Reviews

In preamble to a personal monograph currently in print (Authoritarian Backlash: Russian Resistance to Democratisation in the Former Soviet Union, Aldershot: Ashgate, forthcoming), the author examines how the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation seeks to undermine democratisation in Central Asia. The region’s authoritarian governments have come to utilise multinational cooperation in order to defend themselves against national, regional or global democratic trends. Both Russia and China have been serving as critical states (and regional hegemons as well) in outlining the maintenance of authoritarian regimes in Central Asia. The current development of regional norms alternative to those produced in the European Union and North America has already begun to exert a thorough negative impact on the prospects for democratisation in the region as a whole. The author insists on the numerous institutional specificities of the SCO, casting light on the fact that the existence of two dominant powers within its framework makes it very different from the ASEAN for instance, and probably ensures that the norms produced by Moscow and Beijing will have a disproportionate influence in Central Asia. He also suggests how Kyrgyzstan’s continued membership in the organisation and its unwillingness to advocate change elsewhere in the region are indicative of how the SCO has become established in a short period of time (even if it is likely that Kyrgyzstan does not have a realistic alternative to the SCO, unlike Georgia and Ukraine for which geography has facilitated their strategic shift westwards).

The Redaction
CER: II-7.4.A-618