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Regime Change in the Yugoslav Successor States

Divergent Paths toward a New Europe

Mieczysław P. Boduszyński

Publication Year: 2010

In the 1990s, amid political upheaval and civil war, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia dissolved into five successor states. The subsequent independence of Montenegro and Kosovo brought the total number to seven. Balkan scholar and diplomat to the region Mieczysław P. Boduszyński examines four of those states—Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia—and traces their divergent paths toward democracy and Euro-Atlantic integration over the past two decades. Boduszyński argues that regime change in the Yugoslav successor states was powerfully shaped by both internal and external forces: the economic conditions on the eve of independence and transition and the incentives offered by the European Union and other Western actors to encourage economic and political liberalization. He shows how these factors contributed to differing formulations of democracy in each state. The author engages with the vexing problems of creating and sustaining democracy when circumstances are not entirely supportive of the effort. He employs innovative concepts to measure the quality of and prospects for democracy in the Balkan region, arguing that procedural indicators of democratization do not adequately describe the stability of liberalism in post-communist states. This unique perspective on developments in the region provides relevant lessons for regime change in the larger post-communist world. Scholars, practitioners, and policymakers will find the book to be a compelling contribution to the study of comparative politics, democratization, and European integration.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Series: Democratic Transition and Consolidation


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p. vii

List of Figures and Tables

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xv

The states that emerged from the former Yugoslavia followed divergent paths of regime change in their first decade of post-communist transition, only to converge on the road to Europe in the second. As of 2009, all the Yugoslav successor states, save for newly independent Kosovo, are at some stage of the European integration process, at the very minimum having signed Stabilization ...

Abbreviations and Acronyms

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pp. xvii-xxi

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Introduction: Explaining Regime Change in the Yugoslav Successor States

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pp. 1-8

Despite the potential lessons they hold for comparative politics and area studies, the Yugoslav successor states have rarely been examined as cases of post-communist democratization. This book fills the void by analyzing nearly two decades of regime change in the former Yugoslavia, identifying the internal and external factors that determined whether liberal political ...

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1 Post-communist Diversity

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pp. 9-38

The combination of divergent political outcomes, a common institutional legacy, and a shared time frame of transformation has made the postcommunist region particularly interesting to comparative political scientists.1 The challenge has been to explain the reality of post-communist regime diversity, which prevailing theories did not predict. When measured in terms of ...

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2 Characterizing Regime Type

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pp. 39-49

Although it would be highly optimistic to think that post-communist countries should exhibit anything but “Schumpeterian” democratic orders (in which, at the very least, elites compete for power) during the initial period of transition, it is nevertheless important to recognize variation in the liberal content of post-communist regimes in order to understand their prospects ...

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3 The Development of Disparity

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pp. 50-73

This chapter traces the development of economic disparity in the former Yugoslavia through time and space.1 The history and features of each republican economy can tell us a lot about its economic viability—not only with regard to its ability to construct a viable market economy but also in terms of its capacity to adapt to a global market given independence. Anyone who has ...

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4 Simulated Democracy: Croatia’s Transition in the 1990s

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pp. 74-113

The regime that ruled Croatia in the 1990s exhibited both authoritarianism and a particular brand of simulated democracy designed to assure a baseline level of Western support. The first ten years of post-communist transition were dominated by the entrenched power of one nationalist political party, the Croatian Democratic Union (Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica ...

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5 Substantive Democracy: Slovenia’s Transition in the 1990s

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pp. 115-139

Economic viability underpinned the procedurally and substantively liberal regime that guided Slovenia’s post-communist transition in the 1990s. Favorable initial conditions enabled the repeated success of liberal political configurations in elections and contributed to a broad consensus among varying social groups on a liberal project of reform and European integration ...

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6 Illegitimate Democracy: Macedonia’s Transition in the 1990s

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pp. 140-171

Macedonia’s transition in the 1990s was deeply troubled, characterized by political instability and deep divisions among its people. The main hindrance to establishing a liberal post-communist regime in Macedonia was its lack of economic viability as an independent state and the reproduction of poverty in the 1990s and beyond. Poor economic conditions characterized the ...

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7 Populist Authoritarianism: The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Transition in the 1990s

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pp. 172-210

Post-communist FRY was ruled in the 1990s by an authoritarian regime that combined Serbian nationalism, warmed-over Marxist-Titoist ideology, and a confrontational anti-Western foreign policy as forms of legitimization. At the helm of this regime were Slobodan Miloševic´, a former communist apparatchik turned defender of Serbian interests, and his communist successor ...

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8 The Yugoslav Successor States in the New Millennium

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pp. 211-246

In the second decade of transition, external forces, and in particular the ever-increasing role of the EU, became the most important agents of democratic change in the Yugoslav successor states.1 After 2000, Western policies toward Croatia, FRY, and Macedonia shifted from preventing conflict to an active promotion of democracy through conditionality. Especially important ...

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9 Conclusions

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pp. 247-281

The challenge for political science is to provide an explanation for the divergent trajectories of political change that we have witnessed in Eastern and Central Europe over the past two decades. The goal of this book is to address this challenge and contribute to the study of comparative democratization by accounting for variance in regime types in the Yugoslav successor ...


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pp. 283-304


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pp. 305-322


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pp. 323-333

E-ISBN-13: 9780801899195
E-ISBN-10: 0801899192
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801894299
Print-ISBN-10: 0801894298

Page Count: 360
Illustrations: 7 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Democratic Transition and Consolidation
Series Editor Byline: Jorge I. Domínguez and Anthony Jones, Series Editors See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 793202948
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Regime Change in the Yugoslav Successor States

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Post-communism -- Former Yugoslav republics.
  • Democracy -- Former Yugoslav republics.
  • Former Yugoslav republics -- Politics and government.
  • Self-determination, National -- Former Yugoslav republics.
  • Regime change -- Former Yugoslav republics.
  • Former Yugoslav republics -- Foreign relations.
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