Eastern Europe Publications

307. The Internationalization of Minority Rights in Poscommunist Europe

Jul 07, 2011
November 2004 - Over the past 15 years, a fascinating experiment has taken place in Europe regarding the codification of minority rights. As communism collapsed in 1989, several ethnic conflicts broke out in the Caucuses and Balkans, and commentators feared that ethnic violence would spiral out of control throughout Central and Eastern Europe. In response, Western democracies decided to "internationalize" the treatment of national minorities in postcommunist Europe, creating a pan-European regime to monitor whether countries are meeting European standards in the treatment of their minorities. Some of these standards have been formulated by the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)–a position established in 1993. Other standards were formulated by the Council of Europe (COE) in its 1995 "Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities." Complying with these OSCE and COE standards is required for countries to ‘join the West,' and in particular to join the European Union (EU) and NATO. more

56. Comparing Clans in Hungary and Russia

Jul 07, 2011
Relying on the metaphors of plan and clan, this essay endeavors to show the similarities and differences in Hungarian and Russian paths and will evaluate the starting points, factors, processes and outcomes of post-communist transformation in Hungary and Russia. Focusing on clientelistic privatization and corruption networks, as well as on forces countervailing clandestine relationships, the author argues that whereas “clans for market” proved to be an accurate description of Hungary’s development, this interpretation is hardly applicable to Russia. The Russian-style clans endangered market building and prepared the reemergence of “clans for plan.” The following discussion will address what these opposite trajectories may mean for Hungary and Russia, as well as for the world at large. more

197. Post-Tudjman Croatia: Time to Rethink Western Policy

Jul 07, 2011
February 2000 - The U.S. has a tendency to repeatedly back the worst of candidates in foreign elections. This is especially true in Eastern Europe where high marks are given for the candidate's ability to be charming, speak good English and wear deodorant but who otherwise have zero effectiveness in their own societies. more

343. Bulgaria's First Year in the European Union: Progress, Problems and Pessimism

Jul 07, 2011
December 2007 - Western attention in Southeastern Europe is focused on Kosovo, Bosnia and the surrounding Western Balkans. But, I ask that some attention also be paid to neighboring Bulgaria. This core state of the historical Ottoman Balkans is completing its first year as a member of the European Union and its fourth year as a member of NATO. I resist the temptation of dwelling on how unlikely this prospect seemed when I first went to Sofia as a young Foreign Service Officer some 40 years ago. Now, with the same special interest in wider economic prospects and the same domestic pessimism about its own political process that has repeatedly surfaced over the past century, Bulgarians should nonetheless be looking back with satisfaction on their initial year as a full member of the largest common organization in European history. On a personal level, a Bulgarian friend traveling to Italy welcomed the smile and a wave that replaced a scowl and a Schengen visa check at the Rome airport. Some 60 percent of Bulgaria's foreign trade is now with the EU, and as a new member, it is expecting 11 billion euros of adjustment assistance over the next six years. But before turning to the clouds that I found gathering over Sofia, let me first address the silver lining. more

291. Building Local Democracy under Conditions of Uncertainty in Kosovo

Jul 07, 2011
January 2004 - Over the past decade, international organizations and development NGOs have broadened their efforts to nurture democratic governance from the centers of power in capital cities to local government. Local government is the first tier of public authority that people confront in their everyday lives. Good local governance provides services to diverse populations, facilitates the development of political institutions and cross cutting social networks and fosters economic development. At the same time, effective local government has the capacity to resolve conflicts at an early stage, preventing them from escalating into violence. In this light, the circumstances enhancing the sustainability of post-conflict local democracy command great interest. more

40. "External Transformation" in the Post-Communist Economies: Overview and Progress

Jul 07, 2011
Transforming external regimes has proven to be one of the most problematic aspects of the economic transition in the former Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) countries. These difficulties result both from internal factors such as the all too frequent failure of macroeconomic stabilization programs and from external factors such as the collapse of Soviet-era multinational integration mechanisms. This paper analyzes how, at the macroeconomic level, large declines in regional trade flows during 1990-93 have reinforced the macroeconomic perturbations buffeting the post-Communist economies, while at the microeconomic level, difficulties encountered in sustaining trade liberalization and making currencies more convertible have weakened demonopolizing tendencies and hurt prospects for integration into the international economy. more

280. The European Union, the Balkans and Turkey: Can "Soft Power" Bring Stability and Democracy

Jul 07, 2011
October 2003 - The European Union (EU) is widely recognized as the international actor with the most potential influence in promoting ethnic reconciliation, shoring up democracy and supporting the economic revitalization of the Balkans. The EU's influence is immediate—providing humanitarian aid, economic assistance, market access and political support. It is also long-term—shaping the tenor of domestic politics by offering the prospect of EU membership. The prospect of EU membership may be more diffuse, but it is ultimately more powerful. It provides substantial and consistent incentives for political moderation and reform on the part of elites in the Balkans and also in Turkey. The World Bank's 2001 report noted that its strategy for the region is "built upon the assumption that a credible commitment to integration with European and global structures, especially the European Union, is a critical ingredient of success, as it will serve as an external driver of reform and intra-regional integration." more

"Ukraine and Its Western Neighbors"

Jul 07, 2011
December 2000 Conference Report - The conference program was designed to encourage discussion about Ukraine and its neighbors outside of the standard categories for considering this important region. First, the presentations framed Ukraine almost exclusively in terms of its neighbors to its west; and second, the speakers explored Ukraine's relations with its neighbors at a number of different levels and not just as a problem of state-to-state relations. The conference participants attempted to engage a wider audience to think about Ukraine first and foremost within the context of Europe by adding texture and substance to discussions of cross-border relations. Second, the conference's discussion of Ukraine was predicated on the notion that Ukraine exists in numerous realities, only one of which is that of the state. more

28. The Risks of Privatization and the Polish Nomenklatura: The New Entrepreneurial Class

Jul 07, 2011
This paper examines the market changes which developed in Poland in the late 1950s, where one could observe small-scale, timid changes in the traditional communist view toward free enterprise. One of the results of political liberalization was a drastic reduction in the numbers of secret police, party bureaucrats, and censors. Many former guardians of communist morality, now deprived of their posts and Privileges, succumbed to the temptations of Mammon and established small industrial enterprises, shops, and brokerage agencies themselves. Moreover, it now seems that the Party authorities, silently and discreetly, fully supported these undertakings, treating them as a safe and simple safety valve to release the anger and frustrations of forcIbly retired apparatchiks and as a reward for their faithful service. more

168. The Dynamics of Religion and Politics In Poland

Jul 07, 2011
October 1998 - Clashes between Catholics and Jews in Poland are again in the news. Since last spring, a series of confrontations between religious radicals has occurred at the Auschwitz death camp in Oswiecim. Thus far, all attempts to resolve the controversy surrounding the placement of Christian religious symbols at the site have failed. Why has the unauthorized display of crosses at Auschwitz escalated to an international incident? What makes this such an intractable issue? This problem results from the intertwining of religious social action and political activity in Poland since 1989. In fact, the current controversy is a way of illustrating the contemporary dynamics of religion and politics in Poland. These dynamics can be broken into four aspects: the international dimension, church-state realignment, tensions within the Catholic hierarchy, and the differentiation of the Catholic community. 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.