About Andrew Wilson
Andrew Wilson is a Reader at University College London. He is the author of The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation (Yale, 2009). His latest book, Belarus – The Last European Dictatorship was published in October
Articles by Andrew Wilson
This week's guest editors
Crisis in Ukraine
Russia is one of those countries for which the economic crisis ought to be a blessing in disguise. Over the last boom decade, high energy prices have excused a multitude of pathologies: corruption got worse because there was more to steal; Putin brokered the creation of giant inefficient ‘national champions' that are a deadweight on the more productive parts of the economy; even Russia's one copper-bottomed asset, oil and gas, will decline in the future, as its giant energy companies like Gazprom and Rosneft have simply failed to invest enough to meet supply commitments.
Dmitry Medvedev has won his predictable landslide as the new president of Russia. His victory in the election of 2 March 2008 was never in doubt, given the Kremlin's preference for coronation over competition. The Kremlin even overcame earlier reservations about Medvedev outscoring the 64% won by the pro-Vladimir Putin political formation United Russia in the Duma elections of December 2007 (with Putin himself at the head of its list). The preliminary official result of the presidential poll gives Medvedev 70.2%, and his 52.2 million votes exceeds the 49.6 million Putin won in 2004.
It is now a commonplace to call Russia a "managed democracy", a "directed democracy", or worse. Commentators have also begun to write about the techniques by which post-Soviet democracies are "managed", known locally under the euphemism of "political technology" (see, for example, Ivan Krastev, "'Sovereign democracy', Russian-style", 16 November 2006).
Andrew Wilson is senior lecturer in Ukrainian studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), University College London. Among his books are The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation (Yale University Press, 2nd edition, 2002), Ukraine's Orange Revolution (Yale University Press, 2005), Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World (Yale University Press, 2005)
Also by Andrew Wilson in openDemocracy:
"Ukraine's crisis of governance"
(1 May 2007)This short article will examine three key changes since my book on the subject, Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World was finished in 2004. First, it looks at the effects of Ukraine's "orange revolution" of 2004-05, which was in origin a revolt against the manipulation of democracy. It has proven fatal to some types of political technology, but not to all. Second, the piece adds a few words about the development of so-called "counter-revolutionary technology", designed to prevent the spread of "coloured revolutions" to other post-Soviet states. Third, it looks at developments in Russia, where problems of over-management and taut control have now come to the fore.