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Charla Waeiss ACF Abstract FY10

Transitional Justice: The Russian Problem and German Solutions

Conference Name: ISA-Midwest (Central Slavic Conference)

Since World War II, transitional justice has played an increasing role in democratization. The Nuremberg Trials in postwar Germany exemplify transitional justice as imposed by external actors. The release of the Stasi files in East Germany after 1989 show how internal actors can implement transitional justice. This paper examines the factors that led to transitional justice implementation and why similar policies have not been implemented in post-Soviet Russia, despite the Soviet Union’s imposition of transitional justice on postwar Germany. Such external factors did not exist for post-Soviet Russia, which leads one to question why internal factors, such as civil society or a leader initiating the policies were not existent either. Understanding the absence of such factors also helps us to trace why Russia’s democratization process essentially was stalled and failed.