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“A fresh and timely examination of the state of post-communist legal systems by a talented group of experts. Using a variety of creative methodological approaches, the authors trace the evolution of key institutions with an eye to their adaptation to the winds of political change over the past several decades. They are not afraid to tackle big questions, such as the potential for rule of law, independent courts, and accountability among officialdom. Their answers often challenge conventional wisdom. Another major theme is the intransigence of corruption, whose contours vary across the region, as do the efforts to remedy it and their relative success.”—Kathryn Hendley, Professor of Political Science and Law, University of Wisconsin
“Probably the first systematic treatment of the legal transformations in the former communist countries moving to competitive authoritarianism seen from the perspective of the affected countries. Contrary to more superficial political science and journalistic approaches, this is a serious work in the best sociology of law tradition.”—András Sajó, Professor, Central European University, Budapest; Vice-President (ret.), European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg
“This volume on East European law and legal institutions is a very welcome contribution to the field of socio-legal studies. The former communist states have chosen a variety of pathways towards a liberal democratic order and are now finding that every one of them is littered with diversions and difficulties. The authors offer both country-specific and comparative analyses to explain why the road to democracy has proved to be rocky even in countries that have joined the European Union, as well as in those that have not. They set out the various factors that have supported progress or obstructed it and analyze the tangled interplay between law and politics that has been taking place in each context.
This volume allows the reader to appreciate the legal and political landscape of Eastern Europe. It is a ‘must have’ book for policy makers, for anyone interested in Eastern Europe, and for scholars working on democratic theories, comparative politics, legal cultures, constitutionalism, the rule of law, and legal institutions.”—Marina Kurkchiyan, Professor, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford
“Once upon a time, ‘post-communist’ and ‘transition’ were semantically linked. The countries liberated from communist dictatorship were all assumed to be somewhere in transition to democracy, market economy, and the rule of law. Not everyone was optimistic about how far along the path particular countries would get, but that there was an identifiable path and that it had clear milestones and led in clearly identifiable directions was assumed almost without question. Those assumptions are long gone, and this valuable collection gives us many insights into why. Not only are these paths more jagged than we thought, not only can it be as easy to move backwards and forwards along them, but there are other paths—some unimagined, some unattractive—that have internal logics, rationales, constituencies, and resources, that close observation and intelligent reflection can uncover. This book is a trove of such observation and reflection.
Drawing on meticulous research into institutional, cultural, and historical developments in Russia and eastern Central Europe, the articles in this book enrich our understanding of the openness and complexity of possibilities, some much harsher, others surprisingly less so, than originally envisaged. The book is a treasury of often counter-intuitive facts, detailed expert analyses, and closely-informed interpretation. It will inform area specialists, institutional designers, comparative legal, social and political theorists, and anyone with an interest in the largely unpredicted but increasingly unavoidable travails of constitutionalism and democracy—not just in the post-communist world, but in the modern world as a whole.”—Martin Krygier, Gordon Samuels Professor of Law and Social Theory, University of New South Wales; Honorary Professor, RegNet, Australian National University
“This volume offers important discussion of the difficult process of the establishment of liberal democracy and the rule of law almost from scratch. Its rich contents display profound insiders’ knowledge and methodological expertise, and they are both original and informative. This is a book for everyone who wishes to understand how difficult transformative system change turns out to be in practice, and how easily the foundations of liberal constitutionalism, the rule of law and the functioning public sphere could be damaged, in post-communist countries and beyond. In fact, the trends found in Eastern, and East Central Europe can be observed in other parts of the world, even in developed democracies, and the authors’ conclusions have broad explanatory relevance.
The comprehensive and up-to-date studies are very valuable in the context of contemporary discussions on the liberal constitutionalism and rule of law.”—Gra¿yna Sk¹pska, Professor, Institute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland