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  • Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Between the late 1980s and the late 2000s, many countries in Southeast Asia were viewed, by global democracy analysts and Southeast Asians themselves, as leading examples of democratization in the developing world. By the late 2000s, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore all were ranked as "free" or "partly free" by the monitoring organization Freedom House, while Cambodia and, perhaps most surprisingly, Myanmar had both taken sizable steps toward democracy as well. Yet since the late 2000s, Southeast Asia's democratization has stalled and, in some of the region's most economically and strategically important nations, gone into reverse. Over the past ten years, Thailand has undergone a rapid and severe regression from democracy and is now ruled by a junta. Malaysia's democratic institutions and culture have regressed as well, with the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition cracking down on dissent and trying to destroy what had been an emerging, and increasingly stable, two-party system. Singapore's transition toward contested politics has stalled. In Cambodia and Myanmar, hopes for dramatic democratic change have fizzled. Only the Philippines and Indonesia have stayed on track, but even in these two countries democratic consolidation is threatened by the persistence of graft, public distrust of democratic institutions, and continued meddling in politics by militaries.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Mathea Falco
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On May 30, 2003, the Burmese military regime orchestrated violent attacks by progovernment militia on Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), and her supporters as they traveled outside Mandalay. At least four of her bodyguards were killed, as were a significant number of others. She has been in prison since then. Following the attacks, the regime arrested more than 100 democracy activists, imprisoned at least a dozen, shut down NLD offices across the country, and closed schools and universities. This is the bloodiest confrontation between Burma's military rulers and democracy supporters since 1988, when the government suppressed a popular uprising against the regime and thousands were killed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Asia, Burma
  • Author: David L. Phillips
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Republic of Georgia suffers from pervasive problems. Popular frustrations boiled over after the November 2, 2003, parliamentary elections, which international observers determined were fraudulent. Facing mass protests and civil disobedience, President Eduard Shevardnadze resigned. The so-called revolution of roses culminated in a peaceful transfer of power when Mikhail Saakashvili assumed the presidency after receiving 96 percent of the vote in a special ballot on January 4, 2004.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Asia, Georgia
  • Author: Nina Khrushcheva
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: One goal of Russia's economic reforms during the last ten years has been to establish a new class of businessmen and owners of private property—people who could form the foundation for a new model post-Soviet citizen. However, the experience of this post-communist economic “revolution” has turned out to be very different from the original expectations. For as people became disillusioned with communism due to its broken promises, the words “democracy” and “reform” quickly became equally as unbearable to large sectors of the Russian public after 1991. Such disillusion was achieved in less than ten years—a record revolutionary burnout that would be the envy of any anti-Bolshevik.
  • Topic: Communism, Democratization, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union