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  • 1.
    Bennich-Björkman, Li
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
    The cultural roots of Estonia's successful transition: How historical legacies shaped the 1990s2007In: East European Politics and Societies, ISSN 0888-3254, E-ISSN 1533-8371, Vol. 21, no 2, p. 316-347Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article investigates the cultural roots of Estonia's surprisingly successful transitions in the 1990s. Taking the point of departure in historical institutionalism, two layers of political cultural legacies are identified as particularly crucial in preparing Estonia for the democratic government installed after independence. First, the article argues that even in a Baltic context, Estonia stood out as a hotbed for social initiatives and elite networks during Communist times. Second, to understand why such liberalisation within the authoritarian Communist regime started earlier in Estonia than elsewhere in the Soviet Union, there is a need to acknowledge the importance that the historical experiences of the inter-war republic played. Estonia then developed a civic culture that partly survived even during the Pats regime from 1934 to 1939. These experiences surfaced once the yolk of Stalinism was lifted in the 1950s and shaped Estonia under Communism into a society of "collective mobilization" where democratically inclined counter-elites could form.

  • 2.
    Pikulik, Alexei
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
    Bedford, Sofie
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
    Aid Paradox: Strengthening Belarusian Non-democracy through Democracy Promotion2019In: East European Politics and Societies, ISSN 0888-3254, E-ISSN 1533-8371, Vol. 33, no 2, p. 378-399Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 3.
    Svensson, My
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Modern Languages, Slavic Languages.
    The Socialist Housing Projects as Non-Places in Post-2000 Polish Literary and Cinematic Narratives2012In: East European Politics and Societies, ISSN 0888-3254, E-ISSN 1533-8371, Vol. 26, no 3, p. 469-485Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Beginning approximately a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a cultural wave of various artistic representations of the socialist housing projects (blokowisko in Polish) arose in Poland. Three such works, Krzysztof Bizio's short story collection Zreszta latem wszystkie kwiaty sa takie piekne [Besides, in Summer All Flowers are Beautiful] (2003), Robert Glinski's feature film Czesc, Tereska [Hi, Tereska] (2001), and Sylwester Latkowski's documentary Blokersi (2001), well illustrate this new cultural trend. A common feature of these works is the complete absence of cultural or national landmarks; the life of the protagonists revolves around the housing projects and the non-places of supermodernity. The atmosphere in the stories ranges from gloom to darkness and their endings are usually unresolved or tragic. However, despite the despair and even fatalism surrounding especially the young female characters, all of the protagonists manage to find spaces of refuge, where they can unlock their imagination. Drawing on Marc Auge's study of the non-places of supermodernity and Michel Foucault's concept of heterotopia, while comparing the works to the contemporaneous Swedish film Lilya 4-Ever (2001), this article emphasizes the transnational character of the blokowisko and its universal meaning as a non-place.

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