors' tendency to work with the very same political officials and government agencies that rely on the coercive power of the police. However, alternative bottom-up reform approach is harder to define. Based on the analysis of five postcommunist countries that have officially embarked on the police reform efforts with the help of international community, this project argues that a bottom-up police reform is likely to take place in urban areas where non-state actors are ready for long-term engagement and are flexible in their demands.

Major Publications

  • "Reforming Police Forces in Former Soviet States" (U.S. Army War College, forthcoming).
  • "Arrested Development - Police Reform in Central Asia", (Jane's Intelligence Review, 2012).
  • "The Military and the State in Central Asia: From Red Army to Independence" (Routledge 2009).

Previous Terms

Oct 01, 2008 - Oct 01, 2008: "The Military and the State in Central Asia: From Red Army to Independence"