The Reformers' Inheritance
The process of the democratization of a regime is best understood in terms of the dynamic between elites and civil society forces. Crucial in this is the context within which that relationship is played out. In the Soviet Union of the second half of the 1980s, that context was shaped by the Soviet legacy. This legacy comprised a unitarist political system which not only had little room for real popular participation but also had significant structural weaknesses; in particular, an economy which had declined to the point of stagnation and a multi‐ethnic state structure. Such a legacy imposed severe constraints on the possibilities for systemic reform.
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