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Lankina, Tomila; Libman, Alexander (2019): Soviet Legacies of Economic Development, Oligarchic Rule, and Electoral Quality in Eastern Europe's Partial Democracies: The Case of Ukraine. In: Comparative Politics, Vol. 52, No. 1
Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.

Abstract

Can economic development retard democracy, defying expectations of classic modernization theorizing? If so, under what conditions? Our article addresses the puzzle of poor democratic performance in highly urbanized and industrialized post-communist states. We assembled an original dataset with data from Ukraine's local and national elections and constructed district-(rayon) and region-(oblast) level indices of electoral quality. Regions and districts that score higher on developmental indices also score lower on electoral quality, including in Ukraine's Western regions conventionally considered more democratic than the predominantly Russian-speaking Eastern regions. We explain these outcomes with reference to the peculiarities of Soviet industrial development, which facilitated the emergence of "oligarchs" in territories housing Soviet-era mega-industries. Our research contributes to comparative debates about the links between economic development and democracy.