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Democratization and Civil Society in the Post-Soviet South Caucasus

The post-Soviet period in the South Caucasus is shaped by the processes of nation and state-building and attempts to democratization as elsewhere in the former Soviet Union. The aim of this article is to highlight the peculiarities of the post-Soviet transition in the region while focusing on the nature of political transformation, democratization and civil society development. The analysis of the post-independence politics in the South Caucasus shows that the entire process of transition is dominated by the co-existence of continuity and change. The patterns of continuity inherited from the Soviet past are predominantly represented and reproduced by the ruling elite with varying degrees whereas the patterns of change associated with liberalization and democratization are mainly internalized and propagated by the societal actors. Yet, it is quite clear that unless the ruling elite's initiatives and policies towards democratic change are secured, the transformative power of societal actors remains insufficient.