THE EUROPEAN UNION AS A DEMOCRATIZING ACTOR IN EASTERN EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA: WHAT HAS BEEN DONE AND WHAT WENT WRONG?

THURSDAY,  16 OCTOBER
17:30–18:30 / HALL #2
NEW BUILDING / KIMEP

By Vera Axyonova
Fulda University (Germany)

The European Union (EU) is commonly seen among the world’s leading democratizers. Over the past decades, the EU has developed a range of foreign policy instruments to promote democracy and human rights beyond its borders. However, the success of its democratization efforts remains questionable in the countries that lack the EU membership perspective. The present talk will shed the light on the functioning of the EU democratization policy, comparing its efforts across a range of post-communist states in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Vera Axyonova is researcher at the Centre for Intercultural and European Studies, Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Germany, and associate researcher with Europe-Central Asia Monitoring program. She has received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Bremen and currently pursues several projects in the field of security and democratization studies.

 

 

UNFULFILLED PROMISE OF KAZAKHSTAN: THE ROLE OF PROTEST MOBILIZATION

By Nurseit Niyazbekov
KIMEP University

THURSDAY, 2 OCTOBER
17:30–18.30 / HALL #2
NEW BUILDING / KIMEP

In her seminal work, Kazakhstan: unfulfilled promise, Martha Brill Olcott argues that from being a post-communist country promising great hopes for democratization in early 1990s, Kazakh leadership soon took controversial policies in country’s political reforms thus jeopardizing its post-independence promises. While the role of structural and institutional factors in the decline of democratic performance has received some scholarly attention, the role of popular masses has been somewhat overlooked.

The present talk tries to address the gap in the literature by examining the role of popular protest mobilization in Kazakhstan’s early democratization and its immediate breakdown. We will see if public radicalism is facilitative or destructive to democratic transition. Moreover, we will shed light on why and how did post-communist incumbents decide when to give in and when to give up on public’s demands. Original research findings are used to emphasize the facilitative function of protest mobilization and to claim that democratization stalled due to decline of protest in the mid-1990s.

Nurseit Niyazbekov is Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Administration, KIMEP University. He received his PhD in Politics from the University of Oxford in 2013. His main research interests are democratization, social movements, civil society and political culture.