This article aims to highlight and problematise the boundaries of democratisation, with Georgias troubled transition as empirical point of reference. The argument proceeds from the established idea that democratisation requires a demos, the presence of which provides the state undergoing transition with horizontal legitimacy. However, there are no good ways of deciding where or how to draw the boundaries of democratisation in ethnopolitically contested states. Transitions occurring under such circumstances tend to be short-circuited. No nation wishes to be subjugated to the will of another nation within a state owned by another nation. Whether conflicts over the boundaries of democratisation are resolved to the satisfaction of the majority or minority depends to a significant degree – but by no means exclusively – on the vertical legitimacy of the host state. Depending on whether the relationship between the majority population and the state institutions is characterised by distrust or trust, the host state will be either weak or strong, and hence have low or high ability to contain resentful minorities. The article argues that, between 1991 and 2003, Georgia was characterised by low vertical legitimacy, whereas since 2004 the state has acquired higher vertical legitimacy.
Keywords: boundaries, democratisation, ethnopolitics, exit, Georgia, voice
Russia is currently implementing the most comprehensive reform of its Armed Forces since the 1920s – «the Serdiukov reforms». Conscription will be maintained at the same time as important parts of the Armed Forces will be manned by enlisted personnel. The conscription system is under pressure, however. The number of draftable 18-year-olds will steadily decrease until 2017. In addition, the health of conscripts has been deteriorating in post-Soviet times, and there is little to indicate improvement. Contingents of conscripts in the years ahead will be considerably smaller than in 2009, when 575,000 were drafted, the largest number in 15 years. The current reserve of older conscripts will soon be spent. It is therefore unlikely that Russia will be able to maintain an army of one million, which is the ambition of the Serdiukov reforms. There is little to suggest that the decrease in the number of conscripts can be compensated by enlisted personnel. Conscription is likely to be upheld at any rate, primarily because abolishment would dramatically reduce the possibilities of recruiting professionals. The article suggests that the most important measure by which to make young men less unwilling to serve would be a comprehensive and targeted policy to reduce hazing.
Keywords: Armed Forces of Russia, army recruitment, conscription, military reform, Russia
The Civic Platform is one of the new parties in Poland, being established less than 10 years ago as a liberal soft protest party with a flat and decentralized institutional structure. This article starts with a brief overview of the development of parties and party systems in Central and Eastern Europe before proceeding to review the history of the Civic Platform, with a special emphasis on its constituency, institutional structure, programmatic aspects and party type. Over time, the party’s profile has changed radically, in particular since the 2007 election, which brought the party into power. Step by step, it has become more hierarchically structured and has developed cartel and catch-all party characteristics institutionally reminiscent of a mass party. Currently, it enjoys a strong position: few voters want the Law and Justice Party to return to power, and the Left does not constitute a real challenge. The article nevertheless ends by discussing the prospects of fatigue from being in power, as well as the waning effect of the shock of two years of Kaczynski rule.
Key words: Civic Platform, party formation, party institutionalization, party program, party type.