When informal institutions change: institutional reforms and informal practices in the former Soviet Union

resc 8 nov

Convener: Dr Paul Chaisty

Speaker: Dr Huseyn Aliyev

What happens to informal institutions and practices when political actors decide to implement democratic institutional reforms aimed at relieving formal institutions of informal constraints? Does informality disappear, or do the elites and affected populations continue to apply and abide by informal rules? What do we know about the relationship between institutional reforms and informal institutions? This book seeks to improve our understanding of how, when, and under which conditions democratic institutional reforms affect informal institutions and practices in countries transitioning to democracy, also known as hybrid regimes. With an empirical focus on three transitional post-Soviet regimes—Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine—this book aims to explain the contentious relationship between democratic institutional reforms and informality in the broader post-Soviet context. These findings have implications not only for hybrid regimes, but also for the majority of other post-Soviet, as well as other post-communist, countries. This book engages with a large and growing body of literature on informal institutions and practices and offers theoretical insights relevant to comparative politics, democratization and institutional development studies, political sociology, human geography and political economy. 

Huseyn Aliyev is an Alexander von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Research Center for East European Studies (Forschungsstelle Osteuropa) at the University of Bremen, Germany. Previously he also worked as a Lecturer of Comparative Politics and Area Studies at the Department of Political Science of University of Bremen. He earned his PhD in Political Science from the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Huseyn is an author of ‘Post-Communist Civil Society and the Soviet Legacy: Challenges of Democratisation and Reform in the Caucasus' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). He also co-authored (with Emil Souleimanov) a monograph ‘Individual Disengagement of Avengers, Nationalists and Jihadists: Why Ex-Militants Choose to Abandon Violence in the North Caucasus’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). His most recent publications have appeared in International Security (2015), The Journal of Strategic Studies (2015), and Contemporary European Studies (2015). Huseyn’s current research interests are informal institutions and practices in post-communist societies, as well as armed conflicts both in the former Soviet Union and around the world.