The Baltics after “Dark”: way to European Union
|Thesis title in Czech:|
|Thesis title in English:||The Baltics after “Dark”: way to European Union|
|Key words:||Baltic States, Soviet Union, EU, transformation, transition, democracy|
|English key words:||Baltic States, Soviet Union, EU, transformation, transition, democracy|
|Academic year of topic announcement:||2010/2011|
|Type of assignment:||diploma thesis|
|Department:||Department of Political Science (23-KP)|
|Supervisor:||PhDr. Iivi Zájedová, Ph.D.|
|Author:||hidden - assigned by the advisor|
|Date of registration:||06.04.2011|
|Date of assignment:||06.04.2011|
|Date and time of defence:||20.06.2011 00:00|
|Date of electronic submission:||13.05.2011|
|Date of proceeded defence:||20.06.2011|
|Reviewers:||PhDr. Irah Kučerová, Ph.D.|
|Advisors:||PhDr. Iivi Zájedová, Ph.D.|
|Preliminary scope of work|
|The essence of post communist transformation has been to overcome quickly the “shock of collapse” and make clear break with previous regime. The views of the extent of success of transformation vary with countries but the final picture shows a broad range from great success to utter failure. The question is why some countries have done so much better than others?
My thesis will try to answer this question by focusing the transitional experience of the most successful post-soviet countries: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Thesis will cover the issues of economic, political and social transition. The last part will briefly concern to cultural trauma of social change.
Baltic States are the only former Soviet countries that managed to make a clear break towards communist regime and “return to Europe”. All the rest of the post-Soviet countries are still labeled as being “in transition to democracy” after almost two decades of communist regime collapse. Actually they ended up in a sort of a ”grey zone” which is a middle house between democracy and communism, some kind of hybrid regime has been established there. Transformation to democracy has become very slow and time consuming process. Baltic States can become the role models for those above mentioned group of countries. That’s why it is interesting for me to observe their experience and explore the way they went through the implementation of new system along with new regime.
Methodology - The paper will use qualitative and quantitative methods of research. Conceptual part will be based on analysis of theories and the assumptions of different scholars. Books, articles and other scientific publications will be used for this. (Anders Aslund: “How Capitalism Was Built: The Transformation of Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; J.Alexander; R.Eyerman, B.Giesen, N.Smelser, P.Sztompka “Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity” Barkeley, Los Angeles & London: University of California Press, 2004; Ole Norgaard: “Economic Institutions and Democratic Reform: A Comparative Analysis of Post Communist Countries” Cheltenham & Northampton: Edward Elgar ,2000)
Empirical part of the work will be combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. Along with the factual analysis, I will use statistical data obtained from statistical databases.
The conceptual part of the work will be based on the theory of modernization which has become the fundamental pillar of transitology after the breakdown of communist regimes. The core assumption of modernist approach is that the way towards modern society is clearly defined and the post communist countries should follow this way by implementing western models and ideas. So modernization paradigm gives promise of the rapid convergence of East and West in both: normative (End of history) and empirical (designer of capitalism) ways (Blokker 2004). From this perspective post-communist transformation is considered the process in which the societies of Central and Eastern Europe freed from barriers to “normal” development try to catch up the universal process of modernization that they have missed while being under communism. The building of western-type capitalist and democratic societies was perceived as the primary goals of ex-communist countries on the way to “normality”.
But how can modernity be understood-simple as as a loose constellation that is irreducible to
Western civilization, or as a civilization among other civilizations which are or have
been modern in their own way? Paul Blokker specified 4 main components of modernity:” 1) negation of traditional authority and a religiously legitimated political order 2) human autonomy, i.e. the idea of the human being as a subject who is able to understand the world and act on these understandings 3) malleable nature of society and human beings - meaning that human beings can reconstruct their own societies on the basis of their own visions 4) future-oriented nature of modern ideas and programes of modernization.
This theoretical assumption of modernization directly applies to the case of Baltic States and their experience on the way to “return to Europe”. I chose this theory because of its relevance to the topic. Deeper conceptual analysis will be described in the first section of the work.
Economic transition - The shock of system breakdown was overwhelming. Where should they start building the new system? What was possible and desirable? What policy should be chosen?
Baltic States went through radical economic reform called “shock therapy”. This policy was supported by western, mostly American macroeconomists and international financial institutions. The dominant view was that a radical and comprehensive reform program was the best cure (Bruno et al. 1998). The program is known as “Washington Consensus”, first offered by John Williamson. “Prudent macroeconomic policies, outward orientation and free-market capitalism” were the core principles of the program.
The chapter will discuss the other strategy of transition called “gradualism” and offer all the possible arguments for and against the both strategies.
With the help of international financial institutions and in some way with support of Scandinavian countries, Baltic States managed to overcome economic transition in relatively short period than other post soviet republics. In 2004 they got accepted to the European Union and joined the system of one of the most stable and reliable economies. Since January 1, 2011 Estonia has become the first post-soviet country which joined Euro zone.
Empirical part of the chapter will show the the Baltic States’ economic performance expressed in numbers and statistics.
Political transition – This chapter will focus on the state-building, nation-building and society building processes.
State building process covers the issues connected with the enactment of basic constitutional ground rules, the creation of an institutional framework for the exercise of power, evidence of elite cooperation in government.
Nation building is more concentrated on creation a sense of national (collective) identity among citizens (Arter D.1996). This topic is worth to pay attention because Baltic States “were almost unique in the history of nationalism, in that they gave democratic representation to a nation within a state even before independence” ( Linz & Stepan).The issues of nationalism and ethnic minorities in Baltic States will be discussed under this chapter.
The process of society building means the implementation of civil society norms. The development of civil society was slow because ex-soviet citizens lacked the experience of political participation and the sense of self responsibility. The level of the trust to political system was quite law. Opinion poll indicators will make this picture clearer.
Political changes and the development of democratic culture are widely connected with the formation of plural political party-system. The overall picture of party system dynamics will be offered under this chapter.
Social Transition –This chapter will cover the topics of poverty, employment, education, pensions and policy for the elderly, gamily benefits, health care and other forms of social assistance.
From the very beginning social policy has been to the forefront of Baltic States’ political agenda, because it was necessary precondition of fulfilling primary national goal: EU membership.
The first part of the chapter will describe the post-soviet legacy, creation of a new social security system from the scratch and the controversial outcomes of the reforms.
The second part will be dedicated to the current social system type and the influences of European Union social tendencies, sharing the best practices of EU counties and their implementation on national level.
Cultural trauma of social change - Transition is considered to be accompanied by trauma - A process that includes sudden, comprehensive, unexpected and deep change, disorganization of culture, traumatic conditions expressed by traumatic symptoms, posttraumatic adaptations and finally, overcoming trauma. Culture transition that took place in Eastern Europe after 1989 is definitely an accompanying process of traumatic sequence.
Conclusion: For Baltic States Europe has perceived as a “promised land” as an embodiment of common western “values” that were radically different from the “eastern” communist type of civilization. Freedom, democracy, solidarity, justice, prosperity… were the primary goals to be achieved. The and the level of achievement slightly varies among “Baltic sisters” but the story of getting to that condition can be said to be successful.
|Preliminary scope of work in English|
|1) Juan Linz &Alfred Stepan Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe. Baltimore & London: Johns Hoplins University Press 1996.
2) Ole Norgaard: “Economic Institutions and Democratic Reform: A Comparative Analysis of Post Communist Countries” Cheltenham & Northampton: Edward Elgar ,2000
3) Anders Aslund: “How Capitalism Was Built: The Transformation of Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press;
4) J.Alexander; R.Eyerman, B.Giesen, N.Smelser, P.Sztompka “Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity” Barkeley, Los Angeles & London: University of California Press, 2004;
5) Sten Berglund, Joakim Ekman & Frank Aarebrot The Diversity of Post-Communist Europe. The Challenge of History in Central and Eastern Europe In The Handbook of Political Change in Eastern Europe. 2004
6) Marju Lauristin Social Contradictions Shadowing Estonian “Success Story”. Demokratizatsiya. The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 11,4 Fall 2003.
7) Jolanta Aidukaite, “The Estonian model of the welfare state: tradition and changes”, in Diversity and Commonality in European Social Policies: The Forging of a European Social Model, Warsaw 2009
8) Jüri Saar. “Criminal Justice System and Process of Democratization in Estonia”, NATO Democratic Institutions Research Fellowship Final Report, Tallinn-1999
9) Tiiu Paas, Marit Hinnosaar, Jaan Masso, Orsolya Szirko, « Social protection systems in the Baltic States » Tartu 2004
10) Lauri Leppik and AndresVõrk, “Pension Reform in Estonia” in Pension Reform in the Baltic States, edited by: Elaine Fultz. International Labour Office, Budapest, 2006
11) Inta Vanovska, “Pension Reform in Latvia”, in Pension Reform in the Baltic States, edited by: Elaine Fultz. International Labour Office, Budapest, 2006
12) Romas Lazutka, “Pension Reform in Lithuania”, in Pension Reform in the Baltic States, edited by: Elaine Fultz. International Labour Office, Budapest 2006
13) Pau Blokker “Post-Communist Modernization, Transition Studies and Diversity in Europe”.
14) Statistics Estonia, www.stat.ee