Scholarly interest has recently shifted from issues of democratic transition to those of state formation and state viability. The paper reviews scholarly contributions to understanding state weakness and suggests criteria and indicators to capture stateness in the former Soviet region. It suggests a preliminary ranking of the post-Soviet states along dimensions of national order, economic efficiency and political viability. The paper hypothesizes a causal mechanism through which state development in the region may occur by incorporating both structural and policy-related factors. It concludes that most states in the region can only be characterized as weak, and their urge to become modern is therefore yet to materialize.

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