About That Decline in EU Contributions to UN Peacekeeping

A couple of days ago, Ambassador Samantha Power, the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, gave a speech on peacekeeping in Brussels that, among other things, lamented a decline in the participation of European personnel in UN peacekeeping missions:

Twenty years ago, European countries were leaders in UN peacekeeping. 25,000 troops from European militaries served in UN peacekeeping operations – more than 40 percent of blue helmets at the time. Yet today, with UN troop demands at an all-time high of more than 90,000 troops, fewer than 6,000 European troops are serving in UN peacekeeping missions. That is less than 7 percent of UN troops.

The same day, Mark Leon Goldberg wrote a post for UN Dispatch (here) that echoed Ambassador Power’s remarks and visualized her point with a chart that was promptly tweeted by the US Mission to the UN:

Percentage of western European Troops in UN Peacekeeping missions (source: UN Dispatch)

When I saw that chart, I wondered if it might be a little misleading. As Ambassador Power noted in her remarks, the number of troops deployed as UN peacekeepers has increased significantly in recent years. With so much growth in the size of the pool, changes in the share of that pool contributed by EU members could result from declining contributions, but they could also result from no change, or from slower growth in EU contributions relative to other countries.

To see which it was, I used data from the International Peace Institute’s Providing for Peacekeeping Project to plot monthly personnel contributions from late 1991 to early 2014 for EU members and all other countries. Here’s what I got (and here is the R script I used to get there):

Monthly UN PKO personnel totals by country of origin, Nov 1991-Feb 2014

Monthly UN PKO personnel totals by country of origin, November 1991-February 2014

To me, that chart tells a different story than the one Ambassador Power and UN Dispatch describe. Instead of a sharp decline in European contributions over the past 20 years, we see a few-year surge in the early 1990s followed by a fairly constant level of EU member contributions since then. There’s even a mini-surge in 2005–2006 followed by a slow and steady return to the average level after that.

In her remarks, Ambassador Power compared Europe’s participation now to 20 years ago. Twenty years ago—late 1994 and early 1995—just happens to be the absolute peak of EU contributions. Not coincidentally, that peak coincided with the deployment of a UN PKO in Europe, the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to which European countries contributed the bulk of the troops. In other words, when UN peacekeeping was focused on Europe, EU members contributed most of the troops. As the UN has expanded its peacekeeping operations around the world (see here for current info), EU member states haven’t really reduced their participation; instead, other countries have greatly increased theirs.

We can and should argue about how much peacekeeping the UN should try to do, and what various countries should contribute to those efforts. After looking at European participation from another angle, though, I’m not sure it’s fair to criticize EU members for “declining” involvement in the task.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering like I was, here’s a comparison of personnel contributions from EU members to ones from the United States over that same period. The US pays the largest share, but on the dimension Ambassador Power and UN Dispatch chose to spotlight—troop contributions—it offers very little.


Monthly UN PKO personnel totals by country of origin, November 1991-February 2014

In Praise of a Measured Response to the Ukraine Crisis

Yesterday afternoon, I tweeted that the Obama administration wasn’t getting enough credit for its measured response to the Ukraine crisis so far, asserting that sanctions were really hurting Russia and noting that “we”—by which I meant the United States—were not directly at war.

Not long after I said that, someone I follow tweeted that he hadn’t seen a compelling explanation of how sanctions are supposed to work in this case. That’s an important question, and one I also haven’t seen or heard answered in depth. I don’t know how U.S. or European officials see this process beyond what they say in public, but I thought I would try to spell out the logic as a way to back up my own assertion in support of the approach the U.S. and its allies have pursued so far.

I’ll start by clarifying what I’m talking about. When I say “Ukraine crisis,” I am referring to the tensions created by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its evident and ongoing support for a separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine. These actions are only the latest in a long series of interactions with the U.S. and Europe in Russia’s “near abroad,” but their extremity and the aggressive rhetoric and action that has accompanied them have sharply amplified tensions between the larger powers that abut Ukraine on either side. For the first time in a while, there has been open talk of a shooting war between Russia and NATO. Whatever you make of the events that led to it and however you assign credit or blame for them, this state of affairs represents a significant and undesirable escalation.

Faced with this crisis, the U.S. and its NATO allies have three basic options: compel, cajole, or impel.

Compel in this case means to push Russia out of Ukraine by force—in other words, to go to war. So far, the U.S. and Europe appear to have concluded—correctly, in my opinion—that Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine does not warrant a direct military response. The likely and possible costs of war between two nuclear powers are simply too great to bear for the sake of Ukraine’s autonomy or territorial integrity.

Cajoling would mean persuading Russian leaders to reverse course through positive incentives—carrots of some kind. It’s hard to imagine what the U.S. and E.U. could offer that would have the desired effect, however. Russian leaders consider Ukraine a vital interest, and the West has nothing comparably valuable to offer in exchange. More important, the act of making such an offer would reward Russia for its aggression, setting a precedent that could encourage Russia to grab for more and could also affect other country’s perceptions of the U.S.’s tolerance for seizures of territory.

That leaves impel—to impose costs on Russia to the point where its leaders feel obliged to change course. The chief tool that U.S. and European leaders have to impose costs on Russia are economic and financial sanctions. Those leaders are using this tool, and it seems to be having the desired effect. Sanctions are encouraging capital flight, raising the costs of borrowing, increasing inflation, and slowing Russia’s already-anemic economic growth (see here and here for some details). Investors, bankers, and consumers are partly responding to the specific constraints of sanctions, but they are also responding to the broader economic uncertainty associated with those sanctions and the threat of wider war they imply. “It’s pure geopolitical risk,” one analyst told Bloomberg.

These costs can directly and indirectly shape Russian policy. They can directly affect Russian policy if and as the present leadership comes to view them as unbearable, or at least not worth the trade-offs against other policy objectives. That seems unlikely in the short term but increasingly likely over the long term, if the sanctions are sustained and markets continue to react so negatively. Sustained capital flight, rising inflation, and slower growth will gradually shrink Russia’s domestic policy options and its international power by eroding its fiscal health, and at some point these costs should come to outweigh the putative gains of territorial expansion and stronger leverage over Ukrainian policy.

These costs can also indirectly affect Russian policy by increasing the risk of internal instability. In authoritarian regimes, significant reforms usually occur in the face of popular unrest that may or may not be egged on by elites who defect from the ruling coalition. We are already seeing signs of infighting among regime insiders, and rising inflation and slowing growth should increase the probability of popular unrest.

To date, sanctions have not dented Putin’s soaring approval rating, but social unrest is not a referendum. Unrest only requires a small but motivated segment of the population to get started, and once it starts, its very occurrence can help persuade others to follow. I still wouldn’t bet on Putin’s downfall in the near future, but I believe the threat of significant domestic instability is rising, and I think that Putin & co. will eventually care more about this domestic risk than the rewards of continued adventurism abroad. In fact, I think we see some evidence that Putin & co. are already worrying more about this risk in their ever-expanding crackdown on domestic media and their recent moves to strengthen punishment for unauthorized street rallies and, ironically, calls for separatism. Even if this mobilization does not come, the increased threat of it should weigh on the Russian administration’s decision-making.

In my tweet on the topic, I credited the Obama administration for using measured rhetoric and shrewd policy in response to this crisis. Importantly, though, the success of this approach also depends heavily on cooperation among the U.S. and the E.U., and that seems to be happening. It’s not clear who deserves the credit for driving this process, but as one anonymous tweeter pointed out, the downing of flight MH17 appears to have played a role in deepening it.

Concerns are growing that sanctions may, in a sense, be too successful. Some observers fear that apparent capitulation to the U.S. and Europe would cost Russian leaders too much at home at a time when nationalist fervor has reached fever pitch. Confronted with a choice between wider war abroad or a veritable lynch mob at home, Putin & co. will, they argue, choose the former.

I think that this line of reasoning overstates the extent to which the Russian administration’s hands are tied at home. Putin & co. are arguably no more captive to the reinvigorated radical-nationalist fringe than they were to the liberal fringe that briefly threatened to oust them after the last presidential election.

Still, it is at least a plausible scenario, and the U.S. and E.U. have to be prepared for the possibility that Russian aggression will get worse before it gets better. This is where rhetorical and logistical efforts to bolster NATO are so important, and that’s just what NATO has been doing. NATO is predicated on a promise of collective defense; an attack on any one member state is regarded as an attack on all. By strengthening Russian policy-makers’ beliefs that this promise is credible, NATO can lead them to fear that escalations beyond certain thresholds will carry extreme costs and even threaten their very survival. So far, that’s just what the alliance has been doing with a steady flow of words and actions. Russian policy-makers could still choose wider war for various reasons, but theory and experience suggest that they are less likely to do so than they would be in the absence of this response.

In sum, given a short menu of unpalatable options, I think that the Obama administration and its European allies have chosen the best line of action and, so far, made the most of it. To expect Russia quickly to reverse course by withdrawing from Crimea and stopping its rabble-rousing in eastern Ukraine without being compelled by force to do so is unrealistic. The steady, measured approach the U.S. and E.U. have adopted appears to be having the intended effects. Russia could still react to the rising structural pressures on it by lashing out, but NATO is taking careful steps to discourage that response and to prepare for it if it comes. Under such lousy circumstances, I think this is about as well as we could expect the Obama administration and its E.U. counterparts to do.

Will Democracy Survive in Europe? Part 1

In writings on foreign affairs for popular audiences, there’s a whole sub-genre that can be identified by the tagline: “It’s impossible to predict; now let me offer a prediction.” These stories usually drive me crazy, but Jack Snyder–of democracies-can-also-be-belligerent renown, if there’s such a thing as renown in the microscopic world of popularized political science–recently delivered an unusually successful one with an essay on the future of China. In it, he writes:

Predicting China’s future is a seemingly impossible task that people choose to take on anyway…People want to know because they feel their lives—and their actions—depend on it. Having a vision of possible and likely futures of China matters because outsiders think their choices might affect China’s trajectory and because they want to be prepared to respond to China’s outsize presence.

The same could be said of the future of democracy in Europe. Will democracy survive in the European Union’s Cold War-era members in the face of tremendous economic and social pressures, the likes of which the continent arguably hasn’t seen since the last World War? It’s impossible to say for sure; now let me try anyway.

Snyder’s piece on China works better than most because he considers competing predictions; he is explicit about the theories generating those predictions; and he tries to base his adjudication of those competing predictions on evidence from careful studies. That’s the model I’m going to attempt to follow here.

Like China’s trajectory, the survival of democracy in Europe carries historic weight for the whole planet. The failure of democracy in any one of these countries would mark a momentous turn in a world where liberalism is supposedly ascendant, and Europe is liberalism’s geographic center of gravity. At the same time, the survival of these democratic regimes in the face of such extreme pressures would help exorcise the specter of fascism that has haunted European politics since the 1930s.

Available theories suggest different futures. The dominant take on democratic consolidation among American political scientists comes from modernization theory, which posits that rich countries with post-industrial economies have undergone certain social and cultural changes that effectively “lock in” democracy. The eminent scholar Adam Przeworski famously claims that democracy has never failed in a country with a per capita income higher than Argentina’s in 1973, and Ron Inglehart and Christian Welzel muster survey data to show that the political and economic transformations underlying that factoid correlate with changes in citizens’ beliefs and values in more liberal directions.

There are at least two knocks on this theory, though. First, there are some recent exceptions to Przeworski’s rule of thumb, and they suggest that the innoculative effects of socio-economic modernization may not be as powerful as modernization theorists have supposed. Thailand is one, and Hungary is another. According to Angus Maddison’s widely used estimates, in constant dollars, Argentina’s GDP per capita in 1973 was $7,962. When Thailand’s democratically elected government was swept aside by a military coup in 2006, its GDP per capita was $8,238. Ironically, that figure had stood at $7,886 the year before, meaning Thailand only crossed the Argentina-in-1973 threshold in the same year its democracy was usurped. Hungary didn’t cut it so close. As it has slid back into authoritarian rule in the past year and a half, its GDP per capita was roughly twice as large as Argentina’s in 1973, having crossed Przeworski’s virtual finish line sometime in the mid-1990s.

Second–and, in my view, more significant–all of the data on which this “iron law” of democratic consolidation is based come from a specific historical era that was arguably exceptional in some important regards. Modernization theory was formulated in a period of bipolar world politics in which the threat of apocalyptic war with the Soviet Union compelled an unprecedented degree of political cooperation in Western Europe. That bipolarity coincided with a period of global economic integration and liberalization that was driven in no small part by the deliberate efforts of policy-makers in the polar power with which Europe was aligned.

When we use cross-national data to look back on this era, we see a strong correlation between wealth, liberal values, and democracy. What we lack is the counterfactual history in which these socio-economic trends occurred without the supporting international architecture. Without that “control group” world, we can’t be confident that the observed patterns in democratic consolidation don’t depend on features of the international system that are no longer present.

One major alternative to modernization theory as a lens for looking at present-day Europe comes from theories emphasizing the effects of economic performance on the risk of democratic breakdown. This perspective is nicely summarized by Larry Diamond, who in the late 1990s asserted that, “It is by now a truism that the better the performance of a democratic regime in producing and broadly distributing improvements in living standards, the more likely it is to endure.”

The causal chains in mental models emphasizing the effects of economic performance generally run through popular legitimacy. The trouble starts when economic malaise erodes popular confidence in the ability of democracy to “deliver the goods.” As faith in democracy wanes, support for authoritarian alternatives waxes. Economic slumps can also produce social unrest that may tempt military leaders to seize power in an attempt to preserve or impose order.

Or so the thinking goes. In fact, the empirical evidence is a bit squishy on this point. Some statistical studies have confirmed this claim, but others have not. Importantly, in the statistical models these studies have produced, any increased risk associated with slow growth is overwhelmed by the effects of national wealth, so that rich countries appear to be “cured” of their vulnerability to democratic breakdown in response to poor economic performance. This immunity is implicit in my own research, where I only see increased risk of breakdown when I restrict the analysis to non-OECD countries. This immunity is made more explicit in Milan Svolik’s split-population modeling, which shows that economic recessions do affect the timing of democratic breakdowns, but only in countries where democracy has not yet consolidated. Among consolidated democracies–identified primarily by their high levels of per capita income–the risk of democratic breakdown is virtually nil, however the economy is performing.

As I read it, then, the empirical evidence on economic performance actually ends up supporting the “lock-in” argument from the modernization model. In the period covered by our cross-national data sets, recessions have sometimes helped to undo new democracies, but wealthy, long-established democracies like Europe’s have proved immune to these maladies.

Again, though, what we can’t learn from these theories and the studies that have tested them is the extent to which this pattern depends on the geopolitical peculiarities of the past half-century–or, for that matter, some other system-level feature I’ve failed to consider. That, to my mind, is where we reach the limits of current evidence. Statistical studies of the Cold War and post-Cold War periods can reassure us that we’ve never seen a democracy as rich and long-lived as the ones in the E.U. before enlargement fail before, and they can show that these democracies haven’t been vulnerable to coups and collapse in the way that newer and poorer democracies have. What they can’t tell us is whether this year is now different. Within the system those studies have examined, Western Europe’s democracies have proved to be resilient–but are we still inhabiting that system, or has the world changed in ways that re-open the door to democratic breakdown? To try to answer that question, historically informed speculation is the best we can muster.

This post is the first of a two-parter. I split it up because I know my attention starts to wander after 1,000 words, so I figure yours probably does, too. In Part 2, I’ll apply my own game-theoretic model of democratic consolidation to contemporary Europe to see where it leads.

How Does Hungary Get Back to Democracy?

At the start of the 2012, Hungary arguably became the first European Union (EU) member state to slide from democracy back into authoritarian rule. Per a story in Tuesday’s Christian Science Monitor,

In the past year, Hungary has undergone an extraordinary consolidation of power by President [sic: he’s prime minister] Orban. No other nation in Europe has made such sweeping and overnight change in its basic laws and approach, and with little public consultation. The culminating event came Jan. 1 with a new Constitution that boldly favors the ruling party and has many European leaders shaking their heads.

The details of Hungary’s backslide have been documented so thoroughly elsewhere–see especially Kim Lane Scheppele‘s writings here and here–that I’m not going to dwell on them. I will say that it’s still unclear to me whether or not these changes go so far that we can now say Hungary is no longer a democracy. The Fidesz government has used its super-majority in parliament to diminish many of the constraints on its executive authority and to lay the groundwork for unfair elections in the future, but it has followed the law to get there, and the sitting government was chosen in elections that were free and fair. The real concern is what this all means for future elections and governments. In Scheppele’s words,

In a democracy, the population can “throw the bums out” and replace the government with a different one that can change the policies that do not have public support. But that will be nearly impossible under this constitution. In addition to compromising institutions that are necessary for a free and fair election – like a free press and a neutral election apparatus – the new constitution embeds Fidesz control even if another political party defies the odds and wins an election.

For purposes of this post, I’m going to assume that Fidesz’s critics are right, that Hungary’s national government has become the democratic equivalent of a “dead man walking.” Instead of splitting conceptual hairs, I’m going to focus here on why Hungary’s backslide is so surprising, and where it might be headed.

Hungary’s slide is surprising because it contradicts the few things that most political scientists thought they knew about when and why democracies break down. For starters, Hungary’s reversal violates the “iron rule” identified by Adam Przeworski and his co-authors that democracies above a certain wealth threshold never fail; in global historical terms, Hungary is a rich country. Fidesz’s creeping coup also puts to the lie all talk of how membership in the European Union would “lock in” democratic gains in the countries that threw off Communist rule after the Iron Curtain fell. We also know that democracies which have already weathered at least one alternation of the party in power are much more likely to survive than ones that haven’t, and Hungary had already seen two turnovers in government since 1990.

So Hungary has upended conventional thinking about democratic consolidation. Now the question is: How soon can Hungary get back to (unambiguous) democracy? I hate to say it, but I’m skeptical that it will happen soon, because I just can’t see a short and clear path to that end.

Opposition parties have already taken to the streets to protest Fidesz‘s creeping coup, but it’s hard to see how demonstrations will soon restore the democracy that has been lost. These protests are undoubtedly important for calling attention to the reversals and building organized opposition to them. Short of seizing power, however, the protesters can’t actually effect a return to democracy. Restoring democracy in Hungary will require new laws, if not a new constitution, and the restocking of various government offices. To make those kinds of changes, you have to actually hold power. Absent a revolution, then, elections are the only real mechanism for ousting Fidesz and reversing its “reforms.” But elections aren’t supposed to happen again until 2014, and the changes Fidesz has imposed will steeply tilt the playing field in those elections in its own favor. (That was, in fact, their point.)

If Fidesz’s domestic opponents can’t force a restoration of democracy, the European Union (EU) might try its hand. In theory, EU membership spurred the consolidation of democracy in post-Communist countries through a mix of positive and negative incentives, or “carrots” and “sticks.” On the positive side, these “emerging-market” countries were thought to prize EU membership because it conveyed a variety of economic benefits, including direct subsidies. On the negative side, they were expected to fear expulsion that would eliminate those benefits if they backtracked in their commitment to democracy.

Clearly, positive reinforcement alone was not sufficient. The question now is whether the sticks the EU might wield are sufficiently menacing to compel the desired response. I’m doubtful. Absent a provocation as clear as a coup d’etat; without precedent to draw on; and in the midst of a financial crisis that’s already threatening to tear the union apart, I suspect it’s going to be hard for the EU membership to agree on drawing a bright line in response to Fidesz’s consolidation of power. Given the current economic and political disarray in Europe, it’s not even clear who needs whom the most. The EU’s executive branch is already threatening to pursue a legal challenge if Hungary doesn’t undo some of its recent constitutional changes, but that process would take many months under the best of circumstances, and its outcome would be uncertain.

It saddens me to say it, but I just don’t see a quick path back to democracy in Hungary. I have no doubt that Fidesz will eventually fall from power, and that democracy will eventually be restored there. I just don’t see how it happens before 2014 elections at the earliest. I would love to hear from Hungarians or Hungary-watchers who are more optimistic than I about the current state of affairs or prospects for a speedy reversal. In the meantime, Hungary’s tumble offers sad confirmation of something I wrote in my book on democratic consolidation (p. 16):

There is no magical set of conditions under which democracy becomes permanent and the risk of failure is therefore zero. As other scholars have observed, there do appear to be conditions under which the persistence of democracy becomes an equilibrium from which actors are highly unlikely to deviate. That persistence should not be confused with permanence, however, and even in the world’s oldest democracies, there exists at least the possibility that unexpected shocks to the system or an accumulation of other processes could lead to authoritarian rule.

Resistible Force Meets Immovable Object

How’s this for a nerdy parlor game… Guess which country is being described in these three snippets from a preliminary statement by international observers about recent elections:

Most candidates and party representatives whom [international election observers] met said vote-buying was a major and widespread problem, but were unable to provide concrete information or evidence substantiating their concerns. The Ministry of Interior informed that investigations into a number of suspected cases of vote-buying had been opened. Regardless of the veracity of the allegations of vote-buying, their pervasiveness diminished trust in the fairness of the election process. Some opposition parties and candidates also claimed that pressure had been put on some of their municipal candidates and supporters. These allegations usually referred to threats of job loss or pressure through inspections of businesses owned by candidates or their relatives.

The number of voters registered for the presidential election totaled 6,933,748, and 6,514,917 for the municipal elections. According to the 2011 census, [Country X’s] population is 7,364,570. The ratio between the number of inhabitants and the voting-age population raises concern.

Interlocutors expressed concerns about the political balance of election commissions and that the law does not guarantee opposition parties to be adequately represented in leadership positions. The meetings of the [Central Election Commission] were closed to the public and to election stakeholders, thus reducing transparency.

Answer: Bulgaria!

Given the small size of the OSCE election observation mission involved and observers’ general tendency to downplay abuses in “transitional” cases, I suspect these and other concerns identified in the report are hinting at some real and serious flaws. Intimidated voters and inflated voter rolls are a far cry from the violent attacks and outright fraud that bedevil elections in some “developing” countries, but Bulgaria is not any old “developing” country; it has been a member of NATO since 2004 and the European Union since 2007.

In the 1990s, Western officials argued that conditional expansions of NATO and the EU would encourage reforms in candidates for membership and then help lock in those reforms once the new members had joined. None of those organizations’ new members has suffered a democratic collapse, but as Bulgaria’s electoral troubles show, some of those new members have also failed to reach the point where that kind of collapse seems out of the question.

Why is democracy still fragile under these, arguably the most auspicious, conditions? There’s a substantial academic literature on EU membership and democratization that I won’t try to summarize here, beyond waving my hand in the general direction of the collected works of Geoffrey Pridham and Milada Vachudova as a starting point.

Instead, I’ll stick to the general and say that I think the Bulgarian experience shows how hard it is to overcome organizational and institutional legacies that conflict with democratic practices, even in cases where the incentives to do so appear to be strongest. In Bulgaria, a core problem is the deep involvement of organized crime in politics. As one Bulgarian parliamentarian told the New York Times in 2008, “Other countries have the mafia. In Bulgaria, the mafia has the country.” The story goes on:

The United States helped Bulgaria into NATO, has rotated troops through for joint exercises since 2004 and has tried to encourage commerce, education and democracy. It has just announced that it will invest more than $90 million in facilities and equipment for joint use in military exercises. The European Union, eager to improve the lives of the 7.5 million Bulgarians, has promised 11 billion euros, or nearly $15 billion, in aid.

Far from halting crime and violence, the money effectively spread the corruption. Once Bulgaria’s shady businessmen realized how much European Union money was at stake, said many of Sofia’s advocates for reform, they moved from buying off politicians to being directly involved in politics themselves.

The nation’s homegrown mobs of men in black–the “mutri,” or mugs–control construction projects in city halls. And questionable business networks have moved from declining black markets for smuggled cigarettes and alcohol to legal investments in booming real estate. They have made their mark on the capital’s atmosphere: men nicknamed “thick necks” for their muscular appearance linger in neon-lighted nightclubs like Sin City and Lipstick, or keep watch over Mercedes jeeps and Audis outside. Sofia guidebooks offer tips: Avoid restaurants that draw businessmen with four or more bodyguards. Now, men like this are muscling into public office.

These criminal networks trace their roots to the collapse of Communist rule in 1989, and the corruption they have sown is directly linked to the kinds of electoral malfeasance the OSCE is still seeing more than 20 years later. According to that 2008 New York Times article,

Admission to the European Union did not halt the carnage, but emboldened a power grab. According to corruption fighters and election observers, votes can be traded, depending on the town, for marijuana cigarettes or sold for up to 100 leva, or $69. People document their votes by taking pictures of their ballots with their cellphone cameras, according to Iva Pushkarova, executive director of the Bulgarian Judges Association. “They trade votes freely on the streets, kill and threaten people with no shame,” Ms. Pushkarova said.

If entrenched interests can resist and distort large investments in democracy promotion this effectively inside the European Union, just imagine how hard the task must be elsewhere.

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