Since the early 1970s, a ‘third wave’ of democratisation has swept the world. In the period 1972–94, the number of democratic political systems doubled from 44 to 107. One school has focused on the preconditions necessary for the emergence of stable democracy. A second school has centred its research on the transition process. Here, scholars argue that the very nature of the transition itself largely determines the success or failure of democratisation. A third school focuses on the period after the collapse of the old regime and the problems associated with the consolidation of democracy. This chapter notes the imbalance by moving the focus of research from the national level to the vitally important processes of institution building and democratisation at the local level and to the study of federalism in Russia.
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