Ivan Krastev



Ivan Krastev (1965, Lukovit/Bulgaria) is chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia, and Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna (IWM). He is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the advisory board of the ERSTE Foundation, a member of the global advisory board of Open Society Foundations, New York, and a member of the advisory council of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) and the European Cultural Foundation (ECF). He is also associate editor of Europe’s World and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy and Transit – Europäische Revue. From 2004 to 2006 Ivan Krastev has been the executive director of the International Commission on the Balkans chaired by the former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato. He was the editor-in-chief of the Bulgarian Edition of Foreign Policy and was a member of the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London (2005-2011).  He has held fellowships at St. Antony’s College  (Oxford); the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars (Washington, D.C.); the Collegium Budapest; the Wissenschaftskolleg (Berlin); the Institute of Federalism at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland); and the Remarque Institute at New York University.


Selected Publications:

After Europe

After Europe, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017.

Democracy Disrupted: The Politics of Global Protest, Philadelphia: University of Pensylvania Press, 2014.

In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don’t Trust Our Leaders?, New York: TED Books, 2013.

The Anti-American Century (co-edited with Alan McPherson), Budapest: CEU Press, 2007.

Shifting Obsessions: Three Essays on the Politics of Anticorruption, Budapest: CEU Press, 2004

Furthermore, he has published widely in international journals and papers.

[Complete List of Publications]


Former affiliations at the IWM:
May 2009–August 2010, Visiting Fellow
2002, Visiting Fellow



Europe’s Democracy Paradox

Greece will push the French banks down the chute first; but German banks won’t avoid it, and together will finish Italy off. With luck, Italy will suck Spain into the abyss; Portugal will follow Spain, and Ireland Portugal. … Then continental banks lock their doors and the cash machines dry up. Minestrone kitchens appear on …
Read more

What the Bulgarian Elections Mean for the European Union

Plevneliev’s Victory And The Dogs That Didn’t Bark “Elections don’t change anything,” reads graffiti scrawled across a wall in the center of Sofia. “If elections change[d] something, they would be banned.” In the wake of this month’s presidential and local elections, which culminated in a runoff for the presidency over the weekend, this may seem …
Read more

Arab Revolutions, Turkey’s Dilemmas: Zero Chance for “Zero Problems”

The Arab revolutions are not European revolutions: neither a repeat of 1989 by Arabs born in 1989, nor a re-enactment of 1848 in the age of social media. There were no European flags – being waved or burned – on the streets of Tunis and Cairo. Arab protesters do not regard European societies as a …
Read more

Getting Reset Right

The collapse of the Mubarak regime in Egypt and the American president’s decision to side with the Arab street, sacrificing one of Washington’s longest and most important strategic allies, compelled many observers to ask two questions: Are we witnessing the end of Obama’s realism; and how will the lessons of Cairo affect Obama’s policy of …
Read more

The Balkans’ New Normal

The Balkans is the European Union’s untold success story. The EU’s commitment to bringing the region within its borders remains firm. In September, Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, succeeded in breaking the deadlock in Serbia-Kosovo relations by bringing both sides back to the negotiating table. The EU’s soft power remains as …
Read more

The Populist Moment

Unlike the extremist parties of the 1930s, new populist movements worldwide do not aim to abolish democracy: quite the opposite, they thrive on democratic support. What we are witnessing today, writes Ivan Krastev, is a conflict between elites that are becoming increasingly suspicious of democracy and angry publics that are becoming increasingly illiberal.
Read more

The Greengrocer’s Revenge[1]

The revolutions of 1989, which saw communist governments toppled across eastern Europe, used to be considered among the continent’s most agreeable. The left praised them as an expression of people power and the victory of civil society against the state. The right celebrated them as a triumph of the free market and the free world. …
Read more


  • Democracy in Question

    What are the causes of the current disappointment with democracy, and how will they affect the capacity of democratic societies to remain self-correcting? This project offers a platform to discuss these fundamental questions.
    Read more