This paper adopts Charles Tilly’s political process model of democratization. We focus on one aspect of that model: coalitions. We draw on publicly available archival data from turnout figures, contentious politics and party politics in the former Soviet Union (FSU) to map out coalitions that move those polities toward and away from democracy. This cartographic approach to charting trajectories reveals greater variation than the democracy-dictatorship dichotomy and its variations (“hybrid regimes”). One conclusion we draw from mapping changes in coalitions is that the contraction of the polity in some FSU countries is a response to the growth of factionalized parties and personalized tyrannies.


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