Democracy can be a lurching process, with the beginning clear but the end never near. Because democracies constantly adapt to endure, they can seem messy. Political campaigns and elections create a unique but fleeting flotsam of materials that capture this essence of democracy in action. The democratic experiment since the collapse of the Soviet Union is no different. Examples in Georgia and Ukraine demonstrate that democratic impulses still hold electoral sway in independent countries of the former USSR. Elections in these countries still remain one of the most important sources of information for outside scholars and analysts to gauge both evolving voter sentiment and tectonic electoral shifts as ruling parties and opposition groups put out reams of campaign materials to influence voters.
East View’s Social Movements, Elections and Ephemera series brings to the researcher an unprecedented collection of fleeting election material from countries of the former Soviet Union, preserved for easy digital access. Representing a vast repository of primary source material from both presidential and parliamentary elections, this series embodies a unique “first stop” for policy analysts and observers of electoral politics in the countries of the CIS. Central to this series is the unique election ephemera including party programs, propaganda materials, special newspaper editions, handbills, sticks, and literature produced by all political parties or candidates.
Examples of typical materials available by country and type of election (presidential or parliamentary) include:
The collection of these materials is done in primarily two ways:
After the collection of all the relevant materials, our staff analyzes and classifies what is central for the collection from what is tangential and lacks intrinsic research value. All significant materials are then scanned, “OCRd,” and converted into an archivable PDF with searchable metadata created for every item, including the date of the creation of the item (where available), the date and the location of when and where said item was obtained by East View, a brief descriptor of the item, the type of the item (poster, brochure, booklet etc.), as well as its size and the amount of pages the item contains. After the collection is uploaded into East View’s Universal Database platform, it is indexed to make the database searchable by type and by source. Finally, each item is assigned a permanent URL for citation purposes.