When communism fell, it fell literally from west to east. The further east one travels from the Berlin Wall, the less democratic tradition the new democracies had to fall back on. So Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Baltics, were the first to emerge from the rubble intact, free, vibrant, with traditions built on Western European foundations. Slovakia had a harder time, but has turned a corner. Slovenia escaped by the skin of its teeth as Yugoslavia crumbled into ethnic genocide. Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, bled for years. Ukraine rotted for more than a decade before the Orange Revolution. Belarus simply reverted to Stalinism. Russia perpetually teeters on the brink of a return to authoritarianism. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan descended into ethnic conflict and militaristic authoritarianism before Tbilisi tasted freedom once more last year.For more, see Dan Drezner's equivocal blogpost (and comments) on The Fourth Wave of Democratization?--with emphasis on the punctuation at the end of the title.
And in Central Asia, where Kyrgystan sits in the mountains, a statist fascism of the most extreme kind has taken hold. Kyrgystan was once a breath of fresh air among the near North Korean level of dictatorship in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. But communism's fall left the most rubble the further east you go from Berlin, and Kyrgystan today groans under the weight, falling ever further away from democracy.
25 March 2005
Democracy Guy on Falling Dominoes
I've felt little need to post on recent developments in Kyrgyzstan. It's already well covered by Nathan Hamm, PubliusPundit, and other blogs who are regularly linked to by big blogs like Instapundit. But here's a bit of historical perspective by Democracy Guy, in a post entitled Dominos Fall Harder from West to East.
Posted by Joel at 3/25/2005 08:12:00 AM