Democratizing Communist Militaries

The Cases of the Czech and Russian Armed Forces
Marybeth Peterson Ulrich
Discusses how we can help make formerly communist armies supporters of democracy


Military support for democratically elected governments in the states emerging from communism in eastern Europe and elsewhere is critically important to the survival of the new democracies. We have seen the military overthrow civilian governments in many states in Latin America and Africa. What can be done to promote support for democratic government in transitional states?

In a groundbreaking study, Marybeth Peterson Ulrich explores the attitudes of the leaders of the armed forces in Russia and the Czech Republic toward the new democratic governments and suggests ways in which we might encourage the development of politically neutral militaries in these states. Building on the work of Samuel Huntington and others on the relationship between the military and the state, the author suggests that norms of military professionalism must change if the armies in countries making a transition from communist rule are to become strong supporters of the democratic state. The Czech Republic and Russia are interesting cases, because they have had very different experiences in the transition; they have different geopolitical goals; and they experienced different military-civilian relationships during the Soviet period. The author also explores American and NATO programs to promote democratization in these militaries and suggests changes in the programs.

Marybeth Peterson Ulrich is Associate Professor of Government, U.S. Army War College.

Praise / Awards

  • "Provides a useful and valuable guide to an often overlooked aspect of post-Cold War international transitions: that of the vital transition of militaries from communism to democracy. . . . We do walk away with a heightened appreciation of the difficulties of the transition regimes."
    —Jonathan Adelman, American Political Science Review, Volume 95, No. 3
  • ". . . a welcome addition to the literature on civil-military relations and democratization in postcommunist states."
    —Brian Taylor, University of Oklahoma, Governance, Volume 15: No. 2 (July 2002)
  • ". . . an impressive piece of scholarship and 'must reading' for academics, advanced students, as well as practitioners concerned with civil-military relations in the post-Cold War world."
    —Constantine P. Danopoulos, San Jose State University, Slavic Review, Spring 2001

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 312pp.
  • 16 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10969-2

Add to Cart
  • $94.95 U.S.