Eastern Europe Publications

300. The Slovak Presidential Elections: The Final Defeat of Meciarism?

Jul 07, 2011
June 2004 - Despite Slovakia's remarkable progress in political and economic reforms since 1998, considerable alarm was raised last April when, just weeks before the country's accession to the European Union (EU), it appeared that the very man who was blamed for Slovakia's international isolation in the mid-1990s could win the presidency. While serving as prime minister, Vladimir Meciar's controversial political and economic policies prevented Slovakia from joining the first wave of countries to accede to NATO and from starting accession negotiations with the EU. Meciar ultimately failed in the second round of the presidential elections, but the high level of popular support he continues to enjoy remains a subject of concern. Still, as those elections demonstrated, the prospect of Meciar's return to high politics appears unlikely, given the polarizing effect he has on the Slovak population and the reluctance of other politicians to cooperate with him. In addition, signs of "Meciarism," characterized by the use of populism, nationalism and clientelism as ways of winning and maintaining political support, appear to be diminishing on the political scene. The future of Meciar and Meciarism clearly depends not so much on Meciar himself but on his competitors and their ability to move society forward. more

136. Present Day Hungarian Politics and The Memory of 1956

Jul 07, 2011
March 1997 - October-November 1956 witnessed the most momentous events in Hungarian history since 1848, according to Istvan Deak, but they escape an agreed definition despite remaining a defining memory. The debate in Hungary over the events of 1956 even extends to what to call them, with "revolution and struggle for freedom" being the current compromise. Deak, the Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University and a former Wilson Center Fellow, began his Noon Discussion on 12 March by reviewing the way the 1956 revolution has been treated in Hungary from the Communist to the post-Communist period. To bring his audience up to date on the political debate and the current best understanding of what happened, he concluded with his impressions from the fortieth anniversary conference held in Budapest in September 1996. The meeting was cosponsored by the Center's Cold War International History Project, the Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the National Security Archive. more

222. Europe and the Politics of Minority Rights

Jul 07, 2011
December 2000- The current priorities of the office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM), headed by Max Van der Stoel, are problems in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Ukraine, Central Asia and Yugoslavia. What is most notable is what is not on the list. Since it's establishment in 1993, the HCNM has concentrated on ethnic tensions in Slovakia, Romania, and the Baltic States. None of these states remain on the current list of priorities. While this does not mean that the problems have been solved, it is a sign that minority politics in much of Eastern Europe has moved into the arena of "normal politics." more

284. Military Capabilities of the Central Europeans: What Can They Contribute to the Stabilization of Iraq?

Jul 07, 2011
Among the three new NATO allies, only Poland has both the potential and the political will to meaningfully contribute to the stabilization mission in Iraq. In comparison, the Hungarian and Czech contributions have been and will likely remain small, limited to the symbolic troop deployment to the Polish and British zones, the continued access to Hungarian air space and the deployment of the Czech hospital assigned to the operation. Unlike the Hungarian and Czech governments, where support for US policy in Iraq has been quite tenuous, Poland has consistently backed the US position on Iraq despite increased friction with Germany—its core European partner. The Polish government has also been willing to back its political support with a substantial military contribution. Arguably, Poland has promised to deploy and command forces abroad that exceed the country's actual military capacity. more

64. The Poles and Their Past: Society, Historiography and the Legislation Process

Jul 07, 2011
The Polish nation had experienced both Nazism and communism. These were not equal experiences, and social memory about them differs to a considerable degree. In order to perform such an operation, it would be necessary to halt history in June 1941. Since it is impossible to stop history in order to examine the period from mid-September 1939 to June 1941, it is helpful, as this article does, to study Polish recollections of their experiences so as to understand their continued impact on national history and memory. more

205. Montenegro: Prospects for the Yugoslav Federation

Jul 07, 2011
May 2000 - In the early nineties, during the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the international community supported the independence of all of its six constituent republics. Four republics - Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia - became independent states. The remaining two other republics, Serbia and Montenegro, created the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in April 1992. One month later the new state, driven by international sanctions, fell prey to isolation. In a referendum, held in March 1992, a majority of the citizens of Montenegro voted for co-existence with Serbia in a new common Federal state. more

268. Spillover Effect: Aftershocks in Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia

Jul 07, 2011
January 2003- This essay challenges the conventional wisdom that there are definite "lessons" to be drawn from NATO's war over Kosovo. To the contrary, the Kosovo intervention offers a number of compelling (and often contradictory) implications that should concern — and may even confound — serious analysts and policymakers. At best, the most reasonable conclusion in the after-math of the war is that the lessons of Kosovo are terminally ambiguous. While the intent here is not to promote a specific solution or set of policy recommendations, there does exist a broad problem-set of dynamics that were, and are, driving forces in the shaping, analysis and future direction of the European security architecture. Attempts to explain conflict that focus too narrowly on ethnic differences, or too broadly evoke human justice as grounds for intervention, will consistently miss the strategic mark. more

350. Is Kosovo a Precedent? Secession, Self-Determination and Conflict Resolution

Jul 07, 2011
June 2008 - This essay reflects the main points that made at a June EES meeting on the question of a "Kosovo precedent." It considers the legal issues implicated by Kosovo's declaration of independence and the subsequent recognition by various states of Kosovo as an independent country. It also tries to set out the differences between political and legal precedent and how we may frame arguments about what Kosovo means in terms of these two different uses "precedent." It also includes short updates to reflect recent events. more

48. The De-Germanization of the Budapest Stage

Jul 07, 2011
The shift from a German to a Hungarian theater culture has been told in different ways: This author analyzes three examples of this: 1) the nationalist linguistic focus on the making of texts and the theater as a forum for Magyarization; 2) the National Theater in Budapest as an institution-the building itself as an icon of Hungarian political identity; and 3) the role of the crowd in diffusing the significance of the theater, now simply one voice in the multiplicity of the metropolis. 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.