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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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The Unintended Consequence of the Struggle for Independence: The transition to democracy in the Baltic Countries

Federico Matías Rossi

Type: Working Paper
Year: 2012

The Baltic countries’ struggle was for independence more than any other thing. The achievement of democracy was a by-product of the secessionist project of increasing autonomy from Moscow. A possible explanation for this could be that representative democracy became an implicit and obvious ideal regime for the elites and local populations. As for the successes of the independence movements in the Baltic countries, five crucial events paved the way for independence as the only exit strategy for the Baltic SSRs. First, Gorbachev promoted the mobilization of civil society, expecting support for his reform program, but miscalculating the relevance of nationalism for the Soviet Republics. Second, after mobilization had become widespread, Gorbachev lost the opportunity to build the USSR as a confederation because he refused to accept that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was illegal. Third, this issue, plus the failure of attempts to repress mobilizations, led to increased unification among all the mobilized sectors, in turn leading to a two-million-strong human chain protest. Fourth, the first multiparty elections in the Baltic countries saw a clear majority support the pro-independence groups, allowing for a quick and institutionalized process of secession. Finally, after the failed coup against Gorbachev the project of a voluntary federation collapsed, making independence a de jure fact since the correlation of power favoured Yeltsin’s decentralization model.

EUI SPS - Cosmos Working Paper 2012/11

2012WP11COSMOS

News

25/08/2017

Donatella Della Porta con Yanis Varoufakis alla 13esima conferenza ESA

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Wednesday, August 30th (8pm-9.30pm) professor della Porta, who directs the Center on Social Movement Studies(Cosmos), will dialogue with Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Minister of Finance during the first Tsipras government, about the future of Europe and the social consequences of neoliberal economies

08/06/2017

Call for Papers - Cosmos Conference "The Contentious Politics of Higher Education. Student Movements in Late Neoliberalism"

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The Centre on Social Movement Studies, directed by Professor Donatella Della Porta, calls for papers addressing the recent global wave of student protests for a two-days conference to bel held in Florence, at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), on 15-16 November 2017.

19/05/2017

Video available for the International Conference – Beyond Borders: Refugees and Struggles in Europe Mobilization, Solidarity and Political Challenges in the Long Summer of Migration

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Watch the video of the International Conference – Beyond Borders, which was held at Palazzo Strozzi on May 12, 2017

Publications

Monograph - 2018

Social Movements and Civil War : When Protests for Democratization Fail

Donatella della Porta, Teije Hidde Donker , Bogumila Hall , Emin Poljarevic
This book investigates the origins of civil wars which emerge from failed attempts at democratization. The main aim of this volume is to develop a theoretical explanation of the conditions under which and the mechanisms through which social movements' struggles for democracy ends up in civil war.

Journal Article - 2017

Successful student activism in contemporary Italian universities

Lorenzo Cini
This article assesses the strategies that the Italian student activists adopted in order to influence the revision process of the governance structure of their universities in 2011