Democracy Assistance from the Third Wave

Democracy Assistance from the Third Wave: Polish Engagement in Belarus and Ukraine

Paulina Pospieszna
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Democracy Assistance from the Third Wave
    Book Description:

    The role of Western NGOs in the transition of postcommunist nations to democracy has been well documented. In this study, Paulina Pospieszna follows a different trajectory, examining the role of a former aid recipient (Poland), newly democratic itself, and its efforts to aid democratic transitions in the neighboring states of Belarus and Ukraine.Belarus is widely regarded as the most authoritarian state in the region, while Ukraine is witnessing a slow, if often troubled, democratic consolidation. Each state presents a different set of challenges to outside agencies. As Pospieszna shows, Poland is uniquely positioned to offer effective counsel on the transition to democracy. With similarities of language and culture, and a shared history, combined with strong civic activism and success within the European Union, Poland's regional policies have successfully combined its need for security and a motivation to spread democracy as primary concerns. Pospieszna details the founding, internal workings, goals, and methods of Poland's aid programs. She then compares the relative degrees of success of each in Belarus and Ukraine and documents the work yet to be done.As her theoretical basis, Pospieszna analyzes current thinking on the methods and effectiveness of NGOs in transitions to democracy, particularly U.S.- and European-led aid efforts. She then views the applicability of these methods to the case of Poland and its aid recipients. Overwhelmingly, Pospieszna finds the greatest success in developmental programs targeting civil society-workers, intellectuals, teachers, students, and other NGO actors.Through extensive interviews with government administrators and NGO workers in Poland and the United States, coupled with archival research, Pospieszna assembles an original perspective on the mitigation of the 'postcommunist divide'. Her work will serve as a model for students and scholars of states in transition, and it provides an overview of both successful and unsuccessful strategies employed by NGOs in democracy assistance.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7923-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xxvi)

    This book addresses several questions that deal with democracy assistance provided by countries that experienced the “third wave of democracy” and that were recipients of this kind of aid not so long ago.¹ Why does a country that received democracy assistance in the past offer such aid today and when did this shift take place? How does a one-time recipient country go about assisting other countries in their struggles with democracy? How does a young democracy conceptualize democracy and the democratization process and how does its view on democracy assistance differ from approaches used by Western donors? Finally, are democracy...

  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xxvii-xxx)
  6. 1 Belarus’s and Ukraine’s Quests for Democracy
    (pp. 1-32)

    The political experiences of Belarus and Ukraine since the dissolution of the Soviet Union have broadly diverged, with Belarus backsliding toward authoritarianism and Ukraine struggling with democratization. Paralleling those political experiences are the two countries’ situations with regard to civil society, which is the focus of this chapter. The crucial relationship between civil society and democratization and democratic consolidation, as well as aid donors’ recent focus on civil society as they assist in the struggle for democracy, makes civil society a critical component of postcommunist transformations. This chapter explores factors behind Belarus’s failure to democratize and Ukraine’s problems with its...

  7. 2 Polish Governmental Aid Programs
    (pp. 33-63)

    The Polish government provides aid for democracy assistance in various areas, through multiple channels of aid distribution, and with various partners. Drawing on data from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) that has not previously been addressed by scholars, the analysis in this chapter shows how Poland, as a young democracy, conceptualizes democracy assistance. It also discusses whether the choice between different approaches to supporting democracy, emphasized in democracy assistance literature, is relevant in the case of new donors. Some policy makers and scholars observe that there are two distinct approaches to democracy assistance—political and developmental. US democracy...

  8. 3 The Solidarity Movement’s Lasting Legacy: Polish NGOs’ Engagement in Democracy Assistance
    (pp. 64-93)

    Although nongovernmental organizations are major partners in implementing the Polish government's democracy assistance, they began their own such activities in the postcommunist region in the 1990s, before the government's program was established. Polish NGOs' involvement in democracy assistance can be considered a legacy of the Solidarity movement, and the historical overview offered here details Polish civil society's role in democratic transformation, not only in Poland but in the whole region, and its links with Western donors. These international donors, as well as the Polish government, have recognized the important role of Polish NGOs in democracy assistance.

    Polish civil society was...

  9. 4 Demystifying Cross-Border Networks: Polish NGOs’ Civil Society Assistance in Belarus and Ukraine
    (pp. 94-120)

    The scholarly literature contains very little about cross-border collaborative civil society networks like those established by Polish nongovernmental organizations in Belarus and Ukraine. This chapter fills that void by describing the origin, evolution, and character of these collaborative networks and presenting their potential to diffuse democratic ideas and practices. Initiated before the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs started its own aid program, the cross-border efforts of Polish NGOs involved developing different strategies and techniques for reaching civil society in authoritarian Belarus versus democratizing Ukraine. Polish NGOs conceive their programs and projects dealing with civil society assistance differently for authoritarian countries...

  10. 5 Why Polish Democracy Assistance Matters
    (pp. 121-152)

    Polish democracy assistance relies extensively on Polish NGOs’ efforts, which may be analyzed through different prisms: the literature on democracy assistance, Polish NGOs’ own opinions and evaluation of the results of their efforts, and the opinions of Western donors about Polish practices. Are Polish NGOs’ efforts in delivering assistance really so different from those criticized in the literature? If so, how are such strategies different? In addition to addressing those questions, this chapter demonstrates how Polish NGOs view their work and how they assess the outcomes of their projects in Belarus and Ukraine.

    The diffusion literature suggests that the greater...

  11. 6 Implications for Theory and Practice
    (pp. 153-162)

    This book has taken a detailed look at a particular example of democracy assistance efforts provided by a young democracy, something that has not been studied before.

    This book makes some contributions to research on democracy assistance, which motivated the questions addressed in this study. However, this book also participates in important debates about democratization and democratic consolidation, the role of external actors in these processes, and regional diffusion of democracy. Findings from the Polish case permit an assessment of the implications of these findings for the fields of comparative politics and international relations, as well as for the practice...

  12. Appendix 1. Interviews Conducted
    (pp. 163-164)
  13. Appendix 2. Interview Questions
    (pp. 165-169)
  14. Appendix 3. Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Assistance Data
    (pp. 170-170)
  15. Appendix 4. NED Data on Cross-Border Work
    (pp. 171-171)
  16. Appendix 5. Typical Polish NGO Project Summaries
    (pp. 172-172)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 173-210)
  18. References
    (pp. 211-242)
  19. Index
    (pp. 243-245)