March 1998 - Latvia will hold its next parliamentary elections in October 1998. How will the political left fare? Given the social and economic travails of the post-Communist period (the radical drop in living standards, the plight of those on fixed incomes, the loss of status of the cultural intelligentsia), one might predict that the left would score successes. Since 1991, however, the political left has seemed almost quiescent in Latvian politics. The parties of the left in the renewed parliament (Saeima) have controlled at best only about a third of all seats, and only one of these leftist parties received a plurality in the last Saeima elections in 1995. Why is this so? The political left in Latvia has not succeeded because it has not come to grips with six dilemmas-or, better said, problems with equally unsatisfying solutions.
November 2004 - The purpose of this paper is to address two questions associated with Lithuania’s political crisis in 2004. First, what were the domestic circumstances that led to the impeachment of Lithuania’s President, Rolandas Paksas? Second, what evidence is there that Russia has played a significant role in the crisis and what are the motives behind Moscow’s meddling in Lithuania’s internal affairs?
In this paper, the author examines the initial outcomes of post-1989 transformations in countries outside the former Soviet Union. He identifies the patterns of transformation emerging in the region and proposes some tentative ideas that help to account for disparities in initial outcomes of these transformations.
In July 2003, the government of President Álvaro Uribe took the unprecedented step of opening formal peace talks with the AUC. This publication is the collection of papers that resulted from a conference hosted by the Wilson Center to explore key issues in the Government-AUC peace talks, the prospects for an eventual negotiated settlement, and the key challenges ahead.
Using age-structure data, Richard Cincotta assesses the fragility of existing liberal democracies and forecasts when new ones will emerge.
September 2004 - On May 1, 2004, ten countries joined the European Union (EU). On the day of the accession, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary all had Central-Left governments in power. One day later, Leszek Miller, the Polish premier was forced to resign. In June, Czech social democrat Prime Minister, Vladimir Spidla followed suit, and in August, the head of the Center-Left government of Hungary, Peter Medgyessy, was also forced to resign. "Too weak," "lacks energy," "cannot communicate effectively"—these were some of the accusations lodged against them. In spite of the fact that all three leaders where very popular at the beginning of their terms, it appeared that the initial success of their materialist-redistributive politics faded quickly. None of these countries was in bad shape economically—on the contrary, they were experiencing economic booms—yet political observers sensed that there was a crisis in the leadership. This situation had clear ties to EU accession. A national consensus supported the European accession almost everywhere: EU membership seemed logical and would clearly serve the common good. So, once the long-held goal of EU accession was achieved, why did these governments collapse? Was it just coincidence that all three were replaced by much younger prime ministers with very different outlooks from their predecessors? The answers to these questions are directly related to the fact that EU enlargement has brought the region to a new stage in its development, and one in which the former communists need to redefine their political roles. Indeed, this stage could be interpreted as the end of postcommunism.
This essay asks whether and if so how the United States might employ new understandings of security in the management of Arctic waters issues, and in responding even more particularly to the prospect of intensified use of Russia’s Northern Sea Route.
October 2000 - In their discussion, Robert Hayden and Eric Gordy identified the main reasons for the opposition's electoral victory in the September 24 presidential elections and elaborated on potential challenges facing the new regime once in power. Several factors contributed to the opposition party's victory. Hayden and Gordy cited the: the decreasing amount of support for Vuk Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) party as well as a crisis of orientation within the party; the ongoing repression and open violence which exposed a sign of desperation within the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS); the influence of the student resistance movement OTPOR; and, the uncertainty of support for Milosevic by the military and the police. In addition, several potential divisions and defections within Milosevic's coalition further threaten to weaken the ruling regime's hold on power.
January 1998 - The spectacular collapse of state socialism in Eastern Europe in 1989 was greeted by social scientists and regional experts with considerable caution. The tasks facing the region in order to create liberal democracies and market economies seemed enormous. In the past, Eastern Europe functioned as the continent's unstable and backward periphery, and then it had been reshaped by decades of communist domination. By 1989, the region was experiencing fast economic decline. Any change was bound to be slow and difficult.