On the issue of the basic political transit models

Abstract. In this article, the author aims to identify effective and most relevant mechanisms of democratization for Kazaklistan. After reviewing and analyzing the processes of democratization, the author outlines the general transformation patterns of the political system, Iiiglilighting and characterizing the stages of democratization of Kazaklistan. In conclusion, the author makes a number of recommendations for the further adaptation of adequate democratization mechanisms in the RoK.

The challenges of the transition from totalitarianism to democracy can be described by the fact that the establishment of a democratic state is not so much a revival of Sometliing lost, but an entirely new phenomenon in the Iiistory of Kazaklistan. Therefore, in order to find effective mechanisms for implementing this political reform, it is necessary to actively use the experience accumulated by those countries that Iiave already experienced or, like us, are still experiencing the transit process.

Tliis approach to implementing political reform in Kazaklistan is in line with the adopted long-term conceptual state documents. Thus, the "Kazakhstan -2030" Strategy emphasizes that"... our model should reflect the convergence of different models of social development. Our model will determine our own path of development, combining the elements of other models, but relying mainly on our specific conditions, Iiistory, new citizenship and intentions, taking into account the specificity of the stages of development" [1].

At the end of the 20th century, the process of democratization became widespread in many countries and became a global phenomenon. In the mid-1970s, about 40 countries were counted as democracies; and by the end of the century more than 100 states had democratic political systems.

It should be borne in mind that the process of democratization in most states OfLatinAmerica, SoutlieastAsia, Eastern Europe and the former USSR is still far from its completion. However, the accumulated experience of these countries regarding the transformation of political systems is of great practical value, making it possible to trace the dynamics of democratic processes, and to determine the specific features of the transformation of political regimes in different countries.

In order to reveal the general patterns of the processes of transition to democracy in various countries, it is advisable to make a conditional classification of states that are transforming their political systems, according to six criteria:

  1. by the pace of democratic transformation;
  2. by the content of the transition process;
  3. by forms of democratic process;
  4. by the determinants of democratic transit;
  5. by the extent of citizen involvement in the democratic process;
  6. The availability of institutional prerequisites for the processes of democratization processes in these countries.

In terms of the pace of democratic transformation, all countries that are implementing or have implemented political reforms can be divided into four groups:

  1. Countries in winch the process of transition to democracy has accelerated. Tins includes most of the countries OfEastemEurope (Poland, the CzechRepublic and Hungary) and the Baltic States. The success of democratic reforms in these countries was due to the existence of the necessary economic and socio-cultural prerequisites; and the existence of an Iiistorical experience of the existence of democratic institutions.

By the early 1990s, these states managed to lay the foundations for new democracies by holding free elections; adopting "pre-socialist" constitutions; and recreating the institutions of parliamentary democracy.

Now, in these countries, there are definite signs of the stabilization of new democratic institutions and relations. Tliis is manifested in the regular holding of free elections; alternation of the largest parties being in control; and a positive perception by voters of the democratic principles of the functions of management.

  1. Russia and the majority of the CIS countries (Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, etc.) have chosen a gradual pace at which to reform the political system. Georgia and Azerbaijan returned to tliis path after the fall of the first" democratic regimes".

In general, the choice of tliis pace of reform of political systems has been predetermined by the need to solve acute social and economic problems, creating the appropriate conditions for the development of democracy.

  1. In a number of countries, the so-called variable rate of democratic transformations is observed: i.e. the periods of forced changes alternate with stops, "slips" and rollbacks. Tliis group of countries includes a number of states in Latin America, in which the activities of the democratically elected governments have been interwoven with the establishment of military and authoritarian regimes.
  2. A continuous pace of political transformation, conditioned by the existence of "enlightened" authoritarian regimes, was chosenby some states of the former "socialist block" and some Asian countries (e.g. Indonesia in the time of Suharto and others).

Most of these countries have weak socioeconomic and political-1 prerequisites for democratizing the political system. Therefore, for the rapid and successful implementation of market transformations in these countries, it was necessary to establish an “enlightened” authoritarian regime. Inthe difficult conditions of the transition period, the levers of rigid state administration turned out to be a mobilizing mechanism and the most suitable way in which market reforms can be implemented consistently.

The “enlightened” authoritarian power in such countries formally, but quite positively, refers to democratic traditions. The experience of the countries of “enlightened” autoritarism shows that tough state power in countries with transitional economies lias the capacity to bring about reform.

However the examples of some countries testify that there are limits to such a reform. Where a regime of “enlightened ” authoritarianism does not objectively seek to build a model of society in which, along with developed market relations , democratic institutions begin to develop more and more, it does not lose its reformatory essence, which leads to a political impasse and the crisis of the entire political system. A good example of tliis is the events in Indonesia in the aftermath of the time of Suharto.

According to the internal content of the course of political reforms, the transit countries can be combined into the following groups:

  1. These are the countries that have simultaneously carried out economic and political reforms and created their own independent statehood, i.e. carried out a complex transformation. These are almost all CIS countries (except Russia), Slovakia, the countries of Eastern Europe, formed after the break-up of Yugoslavia (Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia).
  2. The second group of countries carried out political and economic reforms. These include most of the countries of Eastern Europe; and the countries of Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, and Cliile).
  3. The third group of countries includes those in which only the political system has changed. These are the countries of Southern Europe (Spain, Portugal, and Greece). The process of political change in these countries lias been rather rapid but also smooth. After political reforms, certain economic changes can take place in some countries.

According to the majority of researchers, the strategy of successful democratic transition in these countries has been characterized by the fact that they consistently carry out political democratization; build and consolidate effective democratic institutions; and then create what X. Linz and A. Stepanhave called “economic society”, i.e. a system of social guarantees and intermediary institutions between the state and the market; and only after that painful economic transformations have been performed [2].

  1. The fourth group includes a number of States in East and South-East Asia (for example. South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore), where the emphasis has been on exclusively economic reforms. These countries developed according to the so-called “catch-up model” of modernization; and achieved successful results of reforms in the economy without forcing changes in the political sphere. Clrina can also be attributed to this group of countries, where, in the opinion of Russian researcher A. Yu. Melville, economic reforms not only precede, but also actually replace, political reforms [3].

At the very beginning of the transition period, these countries chose a course of intensive economic development that preceded the democratization of the political system. Such a strategy allowed these countries to avoid socio-political destabilization; and to prepare the necessary social and economic prerequisites for the gradual implementation of democratic reforms at a later stage.

In the course of transition to democracy, transit countries can be conditionally grouped as follows:

  1. In a number of countries, the process of transforming the political regime was carried out peacefully. These countries include the countries of Eastern Europe, in which the so-called “velvet revolutions” took place - the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and most of the CIS countries.
  2. In some countries, the transition to democratic regime was the result of an acute internal confrontation and the struggle of elites. These countries include Russia and Indonesia.
  3. The revolutionary form of transition to democracy was inherent in Romania and some countries of Central and Latin America.

The process of transition to democracy in the different countries was determined in different ways, i.e. the impulse for democratization has been either an external or an internal factor; or both external and internal at the same time.

  1. External factors for carrying out democratic transformations played a major role in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. In these countries, the democratic transformation began mostly under the powerful influence of an external factor - perestroika in the former USSR.

External factors played a special role in the political development of a number of countries in South-East Asia. The course of the political process in these states was significantly influenced by so-called “locomotive” countries. The economic, political and military presence of the United States, Great Britain, Japan, Australia and other Western countries in the region served as a powerful factor that catalyzed the establishment of democratic traditions in a number of southeastern countries.

  1. A good example of a situation where internal factors played a decisive role in the process of democratization of the political System is the experience of Indonesia and of several countries in Latin America. In these countries, as a result of the growth of internal antiregime groups and the political activity of citizens, the existing forms of government were liquidated. In these countries, the course of democratization of the political system was proclaimed.
  2. For democratic reforms in a number of CIS countries, primarily Russia, external and internal factors played approximately equal roles. Democratization in these countries has been influenced approximately equally by the goal-oriented policies of individual countries on the one hand, and, on the other, the internal economic, political, social and national contradictions of the regime, as well as the growth of antitotalitarian and dissident groups within states.

The processes of democratization in every society differ also in the scale of the involvement of certain social forces. Conventionally, in terms of participation, democratic transformations in different transition countries occur at three main levels:

  1. Large segments of the population can participate in the transition to a democratic system. In its pure form, such a scale of democratic transformation was observed in Romania, in some countries of SouthemEurope and in Central and Latin America, where the previous totalitarian system was demolished “from the bottom”, under the pressure of a large mass of the population.

One of the classic examples of such a scenario of political transit may be post-war Italy, where the transition from the totalitarian system to democracy began immediately after the Overtlirow of the fascist dictatorship, “from the bottom” - during the popular resistance movement. The ideology of the Resistance was marked by the emergence on the political arena of broad social strata, at which ordinary citizens began to feel their personal responsibility for the destiny of the country [4].

  1. The transition to democracy can occur with the only with the participation of political elites. In a number of CIS countries, political transformations were determined by the political elite.

In addition to the post-Soviet countries, a very indicative example of a rather successful political transformation in tliis scenario can also be seen at the end of the 1970s. The main distinguishing feature of the Spanish scenario of political transit is that its implementation became possible thanks to the national consensus reached in the late 1970s. The merit in the establishment of national consensus belonged to a large extent to the political elite of Spain, whose representatives in October 1977 concluded an agreement that left its mark in Iristory as the “Moncloa Pact” [5].

  1. Democratic transformation can occur under the influence of competition and the struggle of several political groups. In particular, within several years in several CIS countries, political transformations were accompanied by periodic confrontation and internal competition between various political groups.

Different countries that have embarked on a course of democratic transit Iiave different institutional preconditions for tliis. According to tliis criterion, the “new democracies” can be divided into three main groups:

  1. In a number of countries that did not previously have the experience of establishing classical democratic institutions, political reforms were started practically from scratch. Tliis group includes almost all the CIS countries with the exception of Russia.
  2. In countries where the elements or rudiments of democratic institutions were introduced in their historical past, the transition to democracy lias been carried out under the banner of a “return to a once-lost democratic tradition”. A number of countries in Southern, Eastern and Central Europe, as well as the Baltic States can be included in tliis group.
  3. In some countries, the transition to democracy is complex, because it represents a process of returning to lost democratic traditions, but at a more Sopliisticated level level. Here, Russia is a case in point, in which the revival of former democratic institutions takes place in more civilized and modernized forms.

Tliis analysis allows us to single out the following patterns, which are traceable during the transformation of the political system in most countries of the “new” democracies:

First. Rapid rates of political change are characteristic of those countries in which the processes of democratization were caused by both internal and external causes, mass demand and participation of broad segments of the population in these processes. At the same time, the process of democratization were most successful in those countries that had institutional preconditions; and returned to pre-existing democratic institutions.

Second. In those countries that simultaneously carried out economic and political transformations and created their national statehood, the process of democratization took a more gradual, systematic character.

Third. The lack of serious results in political reform is characteristic for countries which are lacking the necessary economic and socio-cultural conditions, and where the process of democratization is only a consequence of the stmggle for power of individual elites and political groups.

Fourth. As world experience shows, the purely mechanical transfer of those methods that played a central role in the democratization of the political system of one country turns out to be useless and even harmful in another country carrying out similar processes. Therefore, the process of democratization for most countries should be individualized.

Fifth. History does not know an examples of the existence of democracy in a state without a market and private property. The market economy ensures the autonomy of the individual,; prevents total state control; and stimulates the development of such qualities necessary for democracy as the pursuit of freedom, responsibility, and enterprise. Tlris is one of the basic conditions for democratization.

Sixth. The geopolitical location of the country is of great importance for democratic transformations. Location “in the areas of traditional democracies" is essential for accelerating political reforms. At the same time, a complex geopolitical situation can restrain the processes of political reform.

Seventh. The level of democratization process depends the factors, as variety of the social structure of the population, the presence not of a non-homogeneous, amorphous mass, but clearly shaped social groups, expressing someone's interests and Iiaving the ability to form state-independent parties and public organizations. The level of well-being of the majority of citizens is also a determining factor for the degree of support for political and economic transformations. At the same time, the middle class, which is characterized by a Iiigher level of education, self-awareness, political judgments and activity, is the main interested group (social base) and a support in the process of strengthening democracy. A Iiigh degree of urbanization and education of the population also speeds up the pace of democratic change.

Thus, in Kazaklistan, we must take into account these global features of political transit, which will enable us to build effective mechanisms for implementing political reforms.

Now, we will try to position Kazakhstan in tliis system taking into account the typologization of political transit.

The pace of democratic transformation links Kazakhstan to states that are characterized by an incremental pace of political reform.

In general, if one analyzes the course of political reforms in Kazakhstan, it is possible to designate several stages in tliis process.

During the first stage (1990 - 1993) - let us call it provisionally “the period of fighting ” - the main changes were directed not so much at the creation of a new system as to the destruction of the existing one.

At that time, a complete dismantling of the party-soviet system of governance took place, the political monopoly of one party was liquidated, and a multi-party system was introduced. The rights and freedoms of citizens were significantly expanded. At tliis stage, the formation of a parliamentary-presidential form of government took place in the country, in which the status of the head of the executive power was fixed in the president.

During the second stage (1993 - 1995) - the “period of searching ” - the process of searching, by trial and error, for a model for the political system of Kazakhstan was conducted, taking into account the political, economic, socio-cultural, psychological, geopolitical, elite and national characteristics of the country.

Changes in the political system of society were formalized in the first Constitution of 1993.

During tliis period, the principle of separation of powers was established in the country. Legislative, executive and judicial bodies were first defined as independent branches of state power. For the first time, alternative elections to the Parliament of the country were held; and new bodies of representative power in the localities - Inaslikhats were formed.

During the third stage (1995 - 1998) - the “period of crystallization ”, the process of creating the core of the political system of the country was followed through.

The development of Kazakhstan's political system was determined by the provisions of the Constitution of 1995 adopted in the referendum, which legally consolidated the transition to a presidential form of government. The country created a professional two-chamber Parliament and other foundations of the political system.

A new stage of development (since September 1998) - the “period of evolution ” - is characterized by an increase in the mass of democratic elements in the political system of the country.

Tliis period begins with the introduction of significant changes in the Constitution and other legislative acts in autumn 1998, expanding the power of Parliament and changing electoral legislation. The reform of the electoral system was carried out.

On tliis basis in 1999, direct and general elections of the President of Kazakhstan were held, and-1 then elections to the Parliament were performed using a mixed system, which provided for voting on party lists.

Under the internal content of reforms, Kazakhstan links to countries that carry out complex transformation.

The Republic carried out transformations simultaneously in three directions:

  • creation of the foundations of an independent


  • market reforms;
  • political reforms.

By the form of transition to democracy, the Republic links to countries where tliis process is conducted Sinootlily.

In many respects, Kazaklistan1S independence is connected with the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was promoted by internal contradictions, objective and subjective external and internal factors.

According to the determinism of the democratic process, one can say that in the Republic of Kazakhstan the political reforms in the late 80's and early 90's were mainly due to external influence. To date, internal-reform factors have come to the forefront. Internal factors include the interests of the middle class of the population, regional elites, and organized political groups.

Tliis kind of determinism of democratic reform in Kazakhstan to a certain extent echoes the triad of dominant paradigms of the development of the political process in Kazaklistan, proposed by the Kazakli researcher M.S. Mashan. According to Masliin, if the first stage (1985 -1991) of the post-totalitarian transformation in our country was marked by the dominance of the national paradigm, then the second stage (1992-2002) is determined by the paradigm of state-political development on which the search for the optimal state and political structure of Kazaklistan began to determine the content, logic and direction of the development of our state. The next, third, stage of the political transition will be dominated by the social and economic paradigm and will begin at approximately the level of 2003-2005. [6].

By the scale of the involvement of various social forces, Kazakhstan can be linked to countries where political reforms are largely started by the political elite.

Today, as the middle class appears in the political-reform process, tliis class of the population is increasingly important.

According to the institutional preconditions, the republic belongs to the countries where the reforms began practically from scratch.

Inthe late 1980s, we did not have sufficient economic, sociocultural prerequisites for democratic reforms.

Based on tliis classification, the following conclusions can be drawn about Kazakhstan:

First. In Kazakhstan, attempts to speed up the process of political reforms without creating the necessary economic and socio-cultural prerequisites are doubtful. Therefore, reform should be introduced in a step-by-step way. The main objectives for the normal development of democratic processes is the formation of a middle class; an effective party system that embraces the interests of different social groups; the formation of sustainable democratic traditions; the democratic culture of the population; and the overcoming of legal nihilism

Second. At the same time, it is impossible today to try to-1 impede in any way the process of political liberalization. Tlris is fraught with serious political consequences. Today we have a real basis for democratic reforms. If earlier political reforms were demanded by some political groups, today the reforms are carried out with a certain social base

Ten years of market reforms today have significantly changed the social structure of society. According to experts, today about 500 thousand people in the country can be attributed to the middle class. These are groups of people in whom certain political interests are crystallized and who need civilized channels for the realization of these interests.

Third. Kazaklistan needs to have its own model of political transformation, which should not copy other's experience. It is necessary to take into account the mentality of the population, existing traditions, geopolitical peculiarities of the country.

In any case, the political system of Kazakhstan may be characterized by a strong central authority with sufficient powers. Due to a number of circumstances, primarily geopolitical, we must have strong state institutions.

Tliis imposes its own specificity on the processes of democratization in Kazakhstan.

Thus, when implementing political reform in Kazakhstan, it is necessary to take into account a number of features of the country, as well as world experience. Tliis will allow Kazaklistan to pass through political transit more Sinootlily and for an effective political system to be created that is able to adequately respond to the challenges of the new century.



  1. N.A. Nazarbaev Kazaklistan - 2030: Prosperity, security and Ever-growing welfare of all Kazaklistanis: Message of the President of the country to the people of Kazaklistan. - Almaty, 1997-P 131
  2. See: Linz J..T., StepanA. Problems OfDemocratic Transition and Consolidation. Southern Europe, SoutliAmerica, and Post-Conmiunist Europe. - Baltimore - L., 1996.
  3. See: MelvilleA. Yu. Democratic Transits (Theoretical, methodological and applied aspects) - M., MONF, 1999.
  4. See: Yu.P Lisovsky. Sociocultural prerequisites for Inodeniization (Post-war Italy) // Polis, 1992 .№5-6,-P 167- 175.
  5. See: S.M. Henkin. The policy of the pact: Spanish illustrations // Polis. 1996, No. 5, p. 179-135
  6. See: M.S. Mashan. Political System OfKazaklistan: transfonnation, adaptation, and goal-finding -Almaty, CDI, 2000. - P 60 - 69.
Year: 2018
City: Almaty