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FAçADE DEMOCRACY: DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION IN KAZAKHSTAN AND UZBEKISTAN

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Date Issued:
2004
Abstract/Description:
This thesis explores the reasons behind the stagnation in the transition to democracy in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. According to their constitutions, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are democracies. In actuality, however, there is little evidence to support that these are democratic systems. These states' post-Soviet constitutions outline them as democracies – yet they lack a free press; freedom of association is suppressed; religious freedom is limited; and free speech is constrained as well. While these two countries hold popular elections, much of their electoral processes are under the control of the executive branch of government - calling into question whether or not Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan really hold "fair and competitive" elections. In sum, in both of these states, democracy is de jure rather than de facto. Why is this so? Why are Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan not the democracies in practice that they are on paper?Many scholars and policy-makers blame the stagnation in these states' democratic transitions on the firm hands used by the countries' presidents to maintain their current power and even to increase it. Other scholars point out that Central Asia has never been democratic and thus does not know how to be so. These scholars refer, in particular, to the region's history as part of the Russian Empire and later, as part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Using frameworks drawn from Dahl's Polyarchy (1971) and Huntington's The Third Wave (1991), this thesis finds that not only are Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan straying from their constitutional democratic starting points, no single factor is to blame for the stagnation in the transitions to democracy in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Rather, it is the combination of multiple factors – both internal and external – that provides the most comprehensive explanation of these states' failure to become full-fledged democracies. Combining the elements of strong dictator-like presidents with a lack of democratic history is but the tip of the iceberg. Internal factors such as "political culture" and external factors such as the influence of the international community also play major roles in the current state of affairs in these Central Asian states.
Title: FAçADE DEMOCRACY: DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION IN KAZAKHSTAN AND UZBEKISTAN.
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Name(s): Merritt, Robin Nicole, Author
ME Jungblut, Bernadette, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2004
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This thesis explores the reasons behind the stagnation in the transition to democracy in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. According to their constitutions, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are democracies. In actuality, however, there is little evidence to support that these are democratic systems. These states' post-Soviet constitutions outline them as democracies – yet they lack a free press; freedom of association is suppressed; religious freedom is limited; and free speech is constrained as well. While these two countries hold popular elections, much of their electoral processes are under the control of the executive branch of government - calling into question whether or not Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan really hold "fair and competitive" elections. In sum, in both of these states, democracy is de jure rather than de facto. Why is this so? Why are Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan not the democracies in practice that they are on paper?Many scholars and policy-makers blame the stagnation in these states' democratic transitions on the firm hands used by the countries' presidents to maintain their current power and even to increase it. Other scholars point out that Central Asia has never been democratic and thus does not know how to be so. These scholars refer, in particular, to the region's history as part of the Russian Empire and later, as part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Using frameworks drawn from Dahl's Polyarchy (1971) and Huntington's The Third Wave (1991), this thesis finds that not only are Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan straying from their constitutional democratic starting points, no single factor is to blame for the stagnation in the transitions to democracy in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Rather, it is the combination of multiple factors – both internal and external – that provides the most comprehensive explanation of these states' failure to become full-fledged democracies. Combining the elements of strong dictator-like presidents with a lack of democratic history is but the tip of the iceberg. Internal factors such as "political culture" and external factors such as the influence of the international community also play major roles in the current state of affairs in these Central Asian states.
Identifier: CFE0000118 (IID), ucf:46192 (fedora)
Note(s): 2004-08-01
M.A.
College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): Democratization
Transitional Government
Post-Soviet
Former Soviet
Central Asia
Kazakhstan
Uzbekistan
Nazarbaev
Karimov
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0000118
Restrictions on Access: public
Host Institution: UCF

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