Democracy promotion in the countries of the former Soviet Union is now a well-established policy in many Western institutions.
For more than two decades, the European Union (EU), the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and even the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have developed specific tools and policies aimed at supporting and assessing democratization processes in this region.
The outcome of these efforts has been far from homogeneous or clear, and the transition is far from being a linear process. The current context, in 2017, presents these institutions and Western societies with important questions regarding the relevance of old policies and practices. Is democracy promotion worth-while in a contested international setting? Under accusations of false universalism and self-interest by Western states and institutions, is there intrinsic worth in supporting democracy and human rights abroad? Can meaningful partnerships be established with elites and societies in Eurasia to make democracy a local reality?
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Licinia Simão is an Assistant Professor at the University of Coimbra in Portugal and an EDSN Fellow. EDSN is an international project of the Center for Social Sciences, Tbilisi, and made possible with generous funding from the National Endowment for Democracy.