Posted on 07 October 2009 by admin
Why the reality of post-Communist Europe has not measured up to the expectations of 1989.
By Jiri Pehe
“Now we have a democracy,” Tomas G. Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia, said of his new country upon its founding 90 years ago. “What we also need are democrats.”
These words could be applied as aptly to the post-communist countries of contemporary East-Central Europe. The problem of “democracies without democrats” is as real today as it was when Masaryk’s new state rose from the ashes of World War I. Continue reading …
Posted on 05 August 2009 by admin
A crusader for open society recalls the beginning of the end of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. From CNN.com.
By George Soros
I set up my first foundation in Hungary in 1984. The idea behind it was simple. The state dogma, promoted by the ruling communists, was false, and by providing an alternative we could expose its falsehood. Accordingly we supported every cultural initiative that was not an expression of the established dogma. Continue reading …
Posted on 27 March 2009 by admin
Stock-taking is in order on the 10th anniversary of Europe’s coming of age.
Ten years ago, it felt like the end of an era, and not just because serious commentators were warning that the Y2K bug would knock us all back to the age of vacuum tubes, if not quill pens.
The year 1999 brought a major consolidation of the democratic gains of 1989-1990 in Central and Eastern Europe and a smooth and fateful change of power in Russia, and saw a consortium of European states make war against one of their own for the first time since the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Continue reading …
Posted on 10 March 2009 by admin
Has Hungary lost its way since the heady days of 20 years ago, or is that just the Magyar pessimism talking?
By Istvan Hegedus
What went wrong in Hungary? This year Hungarians celebrate five years of European Union membership and 20 years of democratic development after the collapse of a relatively “soft” communist dictatorship. Outside observers used to deem Hungary a success story. Even most Hungarians saw their country as the star pupil among the new pluralist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe that had started to attend “democracy courses” and to undergo an economic transformation as applicants to the European Union in the 1990s. Continue reading …