The Journal of Politics
Do the former Soviet societies possess a stratum of citizens sufficiently active--and active in the proper way--to support the consolidation of democracy? What impact did the Soviet regime have on its citizens' predilection for taking political action? Using data from surveys of mass public opinion in Russia, Ukraine, and Lithuania conducted in 1990, 1991, and 1992, we analyze patterns of political participation before and immediately after the break-up of the Soviet Union. This period provides a rare opportunity to examine political participation at several points during a process of regime transition. To assess what these patterns of participation mean for democratic consolidation, we compare them with findings from surveys of political participation in Western and developing countries. The several activities we examine are not unidimensional but rather fall into modes of political action matching those found by studies of participation outside the Soviet bloc. Former Soviet citizens are more participatory than totalitarian images of the Soviet period would suggest, generally approximating or exceeding levels found in established democracies. Because the organizational development of these societies remains limited, however, democratic institutions lack a key form of support present in long-standing democracies.
Published Article/Book Citation
The Journal of Politics, 57:4 (1995) pp. 941-970.
Copyright 1995 Southern Political Science Association. Used by permission. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=JOP