Eastern Europe Publications

306. The End of Postcommunism

Jul 07, 2011
September 2004 - On May 1, 2004, ten countries joined the European Union (EU). On the day of the accession, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary all had Central-Left governments in power. One day later, Leszek Miller, the Polish premier was forced to resign. In June, Czech social democrat Prime Minister, Vladimir Spidla followed suit, and in August, the head of the Center-Left government of Hungary, Peter Medgyessy, was also forced to resign. "Too weak," "lacks energy," "cannot communicate effectively"—these were some of the accusations lodged against them. In spite of the fact that all three leaders where very popular at the beginning of their terms, it appeared that the initial success of their materialist-redistributive politics faded quickly. None of these countries was in bad shape economically—on the contrary, they were experiencing economic booms—yet political observers sensed that there was a crisis in the leadership. This situation had clear ties to EU accession. A national consensus supported the European accession almost everywhere: EU membership seemed logical and would clearly serve the common good. So, once the long-held goal of EU accession was achieved, why did these governments collapse? Was it just coincidence that all three were replaced by much younger prime ministers with very different outlooks from their predecessors? The answers to these questions are directly related to the fact that EU enlargement has brought the region to a new stage in its development, and one in which the former communists need to redefine their political roles. Indeed, this stage could be interpreted as the end of postcommunism. more

9. Debating the Nature of Dissent in Eastern Europe

Jul 07, 2011
In the past generation so much has happened in this region that many of the old categories of description and analysis were sterile, perhaps redundant. Not only had new issues arisen about which little had been written in the West, but the very terms in which social debate in Eastern Europe is now undertaken have undergone radical transformation. Some fresh overall assessment of these changes is called for. This paper has been confined to one theme, albeit central; the emergence of new forms of opposition and dissent in this region over the past decade. more

151. Russian Policy on NATO Expansion In The Baltics

Jul 07, 2011
January 1998 - One of the key issues in the debate over NATO enlargement is the question of the relationship between NATO and the Baltic states and how an expansion of the alliance would affect Russia's relations with Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. While it is clear that the Baltic states will not be entering NATO anytime soon, it is worth noting that the arguments of those who opposed NATO's enlargement because of its impact on Russia have already been proven wrong. more

290. Ethnic Cleansing, Communism and Environmental Devastation in Post-War Czechoslovakia

Jul 07, 2011
January 2004 - In the aftermath of World War II, Czechoslovakia expelled close to three million ethnic Germans into occupied Austria and Germany. These so-called Sudeten Germans had long lived in borderland regions ringing the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, with the heaviest concentration inhabiting the industrially advanced north and west of Bohemia. During and after the expulsions, over two million Czechs settled in the formerly German areas, taking over houses, businesses and factories. The popular Communist Party controlled the resettlement process from the beginning in 1945, using its influence to create a web of patronage in the borderlands. This helped the Party win over 50 percent of the vote in north Bohemia in free elections in May of 1946. Even before Stalinism took hold in Czechoslovakia in 1948, north Bohemia's coal mining, power production and chemical industry were renowned. With the onset of a Communist policy of heavy industrialization, north Bohemia's industry became a model for the entire country. By the 1960s, north Bohemia also became known for its almost unrivaled pollution, with air and water so foul that trees died in waves and children decamped to the mountains for doses of clean air. more

133. Bulgaria's Best and Worst of Times

Jul 07, 2011
March 1997 - Two March meetings at the Wilson Center outlined the economic catastrophe and unprecedented political promise which have crowded into this small country. The political promise, only in part the consequence of catastrophe, must fulfill the long-delayed privatization of major enterprises and banks and construction of an iron-clad framework for legal business and transform the Bulgarian economy. Its partial criminalization over the past few years makes the legal framework, as John Lampe's recent trip reminded him, a crucial priority. Only full-scale reform will allow the economy to service its present foreign debt, attract private investment, and mobilize its domestic resources, human as well as financial. more

274. One Hypothesis on the Different Outcomes of Soviet and Yugoslav State Collapse

Jul 07, 2011
In 1991, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia—two multinational Communist federal states with comparable histories of indigenous revolutions and similar nationality policies—disintegrated. As the only two countries that fully implemented the system of ethno-territorial federalism, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia shared important structural features. In both cases, the basic political-administrative units—the republics—were organized along ethnic lines and were seen as the quasi-national homelands of the titular nations. more

356. Strengthening US-Slovak Cooperation and the Transatlantic Partnership: Opportunities and Challenges in Today's World

Jul 07, 2011
November 2008 - For Slovakia and for our friend and neighbor the Czech Republic, autumn is a good time of balancing out, commemorating and remembering many common historical events that determined the future for both of our countries. This particular autumn is marked by a growing number of global challenges, including the global financial crisis and recession which require bold and comprehensive global solutions. At the same time, for the USA and the whole world, this autumn is a time of much hope and expectation, given the presidential elections and accession of the new U.S. administration in January 2009. more

61. MAP Reading: NATO's and Russia's Pathways to European Military Integration

Jul 07, 2011
As part of NATO’s and Europe’s continuing and open-ended processes of enlargement and military-political integration, in 1999, NATO presented aspiring members with a Membership Action Plan (MAP) to guide them in their activities preparing their governments and armed forces for membership in NATO. The MAP, if fulfilled according to NATO's requirements and approbation, allegedly would make the aspiring members’ military forces more nearly congruent or interoperable with NATO forces. With this document, NATO has arguably created its own version of the EU's acquis communautaire “against which the Alliance can assess the technical preparations and capacities of the nine MAP partners and judge their readiness for membership.” more

202. The Elements of Poland's Success in its Regional Context Summary

Jul 07, 2011
May 2000 - In its essentials, Poland was an East European communist country like any other. Like its fellow Soviet-bloc members, Poland had distinctive features, but its path to 1989 is best explained in terms of specific developments over the previous decade. Under repression since 1981, Solidarity had proved its staying power as the regime's necessary negotiating partner. Conversely the economic reforms of the 1980s had failed in their main objective - to bypass Solidarity. By creating some nomenklatura capitalism however, these economic reforms instilled in the communists the confidence that they could subsist in a Poland they did not entirely control. Consequently, the communist elite could genuinely negotiate with Solidarity. Both sides felt the need but also the strength to compromise. more

258. Ten Years After: Bosnia-Herzegovina on the Tenth Anniversary of the Outbreak of War

Jul 07, 2011
April 2002- The legacy of the war in Bosnia, ten years after, is deeply ambivalent. There is peace in Bosnia, and as far as one can see, no one is preparing for a new war. This is an immense achievement. The new Bosnia, however, has yet to come to terms with itself. There is a danger that the country will become a destitute backwater now that the era of massive foreign aid and reconstruction is coming to a close. What this means for the people of Bosnia, who remain at odds over the nature of their new country, remains unclear. Many, of course, will seek to leave, robbing the country of its most valuable resource its young, its educated, and its talented citizens. more

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Dialogue

The Future of Higher Education

Mar 26, 2014Apr 02, 2014

Jeff Abernathy and Richard Morrill discuss how colleges and universities are dealing with rapidly rising costs and how the United States can still compete for students in a globalized environment.