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Eastern Europe’s New Conservatives: Varieties and Explanations from Poland to Russia

Eastern Europe's New Conservatives

Eastern Europe's New Conservatives

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.

Representative publications:

Bluhm, K. (2016). Machtgedanken. Mittelweg 36(6), 56-75.

Bluhm, K. (2016). Modernisierung, Geopolitik und die neuen russischen Konservativen. Leviathan, 44(1), 36–64.

Bluhm, K., & Varga, M. (eds., 2019). New Conservatives in Russia and East Central Europe London & New York: Routledge.

Bluhm, K., & Varga, M. (2019). Conservative Developmental Statism in East Central Europe and Russia. New Political Economy, 25(4), 642-659.

Buzogány, A., & Varga, M. (2018). The ideational foundations of the illiberal backlash in Central and Eastern Europe: the case of Hungary. Review of international political economy, 25(6), 811-828.

Varga, M., & Buzogány, A. (2020). The Foreign Policy of Populists in Power: Contesting Liberalism in Poland and Hungary. Geopolitics, 26(5), 1442-1463.

Varga, M. (2021) The return of economic nationalism to East Central Europe: Right‐wing intellectual milieus and anti‐liberal resentment. Nations and Nationalism 27(1), 206-222, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nana.12660

Varga, M., & Buzogány, A. (2022) Two Faces of the ‘Global Right’: Revolutionary Conservatives and National-Conservatives, Critical Sociology 48(6), 1089-1107, https://doi.org/10.1177%2F08969205211057020

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