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Aid Paradox: Strengthening Belarusian Non-democracy through Democracy Promotion
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5098-7227
2019 (English)In: East European Politics and Societies, ISSN 0888-3254, E-ISSN 1533-8371, Vol. 33, no 2, p. 378-399Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses on paradoxes of democracy promotion aid and offers research on an understudied topic: the microlevel of incentives facing donors and receivers of aid and its overall effect on the stability of authoritarianism. It argues that in the Belarusian case traveling the democracy promotion road, donors and implementers faced a typical bureaucratic problem: It became easier and more rational to justify the continuation of the democracy promotion project at large rather than closing it down, even though it was becoming increasingly clear it was not providing the desired results, that is, bringing about democratization or even a step in that direction. This created negative stimuli for the local beneficiaries, who developed strong aid addiction. A co-dependency between the providers and receivers of foreign aid led to the continuous application of unfit and self-defeating strategies. In fact, all of the actors involved (Western donors, implementers, and the Belarusian opposition but also the regime) became rationally interested in the status quo. As a result we argue that the democracy promotion efforts strengthened autocratic rule in Belarus rather than bringing about democratization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 33, no 2, p. 378-399
Keywords [en]
democracy promotion, Belarus, autocracy, donors, opposition, elections, post-Soviet politics, democratization
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-359702DOI: 10.1177/0888325418791725ISI: 000465011100006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-359702DiVA, id: diva2:1245297
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 348-2014-5974)Swedish Institute, 05755/2015Available from: 2018-09-04 Created: 2018-09-04 Last updated: 2019-05-09Bibliographically approved

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Bedford, Sofie

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