international organizations, Slovenia
constitute the most successful post-communist economies. These two states are
likewise success stories when it comes to democratic consolidation and
state-building. Slovenia has opted for gradual market reforms
guided by social justice while Estonia
quickly reformed its Soviet economy into one of the most liberal in the world.
Still, I argue that their roots of success coincide. Crucial opportunities of
civil initiatives were never repressed in Slovenia
during the Communist period as in several other Yugoslav and Soviet republics.
Distinct national identities continued to form and re-form during these decades
and became deliberated rather than repressed, later strengthening reform
capacities in decisive areas. In Estonia, national identities were
further emphasized by ethically dubious processes that locked large
Russian-speaking minorities out of citizenship.
Bennich-Björkman is Johan Skytte professor in political science at University of Uppsala, Sweden. She has published on the
organisation of creativity, Organising
Innovative Research, (Elsevier/Pergamon Press, 1997), on educational policies,
integration and political culture. A dominant theme in her present research on Eastern Europe and post-Soviet States has been how
historical and cultural legacies relate to the divergent post-communist trajectories.
A particular focus has been on the three Baltic States.
Within this framework, Ukraine
has been included. Recent research activities have concerned the impact of the
European Union on elite values and political culture in Ukraine, Bulgaria
Her latest publication is a monograph published with Palgrave/Macmillan, Political Culture under Institutional
Pressure. How Institutions Transform Early Socialization, (2007), dealing mainly
with the Estonian Diaspora. Articles
have appeared in the Journal of Baltic Studies (2006), East European
Politics and Societies (2007) and Nationalities Papers (2007) as well as Higher Education
Quarterly (2007). Comparative state-building in Estonia and
Latvia was addressed in a recently
published volume on Building Democracy East of the Elbe (Routledge/Sage:2006).