The Choice between Democracy and Authoritarian Government in the Minds of Citizens of Post-Communist Countries: Factors and Dynamics

Artyom Zemtsov
2022 Sociological Journal  
This paper is dedicated to studying the value of democracy and authoritarian government in the political consciousness of citizens of post-communist countries three decades after the democratic transition. The author primarily examines the dynamics of said value and the complex ways in which a country's socio-demographic characteristics, political regime type and economic development can impact their acceptance of democratic values. The author also analyzes such a thesis as "crisis of
more » ... , particularly in post-communist regimes, what sort of causes, factors lie at the bottom this crisis and how potential deconsolidation can affect political culture. The study is built on comparative data from surveys by project "Life in Transition Survey", which was conducted in 28 post-communist countries in 2006, 2010 and 2016. In the beginning the author's reasoning is rooted in modernization theory and transitology — the most prevalent approaches in the study of post-communist regimes — with them being examined in critical light, and used as a foundation to put forward three key theses on the effect of individual and national factors on the value of democracy. The study shows that levels of support for democracy can vary significantly from country to country. Regardless, it is in higher demand in the vast majority of post-communist societies compared to the authoritarian alternative and the absentee position. However, while continuing to be the most sought after, democracy's value rating is deteriorating. With the help of multi-level ordinal regression analysis, the author was able to identify certain stable patterns: first of all, the more social resources people possess — the more inclined they are to maintain the value of democracy, secondly, the less economically developed a country — the higher the value of democracy among its citizens, thirdly, regime type does influence the value of democracy, but the effects of such influence vary from year to year. Nevertheless, these results in part disprove the logic of modernization theory and transitology. The author offers his own original explanations and interpretations of the results.
doi:10.19181/socjour.2022.28.2.8987 fatcat:memj6fcu3fdptf7zzh2mpwlbqm