Putin did not inherit a consolidated democracy when he became president in 2000, and he has not radically violated the 1993 constitution, cancelled elections, or arrested hundreds of political opponents. However, although the formal institutions of Russian democracy remain in place, the actual democratic content of these institutions has eroded considerably in the last few years.
The fall of the Berlin wall and the subsequent breakup of the Soviet Union presented an unparalleled opportunity for fundamental political and economic change in more than two dozen countries. As postcommunist countries sought to attain the economic development of their Western neighbors, it became clear that the existing framework of laws and institutions would not support the desired growth.
The path to Arab democracy continues to be problematic. A close look at the contemporary regional political scene reveals that the predominantly missing element—when compared with more successful experiences of political transformation elsewhere—is the emergence of democratic opposition movements with broad constituencies that can contest authoritarian power and force concessions.
A considerable number of Russian authorities continue to believe in a conspiracy theory in which American imperialism and the CIA play a central role. This conspiracy theory extends to the recent revolutionary events in the post-Soviet countries. However, unless something drastic happens, there will be no revolution in Russia, at least in the short-term perspective.
The third Arab Human Development Report, released last week, is unlikely to have as profound an effect as the first two such reports. Although the region is still changing, Arab confusion over a future agenda has vanished. The central question is no longer whether freedom and democracy represent legitimate goals of human development but rather how to promote and consolidate them.
A joint conference on April 18 hosted by the Carnegie Endowment and the Asia Foundation featured leading experts from China and the United States to discuss the efforts that China has undertaken to reform its judicial and administrative systems.
This study seeks to answer three questions: Are interference, intracourt and intercourt influence, and judicial corruption of a lesser magnitude in Shanghai than in other parts of China? If so, what measures has Shanghai taken to accomplish this? What lessons about judicial reform in China can be learned from Shanghai’s experiences?
Junior Fellow Michael Beckley argues that a U.S. exit from Iraq is still years away.