Another Dawisha and Parrott collection, this time focusing on Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, and potentially having the subtitle of "What can go wrong with democratisation".
Remembering that this dates from roughly 1997 (although some of the research was done earlier), the three chapters on Russian matters are more than a little too optimistic. I'll admit that nobody saw Putin coming at this point, but it really does make for sobering reading to see assessments reading roughly "if we see a President hand over power at the end of an election, it will represent a big step", and then remember that that's precisely what we've not seen yet...
The chapters on the other republics are pretty much spot on. Belarus was already descending into "dementia", as the author terms it having become a complete basket case since, and the weakness of both Moldova and Ukraine has been shown in the decades since.
The abiding sense here us "what might have been", as all four states considered here had every chance to move in a very different direction but haven't (yet, though Ukraine and Moldova are showing promising signs) done so. Times like these, I'm glad my connections are with other parts of the region.
#interlibraryloan from #griffithuniversity, who have a truly obnoxiously short loan period.