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This text investigates and evaluates the developing political processes in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Lithuania, and Uzbekistan. Students will come to understand the newly formed political institutions in this region through comparison with other established democracies in Europe and North America, historical overviews of the Tsarist and Soviet periods, as well as summaries of socialist and communist philosophies. Comparative case studies explain the divergent paths taken since the break up of the Soviet Union and cover topics such as constitutional structures and the main institutions of government; the nature of society and political culture; and political participation and political parties. This approach helps students understand how decisions are actually made and how the allocation of resources occurs--through the intersections of politics, culture, the economy, and international influences.