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Armenia on the Horizon of Europe

Successes and Shortcomings of Democratization Efforts by European Organizations in a Post-Soviet State


Anahit Babayan

This book provides a critical review of the achievements and challenges of European organizations promoting democracy in the Republic of Armenia. Armenia is a post-transition country and yet not a consolidated democracy. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, and the European Union with its Neighbourhood Policy have been actively engaged in the country’s democratization process. A central question is to what extent reforms and recommendations have been accepted in Armenia, and whether they convey real implementations. By analyzing the organizations’ activities and recommendations, this book explains how projects overlap, whether they reveal an interlocking or interblocking nature, and when they cause unintended side effects.
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6. Challenges of European Organizations


6.1 Chapter Overview

The Third Wave of Democratization showed that the development of democracy cannot be built solely on the installation of democratic institutions. It is a big challenge for any democracy in development if the following measures are ineffective: the transparency and reliability of state institutions, the accountability and responsiveness of state officials, and the openness and efficiency of available procedures (Agarin 2010: 25; Przeworski 1991). Thus, consolidation is achieved only when a clear evidence of public support for the government and legal practices indicates that institutional change has been successful and is desirable. Any external actor has to take each of these factors into consideration.

As an external actor, it is challenging to work in another country. Carothers (2009) mentions three major challenges that external democracy promoters face. The first point he identifies is the newly self-confident authoritarian regimes that push back external democracy promotion. As a second important point he highlights “increasing sophisticated semi-authoritarian regimes that adept at imitating the forms of democracy while undermining the substance of it”, and thirdly he explains that promoters face “weak democracies that follow basic democratic practices but experience protracted problems in building state capacity and delivering socioeconomic progress” (Carothers 2009: 19). Those challenges are particularly common in most of the post-Soviet countries. The similarities among them are noticeable. For example in the Ukraine “the political elites try to pursue their goals by getting around the established rules, or by changing unsuitable rules so that...

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