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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Republic Of Poland, Jeffrey K. Hass Jan 2006

Republic Of Poland, Jeffrey K. Hass

Sociology and Anthropology Faculty Publications

Located in east-central Europe, Poland comprises an area of nearly 313,000 square kilometers (about the size of New Mexico). Borders with Germany on the west and Belarus and Russia on the east give Poland notable geopolitical significance. In addition, its flat topography, with no defensible geographical features, has made Poland a prime area for conflict, as the country not only lies between historically powerful nations but also has served as an unwilling conduit for forces between Russia and Germany.


Republik Of Lithuania, Jeffrey K. Hass Jan 2006

Republik Of Lithuania, Jeffrey K. Hass

Sociology and Anthropology Faculty Publications

Formally Lithuania is a republic. The national government is composed of three branches-executive, legislative, and judiciary. Lithuania has a stronger presidency than the other Baltic countries and is referred to as a "presidential democracy" that has come to resemble the French system, where the president presides over policymaking and the parliament (Seimas) is weakened by divisions between several parties and factions; however, this strength may be illusory for institutional reasons.


Romania, Jeffrey K. Hass Jan 2006

Romania, Jeffrey K. Hass

Sociology and Anthropology Faculty Publications

Before 1989 Romania was among the most authoritarian regimes of those in the Socialist East Bloc. Nicolae Ceau├žescu's secret police was among the most active, and the dictator ruled with impunity until the wave of popular revolutions that swept Eastern Europe in the autumn of 1989 reached Romania. An internal coup deposed Cea├žescu (whose body was shown on television after he was shot), but Romania did not move immediately to liberal politics as in Poland or Hungary. Democracy took time to develop, although success appears on the horizon after joining the North Atlantic Treat Organisation (NATO) in 2004 and ...


Russian Federation, Jeffrey K. Hass Jan 2006

Russian Federation, Jeffrey K. Hass

Sociology and Anthropology Faculty Publications

The Russian political system remains subject to sudden radical change--this has been the basic logic of its political history since 1985. Only by understanding the processes and logics of that recent history of change can one understand the present and the (possibly radically different) future.

In December 1991 Boris Yeltsin, president of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (the USSR's largest republic, known as RSFSR), joined Stanislav Shushkevich of Belarus and Leonid Kravchuk of Ukraine in dissolving the Soviet Union and replacing it with the ill-defined Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The RSFSR was transformed into the Russian Federation ...


Ukraine, Jeffrey K. Hass Jan 2006

Ukraine, Jeffrey K. Hass

Sociology and Anthropology Faculty Publications

The independent nation of Ukraine was born on December 1, 1991, when Russia's Boris Yeltsin, Belarus's Stanislav Shushkevich, and Ukraine's Leonid Kravchuk agreed to disband the Soviet Union and create the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Since then, Ukraine's political history (much like its economic history) has been marked by the confusions, contradictions, and conflicts that go hand in hand with state building. Overshadowed on the world stage by its "bigger brother,'' Russia, Ukraine nevertheless has tried to forge its own path in terms of policies, political structure, political culture, and political identity.

The Ukrainian economy ...


Republic Of Latvia, Jeffrey K. Hass Jan 2006

Republic Of Latvia, Jeffrey K. Hass

Sociology and Anthropology Faculty Publications

On August 21, 1991, following the failed Soviet putsch, the Latvian Supreme Soviet declared Latvia independent of the Soviet Union, beginning the process of building democracy. Like its two Baltic neighbors, Lithuania and Estonia, Latvia has enjoyed a happier transition to democracy and capitalism than other former Eastern bloc or Soviet republics. While disputes over policy, territorial boundaries, economic policy, and definition of citizenship have been problematic and while Latvia's economy bottomed out in 1992 and 1993, the country has enjoyed relative political calm and recent economic growth.

While it may perhaps be early to talk about a stable ...


Republic Of Hungary, Jeffrey K. Hass Jan 2006

Republic Of Hungary, Jeffrey K. Hass

Sociology and Anthropology Faculty Publications

Hungary has been one of the more promising countries of Eastern Europe to make the transition from a Communist polity and economy to democracy and market capitalism. While the transition has not been smooth--economic pain paved the way for the socialists to return to power, and complexities or snags in legislation and procedure have made political institutions run less than smoothly--Hungary still exhibits successful institution building. While political actors regularly fight and coalitions and splits have occurred, there is little threat of political instability, and Socialists have not tried to turn back the clock on democracy or the free market.


Republic Of Estonia, Jeffrey K. Hass Jan 2006

Republic Of Estonia, Jeffrey K. Hass

Sociology and Anthropology Faculty Publications

Estonia is the northernmost of the three former Baltic republics of the Soviet Union, with a 2005 population of 1.32 million people. It is not a homogeneous country: While ethnic Estonians make up 67.5 percent of the overall population, Russians come in a strong second with 25.6 percent. Estonian is the official language, but Russian, Latvian, and Lithuanian are significant as well. Despite some ethnic issues, Estonia has enjoyed a relatively stable transition to democracy and a market economy. While political parties have yet to tap deep roots into society and some scandals have marred political life ...


Republic Of Bulgaria, Jeffrey K. Hass Jan 2006

Republic Of Bulgaria, Jeffrey K. Hass

Sociology and Anthropology Faculty Publications

One of the more orthodox Communist countries in the Warsaw Pact, Bulgaria has slowly but surely made its way out of Socialist authoritarianism and is developing democracy and a market economy. Despite a sizable non-Bulgarian ethnic minority (especial Turks), the country has avoided the ethnic tensions that led to war in Russia (Chechnya) or the former Yugoslavia. The possibility of joining NATO and the European Union promises to bring Bulgaria closer to the West than ever in its history. Bulgaria's party politics were among the more stable in Eastern Europe until the arrival of a new mass movement, but ...


Republic Of Belarus, Jeffrey K. Hass Jan 2006

Republic Of Belarus, Jeffrey K. Hass

Sociology and Anthropology Faculty Publications

A landlocked nation, Belarus is located in central-eastern Europe, with Poland and Russia on the western and eastern borders, Ukraine to the south, and Latvia and Lithuania to the north. The climate is between continental and maritime, with cold winters and cool summers. Much of the terrain is flat, and there are several square kilometers of marshland. Much of southern Belarus was contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986; while Ukraine was host to the disaster, the radioactive fallout harmed Belarusian territory worse than Ukrainian land, contaminating more than 20 percent of Belarusian land and leading to, at one ...