While Ukraine could be considered a democratic country, the current period is crucial to its future political development and the entrenchment of democracy. The Parliament will play a decisive role in determining what kind of state Ukraine will be and in structuring the domestic and international agenda.
Listen to a panel discussion with Thomas L. Friedman, Adel Abdellatif, and Gilles Kepel.
The Central Asian countries are anything but democracies. The degree of oppression may vary, but all Central Asian rulers enjoy uncontested autocratic power, with nominal legislatures mostly used to extend their tenures. Should Ilham Aliyev become president after his father's death, it would be the first dynastic succession in a post-Soviet state.
A discussion with Chinara Jakypova, Project Director of the Bishkek office of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, on political, economic, and social tendencies in Kyrgyzstan.
US policymakers should be proud of US-sponsored programs which broaden the range of participation for even limited numbers of people. But those of us engaged with Central Asia should not delude ourselves into believing that through "soft needling" we will get the ruling elites in these countries to modify the core practices at the heart of their regimes.
Since 9/11, the Bush administration has moved the issue of democracy higher on its Middle East agenda than has any previous US government. This represents a historic shift in the underpinnings of American strategic thinking on the Middle East. Washington has now linked terrorism against the US, religious extremism, and anti-American sentiment to the prevalence of authoritarian rule in the region.