Eastern Europe Publications
June 1997 - Transition in the Hungarian higher education system, begun with high hopes about ten years ago, has proven to be slow and difficult. Erno Zalai , professor and chair of mathematical economics and econometrics at the University of Economic Sciences in Budapest, Hungary, and a Wilson Center Guest Scholar, acknowledged that he and his colleagues greatly underestimated the magnitude of the political, economic, and cultural gap between East-Central Europe and Western Europe.
Hungary is one of those countries which, starting from a semi-peripheral position, have for centuries tried to catch up with the west. And it is a country which has failed at it again and again. Its elites have drawn up and tried to implement program after program. They have devised new economic and social models, failing again and again. This paper analyzes the emergence of an "alternative society" in Hungary since the 1950s. What do we mean by an "alternative society"? Or a "second society"? Does one really exist? And if it does, what is it like? What are its origins? What role has it played? How does it relate to the official, "first society"? What are the prospects for its further development?
May 2004 - Seemingly discredited just a few short years ago, the nationalist parties that were the main perpetrators of war, undemocratic politics and economic mismanagement in the former Yugoslavia's two largest successor states have made an electoral comeback after several years of rule by reformist, pro-Western coalitions. In Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ-Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica), which held a virtual monopoly on political power throughout the 1990s, won the largest number of seats (43 percent) in the November 2003 parliamentary elections and became the governing party in a four-party coalition and Ivo Sanader, the HDZ leader, became prime minister. The far-right Croatian Party of Rights (HSP-Hrvatska Stranka Prava) doubled its representation in parliament from four to eight seats, but did not join the ruling coalition. In the Serbian parliamentary election of December 2003, the top vote- and seat-getter (32 percent of parliamentary seats) was the Serbian Radical Party (Srpska Radikalna Stranka—SRS) of Vojislav Seselj, currently detained in the Netherlands for war crimes. The SRS, albeit never the ruling party in Serbia, had played a key role as the ideological surrogate of Slobodan Milosevic and the former ruling Serbian Socialist Party (SPS-Srpska Partija Socjalisticka). Besides helping Milosevic solidify his nationalist credentials, the SRS also performed some of the former regime's dirty work by organizing paramilitaries to fight in Croatia and Bosnia. The SPS itself managed to win only 22 seats in the December 2003 election. Both Seselj and Milosevic topped their parties' lists and were elected in absentia. Despite its strong showing in the election, however, the SRS did not form a government, a task that was undertaken by a group of democratically-minded parties led by the Serbian Democratic Party (DSS-Demokratska Stranka Srbije) of Vojislav Kostunica, who decided, to the great dismay of Western diplomats, to seek nominal support of Milosevic's Socialists for his government. These developments (along with the fact that nationalist parties prevailed in 2002 federal elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina) could lead some observers to find a resurgent nationalism throughout the Balkans.
March 2008 - Since the 1990s, an array of international organizations has devoted considerable time and energy to democracy promotion in the Western Balkans. A major strand of this work has comprised civil society assistance, increasingly targeted at the community level. Official evaluations of this work tend to emphasize quantitative indicators of increasing civic participation, reduced incidence of inter-ethnic violence and socio-economic progress. They tend not to portray the empirical realities of democratization, or the less tangible, longer-term impacts of such efforts. The ongoing research project described here aims to offer a longitudinal case-study in US civil society programming which combines academic and policy perspectives. Our goal is to examine closely and systematically the impacts and lessons from a single project, while factoring in the wider context.
September 1997 - Nearly a decade after the end of the Cold War (black resigned, in the chess parlance chosen by one Hungarian observer), the issues in Eastern Europe are not black and white, but neither are they a uniform shade of grey. They are different shades and degrees of grey in which the security issues confronting the United States and the NATO alliance, especially an enlarged alliance, are likely to be defined from now on. For anyone unwilling to face these complexities, especially in a situation where all parties see the United States as the only decisive external force, "let them come to Bosnia."
A CWIHP Document Reader compiled for the international conference "Political Transition in Hungary, 1989-1990," Budapest, Hungary, 12 June 1999
CWIHP Working Paper No. 32
Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty examines the first twenty years of the organization, policies, and impact of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, arguably one of the most important and successful policy instruments of the United States during the Cold War.
Rebellious Satellite: Poland 1956 offers a social history of the mass movements that prompted political change and altered Polish-Soviet relations in 1956 but avoided a Soviet armed response.
Cities after the Fall of Communism traces the cultural reorientation of East European cities since 1989. Analyzing the architecture, commemorative practices, and urban planning of cities such as Lviv, Vilnius, and Odessa, the contributors illustrate how history may be selectively re-imagined in light of present political and cultural realities.