The breakup of the Soviet Union led to the emergence of 15 states which are trying to create democratic institutions. Based on Latin American experience, most analysts argue that the combination of presidentialism and proportional representation leads to democratic failure. Yet few of the Soviet successor states have chosen pure parliamentarism. I argue that the experience of the post World War I Russian successor states provides a better framework for examining the democratization of these new states because they were trying to build democracy under similar conditions. Their experience indicates that the choice of PR and semi-presidentialism does not necessarily doom democracy.

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