Eastern Europe’s New Conservatives: Varieties and Explanations from Poland to Russia
News vom 12.03.2020
News about post-communist Europe have been dominated, ever since the 2000s, by the coming to power of political forces rejecting the “consensus” surrounding market reforms and liberal democracy. These political forces — from the “Law and Justice” party in Poland, through “Fidesz” in Hungary, to Vladimir Putin’s “United Russia” — have been described in various terms, ranging from right-wing “populism” and “backsliding” regimes (to describe the dominant trend in Central Eastern Europe), to “authoritarianism”, “dictatorship”, and “one-man regime” in the case of Russia. From Poland to Hungary and Russia, these actors prefer to call themselves “conservatives”. They locate themselves within their countries’ conservative traditions and at the very same time as part of a global political, social and intellectual movement against a globalization driven by financial markets. In the case of Russia, even a takeover of the leading role in this movement is envisioned.
The major goal of the program is to explore the communalities and varieties in the new conservatism of Eastern Europe and Russia. We ask about what conservatism here means, under what circumstances conservatism becomes (and under which ones it does not) a front for illiberal thinking and policies, about how conservative ideologies translate into politics, and why it has become mainstream ideology in some countries, while in others, not. And, to what extent historic path dependencies and the transition paths towards market economy and democracy matter.
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