Author(s): Želimir Kešetović, Goran J. Mandić
Subject(s): Government/Political systems, Security and defense, Developing nations, Inter-Ethnic Relations, Ethnic Minorities Studies
Published by: Институт за политичке студије
Keywords: crisis; crisis management; countries in transition;

Summary/Abstract: Emergencies, crises and disasters have become part of daily life in today’s “risk society” with very serious consequences and high cost in human lives, material losses, environmental degradation and symbolic damage they cause to human communities. Due to various reasons of systemic nature, societies in transition are particularly vulnerable to crises. In addition, the crisis in these countries are significantly politicized and media-exploited what, with the fundamental tensions between domestic (national) and European (and / or Western) standards, rules, routines and habits in terms of how to act in a specific situation or in what direction it is necessary to reorganize the structures and institutions responsible for crisis management. Republic of Slovenia has developed a relatively effective system of crisis management, although of course there is still much room for improvement of the strategies of crisis management and linking the different elements of crisis planning and preparedness. The system of response is flexible and actors of crisis management are motivated and empathize with the victims. They also display a high level of voluntarism. In major emergencies relations between the different local, regional and national, military and non-military actors at the operational level are not always quite clear and are occasionally followed by certain tensions and confusion regarding responsibilities and competences. The process of decision-making and leadership practice are in many cases contrary to the rules and procedures planned, with the switch of responsibility or simply its assuming, accompanied by improvisation and ad hoc solutions. The media in crisis situations have an ambivalent role, torn between commercial interests and social responsibilities. Like in other countries in transition the crises in Slovenia often have a tendency of politicization, but unlike some other countries there is no expressed tension between national and European values. Building a crisis management system in Latvia took place in conditions of profound political, economic and social changes in the context of its relations with Russia. After the establishment of independence the decision-makers try to overcome the system of civil security designed and built after the Soviet model and get the civil defense out of military structures, but these efforts are limited by a lack of resources and a kind of political-administrative indecisiveness. The inertia of the old system with incomplete comprehensive system of crisis management proves to be a serious problem in terms of the existence of the media who are no longer under the party control. Structural factors that have conditioned the frequent crisis are inadequate and unstable regulation and institutionalization, limited resources, weakening infrastructure, the shadow of authoritarianism, changing media culture, ethnic tensions and “infected” external relations. The old institutions and regulatory arrangements get rejected or incorporated in a radically altered institutional and political context. Segmented and uneven process of legal and political reform leaves gaps and a political-economic imbalance, which facilitates the incubation of crisis. Crises management is significantly hampered by inherited mistrust between Latvia and Russia, and a particular challenge in this aspect is the lack of tact and political wisdom in treating significant Russian minority in Latvia. In building a system of crisis management, Bulgaria rather wanders in institutional and legislative terms, not successfully using the opportunity to learn from the mistakes made in responding to and managing crises. For a long time the country is trying to get rid of the Cold War paradigm and militarized structures of crisis management, but with an unclear vision of development and priorities, and no integrated approach to this problem. Attempts are being made to harmonize national legislation and establish specific procedures, mechanisms and optimum conditions for crisis response in line with European and international standards, but there is still duplication of tasks and functions between the different bodies and agencies, the system is in important respects obsolete and outdated, so that a multiple revision is needed in the light of new social, political and economic conditions. The problem is the constant lack of resources and funds of state institutions, which affects the structure of crisis management, as well as other government institutions, as well as the unclear relationship between civil servants and political decision makers.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 387-404
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: Serbian