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Tag: Central Europe

A country of grumblers? Hungarian values and how to misunderstand them

Are Hungarians ill-fated and determined to be incapable of overcoming their historical baggage? Some seem to think so, including some sociologists. Yet, it is worth remembering that political trajectories do not follow pre-drawn patterns, so we should look at the circumstances which can hold societies back in their democratisation.

Something is rotten in Hungary and the international media coverage seems quite keen on pointing this out. However, it offers very little explanation for why it is happening. International interest in Hungarian politics has increased, especially since the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election in 2016 – which illustrated how serious the far-right shift of mainstream politics has become. Yet, Hungary had already been under the illiberal supermajority for six years, and by then it was well past all the major battles in which its democratic institutions had faced.

November 17, 2020 - Réka Kinga Papp

A timeline, interrupted

The politics of today’s populist leaders is nearly always the eternal return to the past. 1989, however, represents a normative stop they would prefer to skip.

The past does not exist. It is what one makes of it. From a purely axiological point of view, every one of us is constructed of different pasts and we have different memories at our disposal. The non-existence of the past as a tangible point of reference is a subject of individual or collective creation and interpretation; it is the founding assumption of any sociological research devoted to mnemonic subjects.

November 17, 2020 - Mateusz Mazzini

The line between politics and friendship

A review of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism and Twilight of Democracy. The Failure of Politics and the Parting of Friends. By Anne Applebaum. Publisher: Penguin/ Allen Lane, London, 2020.

November 16, 2020 - Simona Merkinaite

Revisionism instead of reinvention

How CEE countries have impacted European remembrance and vice versa.

December 18, 2019 - Ferenc Laczó

In Between Europe #23 Visegrad and growth in Europe

This episode is a forward-looking one, which builds on our previous discussion about the economic legacy of the transition.

November 19, 2019 - Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics

In Between Europe #22: Transition@30: The Economic Legacy

The In Between Europe podcast is back with a new episode. In this episode the hosts talk to Dóra Győrffy, a professor at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Hungary, about the economic legacy of the transition.

October 18, 2019 - Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics

The risks and rewards of investigative journalism in Central Eastern Europe

Between October 2017 and April 2019 four reporters doing investigative journalism were killed in Europe: Daphne Caruana Galizia from Malta, Ján Kuciak from Slovakia, Victoria Marinova from Bulgaria, and Lyra McKee from Northern Ireland. Their deaths happened in different circumstances, but they were always related to their profession. Given that investigative reporting is public interest journalism, it should be safeguarded by governments. However this is not always the case in Central and Eastern Europe.

The independent NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) warns that in Europe “hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear.” Whereas the EU is no longer a safe haven for journalists, the media environment in Central and Eastern Europe has been deteriorating. The Visegrad Four countries have been plummeting in the Freedom House's Freedom of the Press and the RSF's Press Freedom Index rankings since 2015. Hungary dropped from 67th to 87th place on the Press Freedom Index between 2016 and 2019, while Freedom of the Press changed the status of Hungarian media from “free” to “partly free” in 2012.

August 26, 2019 - Lorenzo Berardi

Promises and challenges. Internationalisation of the transition economies

Since 1989 internationalisation has profoundly influenced the former communist countries, primarily economically but also politically. The unfinished transition process has put into perspective the vast differences between the countries that emerged from the deep shadow of the Soviet Union and the enormous difficulties they had in constructing functioning political and economic structures. Three decades on, the future of the entire region is inexorably linked to the West and the ideas of open markets.

Internationalisation has been one of the critical dimensions of the economic transformation undergone by the former command economies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union since 1989. Openness and global interactions have had profound direct effects on their growth and development, and entry into international institutions has significantly shaped both domestic policies and institutions. During the past three decades of transition, all former socialist economies have moved decisively towards market-oriented ones.

August 26, 2019 - Kiril Kossev

In Between Europe #21: EP elections in the Visegrad Four

This episode is the first segment of a two-part series with Talk Eastern Europe (TEE) on the results of the European Parliament elections in Central Europe.

May 28, 2019 - Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics

In Between Europe podcast

In Between Europe is a podcast dedicated to Central Europe hosted by Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics.

May 23, 2019 - Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics

In Between Europe #20: Presidential election in Slovakia

This podcasts looks at how progressive newcomer Zuzana Čaputová secured a surprise victory in Slovakia’s presidential elections this past weekend.

April 3, 2019 - Adam Reichardt

The intellectual in Central Europe: Havel, Orbán and Walter

What option is open to Central European intellectuals today? How can they maintain their independent stance and moral principles, yet find a position where they can support democracy in their countries? This is a particularly pressing question today, when Central Europe is again traversing a rocky road paved with nationalism and populism.

At a recent conference of European editors of cultural journals, an English participant remarked, a bit puzzled, how only in Central Europe do people still talk in all seriousness about – and even quarrel passionately over – the role, place and responsibility of intellectuals. First, I felt slightly embarrassed recalling that Kritika & Kontext, the journal I founded in 1996, had devoted a whole issue to “The Intellectual and Society”. The debate then was both serious and passionate and, rereading it now, seems still valid today. Perhaps after all there is a special place for intellectuals in the heaven and hell of Central Europe.

January 2, 2019 - Samuel Abrahám

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