January 2008 - Among the many unanticipated developments in the former Soviet world, the decay of infrastructures of governance was one of the most visible. By the late 1990s, the assertion that the capacity and organizational integrity of postcommunist states had declined considerably did not engender serious dissent. That the state was weaker than before, that it was weaker than it should have been, were among the very few empirical and normative propositions around which a genuine consensus coalesced.
With the collapse of state socialism in 1989, the formerly communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe (hereafter CEE) had no choice but to shake off their deeply ingrained Cold War mentality and try to take their place in a world characterized by globalization and increased regional integration. Their “return to Europe,” or integration into the structures of the European Community/European Union (EC/EU), passed an important milestone in 1993, when the EU made the historic decision to enlarge eastwards and accept new members from the formerly communist countries. Accession negotiations opened in spring 1998 for "fast-track" countries (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Estonia), and in February 2000 for "slow-track" countries (Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania, Latvia, and Lithuania). This paper focuses on the CEE countries’ “accession perspective”—their motives, expectations, deliberations, and practical difficulties as they strive to become part of the EU’s anticipated eastward enlargement.
May 2002- There has been an obvious uneven evolution of the East European countries in the last ten years. Theoretically, the process of transformation still points in the same direction: modern capitalism. Practically, however, many of the new democracies seem to have stopped along the road. A classification of political systems in Eastern Europe according to economic performance in the decade 1990-99 shows that there are competitive democracies and concentrated political regimes alongside war-torn societies and non-competitive political regimes. There are also differences among countries and regions. (World Bank Report on Eastern Europe, November 2001) How can one explain the large divergence among performance levels in Eastern Europe after 1989? What constitutes the new East European ruling elite, what is the dominant political ideology, and how do the new capitalist institutions work? There are two prevailing viewpoints. The first one is known as the path-dependency approach; the second is the neo-classic sociology school of thought.
January 2000 - Bulgaria once existed as a totalitarian state and a faithful Soviet ally with a centralized socialist economy. Today, it is a functioning pluralist democracy which embraces the liberal views of the West and strives for integration into the prosperous global civilization of the 21st century. The transition has been long and painful, but one that should be examined and recognized for its accomplishments, particularly those within the past year.
October 1997 - Why did the Yugoslav state end? And why was its dismemberment violent? One approach to answering these questions is to compare Yugoslavia with Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union--the other two states in the region that broke apart following the collapse of Communist Party rule, but significantly did so in a peaceful manner.
December 2003 - Approximately one-third of Estonian residents are not ethnic Estonians, and an overwhelming majority of that proportion of the population are Russian-speakers. Probably the most telling fact about Estonia's ethnic minorities is that only 38 percent of them hold Estonian citizenship, despite of having been residents for decades. The remaining are either stateless persons or citizens of the Russian Federation. Since 1998, the government has made efforts to encourage these residents to apply for Estonian citizenship. The major obstacle to obtaining the blue Estonian passport for many is passing the Estonian language proficiency examination.
21. The Ideology of Illiberalism in the Professions: Leftist and Rightist Radicalism among Hungarian Doctors, Lawyers, and Engineers,1918-45Jul 07, 2011
In the period between the two world wars, Hungary's professions were transformed from a politically liberal and professionally oriented elite into an illiberal pressure group attracted to radical politics. This metamorphosis of the professions contradicted the expectations of many analysts of modernization who viewed the professions as the most secure element of Western liberal culture. The professional elites of Eastern and Central Europe defied this kind of sociological optimism. They increasingly turned from being allies of the liberal state into the partners of illiberal movements and governments. Already in the 1930s, this transformation gave birth to a new, more pessimistic school of thought on the professions.
February 2001- The regime of Slobodan Milosevic created great problems not only for those of us who live in Serbia, but also for the entire world. His regime, which was probably one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world, basically brought the Serbian people to the edge of insanity - to a point where they did not know what to do. The terror and repression that occurred in terms of kidnapings, arrests, and even murders, had tremendous impact on the people of Serbia.
September 2007 - Over the past few months, the Biden-Gelb plan has been widely discussed as a solution for the faltering policy in Iraq. A major component of the plan is to decentralize power in Iraq—Bosnian style—to the three main ethnic and religious groups in an effort to end the civil war. While the applicability of the Bosnian model has been challenged in the press based on the differences in the circumstances under which the Dayton Agreement was signed in Bosnia and the current environment in Iraq, the desirability of the Bosnian model has largely gone unchallenged. This meeting aimed at bringing up some of the rather uncomfortable realities that the Dayton model created in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The debate on what to do in Iraq should not ignore the fact that-although the fighting in Bosnia has ended-inter-ethnic cooperation and dialogue have languished. Twelve years after Dayton, Bosnia is still far from the effective, sovereign and democratic state that the agreement had envisioned. In the end the Bosnian model may serve up more questions than answers for Iraq.
In this paper, the author examines the initial outcomes of post-1989 transformations in countries outside the former Soviet Union. He identifies the patterns of transformation emerging in the region and proposes some tentative ideas that help to account for disparities in initial outcomes of these transformations.