On 15-16 November 2002, the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law of the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University sponsored a workshop in Stanford, CA on "Regime Transitions from Communist Rule in Comparative Perspective." Over 40 individuals attended the workshop, including many notable American and international scholars. The six individual sessions of the workshop examined a variety of issues: the transitions model two decades later; whether transitions from communist rule are distinctive; theoretical perspectives seeking to explain the variation in outcome among post-communist regimes; and regional perspectives examining the variation in outcome in Central and Eastern Europe, the Slavic Region, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. The workshop also sought to determine whether there is a compelling intellectual rationale for a larger scale, multi-year project on transitions from communism or if the workshop itself represented the capstone event.
The workshop was organized by Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Michael McFaul, Hoover Institution and Political Science, and Gail Lapidus, Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Studies. Workshop participants included scholars at many of the leading political science and government departments in the United States, as well as scholars associated with international academic institutions, governments, and development organizations. This report summarizes the presentations given as part of the workshop, and the discussion that followed. Every effort has been made to portray accurately the range of opinions expressed; however, space and organizational considerations resulted in omissions and paraphrasing. Kathryn Ducceschi, who served as a rapporteur during the meeting with John Cieslewicz, authored this document, and the workshop organizers served as editors.
Any errors in fact or interpretation should be attributed to the author and the editors.