Consolidating democratic transitions

In Russia, however, the consequences of a corrupted process of privatization of state assets were enormously damaging for the institutionalization of democracy.

As was shown in a number of countries in the 1970s and 1980s, a strong civil society can play an important role in a nation's transition to democracy.

After a brief period of electoral democracy in the 1930s, military coups took control of the nation.

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Brazil, which is the largest country in South America and fifth largest country in the world, is also a political and economic leader in its continent.

However, among the many nascent Latin American democracies, Brazil's road to democracy was the most challenging (Linz and Stepan, 1996, p 166).

Its democratization (1974-89) followed a cyclical pattern which alternated back and forth between quasi-democratic and authoritarian systems (Huntington, 1991, p 41).

In the 20th century, Brazil embarked on the path to electoral democracy, which was led by Vargas, the elected President.

However, his rule plagued Brazil with several rebellions caused by military officers, the spread of communism across the country, and brutal tortures by government agents.

Yet the withering of democracy and the consolidation of a semi-authoritarian regime followed the period of competitive elections in Russia.

In the early and mid-1990s scholars who had specialized in the study of communist regimes warned that the post-communist states would need to carry out radical economic and social changes as well as sweeping political transformation.

One will be surprised and wonder how Brazil's long period of authoritarianism under the reign of three capable leaders, Branco, Silva, and Medici's leadership sparked a possible shift to a democracy.

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