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Exporting post-communist experience : intra-regional diffusion and learning in eastern Europe, 2003-2011

  • Simecka, Michal
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
OpenGrey Repository


The thesis explores the dynamics of intra-regional diffusion and learning in the post-communist world. 1t is often assumed that ideas and lessons extrapolated from successful post-communist transitions are of particular relevance and utility to policymakers and other actors in post-Soviet countries struggling to consolidate democratic institutions and integrate into the Western orbit. Attempts at exporting transition experience have attracted considerable attention in policy circles, but remain underexplored in the academic literature. Drawing on theories of diffusion of innovations, learning, and the role of ideas in politics, the thesis investigates the spread of ideas and practices from countries of Central and Eastern Europe to Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova in 2003-2011. To set the stage, it first inquires into the causal factors that account for the emergence of the phenomenon in the early 2000s. However, the main goal of the thesis is to elucidate conditions under which ideas and practices are most likely to diffuse and gain traction in the post-Soviet context. To do so, it compares the diffusion and learning processes in three different domains of public life: civil society mobilization, decentralization and regional policy, and NATO integration and defence reform. It finds that domestic structures in recipient states - opportunities for civil society mobilization and windows of institutional and policy change - critically impinge on patterns of intra-regional diffusion and learning. 10 particular, structural configurations that approximated the prior circumstances of Central and Eastern European countries - or helped actors subjectively construct such analogies - encouraged robust diffusion of ideas as well as learning. The explication of linkages between domestic structures and the diffusion process, as mediated by actors' perceptions of similarities, is the thesis' main contribution to the general literature. Its findings also suggest that, in certain instances, biased learning from Central and Eastern European transitions may have contributed to suboptimal policy outcomes in the post-Soviet countries. / EThOS - Electronic Theses Online Service / GB / United Kingdom

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