Poland’s Road to Europe in the Eyes of Public Opinion

1. Introduction

In October 1999 the Institute of Public Affairs in Warsaw, one of Poland’s major independent think tanks, published the results of a brief survey of the Polish public’s support of European integration.[1] Short as it was, the publication caused a storm in the media and the political world, with the reverberations reaching Brussels and other European capitals. For the first time since the pollsters started to measure support for Poland’s membership in the EU, less then fifty per cent of the public declared that they would vote ‘yes’ in an accession referendum. The headline in a major Polish daily “Rzeczpospolita” – “Eurosceptics drink champagne” – captures the emotions that this piece of research produced. In fact, in the debate that followed both Euroesceptics (or ‘Eurorealists’ as they prefer to call themselves) and Euroenthusiasts used the survey results to shore up their criticism of the accession process. For the opponents of the prospective membership, the poll results were the first sign of a forthcoming anti-European revolt of the public. More moderate critics of integration blamed ‘Euroenthusiasts’ for being too ‘soft’ in relation to the EU and of neglecting Poland’s ‘national interests in the membership negotiations, thus fostering anti-European attitudes in the general public. In turn, declared pro-Europeans (as well as major media) used the results to criticize the government for its slowness and incompetence in the management of the accession – the cases in point being the inability to appoint the Head of Office for the Committee for European Integration (the main administrative unit responsible for the preparation for membership) and more than a year of delays in the government’s information campaign on Europe. Paradoxically, this and other opinion polls seem to have strengthened the position of Polish negotiators vis-à-vis Europe, who could now claim that inflexibility of their European counterparts would lead to even greater decline of public support for integration.

In June 2000 the Institute of Public Affairs conducted an extensive survey of Polish public opinion on a wide-ranging set of issues related to Poland’s accession process. The present article aims to give the reader an overall view of the results as well as to verify some of the claims made during the above mentioned debates and political controversies. The IPA will publish the comprehensive report in autumn of 2000.

2. “How will they vote?” – support and opposition to the EU membership

Until quite recently the low level of support for EU enlargement seemed confined to the present member states.[2] Among the Central and Eastern European candidate countries Poland enjoyed the second highest level of support after Romania with 63 per cent of those in favour and only 6 percent against.[3] The downward trend started in 1998 and seems to have continued until now.

Table 1. Changes in the support for Poland’s integration with the European Union[4]

If a referendum was held in Poland on Poland’s accession to the EU, would you vote: VI
‘94
V
‘95
V
‘96
III
‘97
IV
‘97
VIII
‘97
V
‘98
VIII
‘98
XII
‘98
V
‘99
XI
‘99
II
2000
V
2000
IX
2000
In percentage
– in favour of the accession 77 72 80 72 72 72 66 63 64 55 59 55 59 55
– against the accession 6 9 7 12 11 12 19 19 19 26 26 26 25 26
– don’t know 17 19 13 16 18 15 15 18 17 19 15 19 16 19

Source: CBOS 2000

Researchers and analysts point to several reasons for this decline in support. The beginning of the negotiations seems to have changed the perspective of Poland – EU relations, focusing them on specific issues rather than (as before) on the general idea of ‘returning to Europe’. What is more, these issues were often marked by conflict, because the negotiation areas where no serious difference of interests existed were not very interesting for the media and thus the public did not hear much about them. Here as elsewhere good news was no news for the media[5]. The commentators also pointed out what they saw as a lack of clear leadership on the part of the government and the tendency to use the European debate as an instrument of party politics.[6] As the general amount of information on the accession process increased, more and more people realized the costs of membership. The reluctance of European Union officials to set the date for negotiations and assume part of the responsibility for the enlargement project must have also contributed to the general ‘cooling’ of Polish public opinion.

There also seems to be a group influencing the support for integration, which is only indirectly connected with Polish-EU relations. In 1999 the ruling centre-right coalition introduced an ambitious program of reforms of the public sector: healthcare, public administration, social insurance and education.[7] The burden of the reform, imaginary and real failures in its design and implementation caused general public discontent and a rapid decrease in government ratings. The analysts have long pointed out the correlation between the attitude towards the systemic transition and the support for EU accession.[8] Thus the declining support for the new wave of reforms had to influence the Poles’ views of the integration.

The question that the Polish researchers ask the public as a primary measure of support for integration concerns the intention to vote in the prospective referendum on EU membership. There is particular salience to this question in Poland, where the Constitution imposes very strict conditions on the validity of the referendum, which not only requires more than 50% of the ‘yes’ vote but also the attendance of more than half of the eligible voters. It seems paradoxical that the Polish EU referendum will have to meet stricter criteria than the 1997 constitutional referendum, which did not require more than 50% of adult Poles to vote in order to be valid (in fact the attendance was below 50%)! While it is true that the Constitution also provides for the ratification of the Accession Treaty by the National Assembly (by two thirds of members of Parliament and Senators), nevertheless all the major political parties have committed themselves to a referendum, which now seems inevitable. What is more, the ‘fifty percent plus one’ turnout requirement makes it possible for the referendum to be invalid rather than lost by outright rejection of the treaty. (Low voters’ turnout is endemic to Polish democracy). The conclusion for social researchers is that the declarations of the abstention from the vote are as significant (albeit in a different way) as the percentage of ‘no’ voters.

In the IPA survey of June 2000 two referendum questions were asked. The first was to measure the intention to participate, while the second question gauged the proportion of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ voters. A strong majority of the respondents declared their intention to vote as opposed to less than one third of non-participants. However, if we compare the number of those who say ‘decisively yes’ (39%) with those who say ‘rather yes’ or ‘rather no’ and ‘don’t know’ (51%) a different picture emerges, where half of the public is not very clear as regards their participation in a prospective referendum. This seems a more plausible outcome (in view of the already mentioned generally low attendance in Polish elections). It also points to the relative fragility of the foundations for the following seemingly comforting results of the question: “If a referendum on Poland’s joining the EU were to be held next Sunday, how would you vote?” (Only those who declared that they would take part in the referendum and the small percentage of undecided respondents were asked this question). The result there seems to be a solid majority in favour of the accession (67%) as compared to 18% of the respondents who would vote against Europe. However, if we look at the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ voters as a proportion of the general public (not only those who intend to take part) we find that they constitute respectively 49 and 13 per cent of the Poles.

The support for European integration is by no means evenly spread among the different social groups. The social structure of support has remained rather stable for the last two years, with young people, managers, white-collar workers, private entrepreneurs, and the majority of students declaring to vote in favour of integration. On the other end of the spectrum we find farmers, who are the only social group where the number of opponents exceeds the number of supporters. Farmers are exceptional even in comparison to the rural population at large, which has by far more declared ‘yes’ voters.[9] Farmers are also one of the social groups in which the proportion of respondents declaring that they will abstain from the referendum is relatively high. Similarly passive attitudes can be observed among older and retired persons as well as those with only very basic education. On the other hand the number of people with a university education who tend to declare that they will ‘decisively vote’ is almost double that of the rest of the Polish population.

Western commentators often perceive threats to integration as coming from the right wing of Poland’s political scene, hence an interesting and politically salient question is the support for integration among the party electorates. Here the present survey results are consistent with earlier polls in showing that the supporters of the main right wing party – the Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) – are significantly more pro-European than their main political rival, the post-communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). The electorate of the third largest party, the liberal Freedom Union (UW), is overwhelmingly pro-European, while the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), which mainly represents rural inhabitants, is the least pro-European of the ‘big four’ yet more than half of its supporters said they would vote ‘yes’ in the Euro-referendum. In general, the electorates of the parties whose predecessors were part of the pre-1989 political system tend to be less supportive of integration than those having roots in anti-communist democratic opposition. This fact and the above-mentioned correlation between the systemic transformation and the EU accession[10] demonstrate the endurance of the historical divisions of the Polish political scene.

While the prospects for imminent membership of the EU are diminishing almost by the hour it may seem premature to make any conclusion about the results of the future ratification referendum. Despite the declining support, there exists a secure majority in favour of accession over those who declare to oppose it. The big question now is therefore not so much “How will they vote?” but “Will they go out to vote?” [11]

3. “Passions and Interests” – the perceived costs and benefits of integration

The high number of Poles who seem unable to decide whether or not they support integration leads analysts to believe that the attitudes towards the prospective membership in the EU are still not rooted in individual and collective interests, but rather remain largely a question of ideological or emotive commitment. This view is warranted by the present empirical research. The majority of Poles do not expect quick benefits from the integration. Only 4% of the respondents believe that the benefits will become manifest immediately after the accession, while over 51% believe that several years will pass before any such benefits occur and another 30% expect an even longer waiting period. On the other hand, only 7% think that no benefits are to be expected.

It is perhaps more significant to ask if people see the benefits for themselves as individuals. Significantly more respondents were convinced of the benefits of integration for Poland as a whole rather than for their company/organization or themselves personally. One third of the respondents believes that on a personal level benefits / costs will even out and another third has no opinion on the matter.

None of the respondents expect the benefits to be evenly distributed throughout society. Most Poles believe that the winners will be educated people, political elites and big business. On the other hand, groups such as farmers, blue-collar workers and small businessman are seen as potential ‘net’ losers of integration. Other perceived net beneficiaries, albeit less clearly so, are consumers, the unemployed, ‘crooks and frauds’. Thus EU membership is seen as benefiting the elite much more than the ordinary people. No wonder that major politicians from right to left are seen as firm supporters of integration, which is understood as an elite-driven process both in the sense of being in the interests of powers that be and sustained by the overwhelming consensus of decision-makers.

In the current cold climate of relations between Poland and the EU, criticism is often made of Poles’ alleged excessive expectations of material gains from the integration. The present research does not warrant such a conclusion. When asked about the benefits of integration, the Poles seem to agree on a single positive consequence, namely greater international security for Poland (70% agree, 26% of them firmly). 61% think that human rights will be better observed. Most Poles also expect to enjoy the increased opportunity to work and live in other EU countries (65%) and believe that the EU will assist Polish agriculture (60%). Only 41% (and only 6% decisively) expect the living standard of ‘ordinary people’ to improve as a consequence of EU membership. Therefore the benefits expected by the Polish public relate either to non-economic areas (security, human rights), assistance for the farmers (who are seen as disadvantaged anyway) or to opportunity for work abroad, which carries no immediate prospects of material gains for all.

At the same time there is a prevalent opinion about high costs of the preparation for membership. It is also expected that these costs will either be born by Poland (42%) or by both Poland and the EU (40%). Very few Poles expect the EU to assume most of the costs. At the same time most respondents are aware of the assistance Poland receives from the EU and expect this assistance to continue after the accession. According to a strong majority of the respondents this assistance is important for Poland. The Polish public seems to hold a complex view of the costs / benefits of integration, comprising both the awareness of the necessary contributions and sacrifices to be made by Poland and the significance of whatever the EU can offer to help the process.

Another popular stereotype, which can be falsified on the basis of empirical research, refers to the strength of Polish fears about losing sovereignty or national identity as a result of integration. As many as 77% of the respondents rejected the view that Poland would lose independence and 60% disagree that Polish tradition and culture would be weakened because of Poland’s joining the EU. On the other hand, there is less confidence about the economic consequences. More than half of the respondents expect the decline of some branches of industry and an increase in unemployment, and 40% agree that integration would bring about ‘the fall of Polish agriculture’ (with 44% disagreeing). Even more respondents (64%) think that foreigners would buy out Polish land.

The nature of any political debate – especially one of such a far-reaching and long- term project as the European integration – is such that it involves both a calculation of interests and outbursts of emotions. In Poland there are two opposite emotions towards integration: hope and fear. Hope is not only the strongest emotion (53%), it has also increased significantly since a comparable poll in October 1999. At the same time fear is the feeling mentioned by 43% of the Poles, which is also a somewhat higher result than 8 months previously. It is also significant that while hope is most strongly expressed by the declared supporters of integration, fear is more evenly spread among the opponents, supporters, and those who ‘don’t know’. It can therefore be presumed that fear of integration is a part of the overall ‘realistic’ assessment of the costs and as such will not stop people from supporting integration as long as they can believe that EU membership can also bring Poland the benefits they hope for.

The overall ‘map’ of emotions shows the prevalence of positive over negative feelings towards integration. Interest and approval are not only more often mentioned than unfavourability, indifference and boredom, they have also increased in comparison with the October poll.

To sum up, one can say that the Polish public has rather moderate expectations as regards the benefits of membership, combined with acute awareness of the efforts and demands that lie ahead. It is therefore remarkable that the positive emotional attitude towards integration prevails.

4. “Knocking at Europe’s doors”: accession negotiations and Poland-EU relations to date

According to many experts and journalists the present state of the relations between Poland and the EU is far from perfect. Major newspapers in EU countries describe Polish negotiators as inflexible, if not arrogant. The EU public is also informed about the gargantuan task of the restructuring of Polish agriculture and the difficulties of controlling Poland’s eastern borders against illegal immigration. In some countries, most notably Austria and Germany, there are fears of cheap labour and criminals from new member states. At the same time EU negotiators blame Poland for not doing enough to implement the community law. Poland however complains of the EU failure to set the date for membership of the first applicant countries, which it unilaterally declared to be 1 January 2003. It sees this as a sign of the lack of political will on the part of EU governments to go ahead with the enlargement. One observer summed up this situation of mutual recrimination: “Poland is pretending to prepare for membership and the UE is pretending to want it as a member”.

Now the question is how the Polish public sees these debates and disagreements? Are the Poles really expecting quick membership? According to the IPA research, only one in four respondents believe that Poland will become a member within the next three years, while almost 40% think it will happen in the next 4 to 5 years. However, when asked when the best time would be for Poland to become a member, the proportion of replies was almost exactly the opposite, with nearly 40% declaring 2-3 years as the most advantageous timing and 23% a period of 4-5 years. The Poles therefore seem to favour a relatively prompt entry yet they are ready to accept a slightly longer waiting period. However, nearly 70% of the Poles expect the membership to become reality no later than in 5 years’ time and they think such a period would be most beneficial. Very few respondents seem willing to accept a further delay.

Why would the Poles assume that the membership would not come as quickly as they think proper? When asked about the causes of the delay in the integration process, most respondents expressed the conviction that the causes lie both on the side of Poland and the EU.

Table 2. Reasons for delays in the integration process

Poland’s accession to the European Union will not be as quick as it was previously assumed.
Do you think that the causes for the delay lie mainly on the side of:
In percentage
Both Poland and the European Union 52%
Poland 21%
The European Union 15%
Don’t know 13%

Source: The Institute of Public Affairs

As we see, the Polish public does not distrust the EU and the above-mentioned atmosphere of mutual recrimination has so far made less impact than one could expect. This conclusion can be supported by the results of the following question concerning the perceived intention of the EU authorities. According to an overwhelming majority of respondents (67%) the EU wants Poland to become its member while only one person in five expressed the opposite opinion. Thus the Polish public does not generally doubt that the negotiations with the EU are conducted in good faith. At the same time most Poles (49%) believe that sooner or later Poland will join the EU and the question of membership is a foregone conclusion. However, almost as big a group believes that the question of Poland’s membership remains open.

There seem to be further differences concerning the way the Poles perceive the negotiation process. Thus while 44% of the respondents understand that the negotiations concerning the adoption of acquis communitaire really concern the timing of the adjustment and possible transition periods, as many as 37% think that Poland is negotiating the laws and regulations to which it will have to adjust (which would imply permanent derogation as regards parts of the acquis). This misunderstanding could lead to future disappointments and dissatisfaction with the results of negotiations and therefore it remains a challenge to information policy (most Poles feel they are not being well informed about the process).

Part of Poland’s political debate on Europe in the recent years concerned the importance of the so-called ‘tough negotiations’. There has been a tendency among some politicians to criticize the Polish negotiators of giving in too much to EU demands. Our research demonstrates that this sort of rhetoric is only partly credible for the general public. Although many Poles think that the present government is too submissive to EU demands, it is more significant that almost 60% percent believe that the conditions of Poland’s entrance to the EU will first and foremost depend on the country’s progress in the preparation for membership, in other words: on objective criteria and not negotiators’ skills and assertiveness.

It is also very significant that the Polish public believes that the ongoing changes and reforms in Poland are both necessary irrespective of the integration process and imposed by the EU. It seems that the public sees the EU as a kind of guarantor of the changes which need to be introduced. To put it differently, the Poles seem to believe that their country needs the EU to underwrite the changes for which there is not enough political will in Poland alone. It seems particularly significant that the view about the imposition of changes is particularly strong among the managerial class, white-collar workers and people with university education, that is the groups that decisively support both EU integration and the systemic transformation in general. Overall, as many as two-thirds of the supporters of the integration believe that the EU is imposing reforms on Poland.

This view concerning the perceived need for external pressure should probably be seen in the context of another widely shared belief, namely that Poland is not well prepared for membership (62%, as opposed to 26% who think that Poland is well prepared). The same pessimistic assessment of the country’s prospects in Europe is even more strongly expressed in response to the question about Poland’s future status in Europe.

Table 3. Poland’s Future Status in Europe

Do you think that after joining the European Union Poland will become:
A truly equal member of this organization, such as other EU states?, or 22%
A second-class member, weaker, in a worse position 67%
Don’t know 11%

Source: The Institute of Public Affairs

While it can be observed that the opponents of integration tend to predict ‘second-class membership’ more often than its supporters, even in the latter group 56% of the respondents agreed that Poland would not be an equal member of this organization. Therefore – just as the fears related to the integration appear quite irrespective of the support and opposition – the pessimistic assessment of Poland’s future status in the EU seems to be related to the assessment of Poland’s present condition rather than a negative vision of the Union.

In the last part of this overview let us look at how the Poles view the EU in broader terms than the negotiating process.

5. “Which Way Europe?” – the perception of aims and workings of the European Union

After the decision of the Helsinki Summit to start membership negotiations with six new countries, thus increasing the number of candidates to 12, it became obvious that the enlargement from 15 to 27 member states would not be possible without a comprehensive reform of the institution of the European Union. Such a reform – it is argued – should go together with the rethinking of the aims and underlying values of European integration. As the debate continues in the present member states, the candidate countries are also asked to express their view on the subject. It is therefore important to see if and what the public opinion in Poland may have to say on the present and future state of the Union.

When asked what sort of community the European Union is and what it should be, the Poles demonstrated that their understanding of the aims of the integration was in prevailingly economic terms.

Table 4. Europe as a community

In your opinion, which value is most important in the European Union (A) and which should be (B)? A B
Economic community 80% 76%
Community of values 9% 28%
Political community 59% 37%
Community of culture 9% 16%
Don’t know 12% 11%

Source: The Institute of Public Affairs

Thus the Poles consider the EU first and foremost as an economic community and only subsequently as a political community. There is a certain amount of scepticism as regards the latter – more than 20% of those who consider Europe as a political community do not think this is what it should be. On the other hand a similar number of people believe that the EU should to a larger degree share the same values.

This ‘economic’ view of the European community helps explain the already mentioned belief in Poland’s future ‘second class membership’ in the EU as based on the assessment the relative weakness of Poland’s economy when compared with the western European average. On the other hand, the lack of appreciation of the political dimension of integration can be a serious problem considering the fact that the European project at its present stage seems to have exhausted the possibility to proceed in purely technocratic fashion. Successful integration will demand the mobilization of political will in both applicant and member states.

It seems that the Polish citizens are not very willing to transfer too much power and responsibility onto the European level. The majority of respondents believe that the EU should make decisions in areas such as fighting organised crime, ecology, assistance to poorer regions, and defence. On the other end of the spectrum were areas such as culture, education, healthcare and social protection, public morality issues (pornography, prostitution etc.) and foreign policy, which the respondents would like to keep at the national level of policy making. A more divided opinion concerns areas such as migration, monetary policy and the fight against unemployment with similar number of respondents opting for and against the transfer of competence to the European level.

A comparison with the result of the research among the citizens of EU member states shows that the Poles are somewhat less willing to give up many of the traditional prerogatives of the nation state. On the other hand, there is a congruence of opinion in areas such as organised crime, ecology and defence, where more European level decision making is generally seen as desirable. Also shared is the sense that certain areas of policy making do not belong in Brussels – something that one researcher called “spontaneous understanding of the principle of subsidiarity”. [12]

There is also a certain amount of ambiguity as regards the evaluation of the EU institutions. Although the majority of the Poles think they can be described as efficient and honest, more people believe that they act in the interest of EU civil servants than being concerned with the interest of ordinary citizens. Once again, this perception as Europe as a ‘Club class’ is not confined to Poland, it can also be found among the present day citizens of the EU. [13]

In view of the above results one can conclude that strengthening the Poles’ commitment to integration will require presenting them (and presumably also the citizens of other candidate countries) with plausible scenarios of the advantages and benefits of building a stronger Europe. In the final analysis the challenge is to create a Europe for all citizens and not just for a lucky few.


Notes

1. See: Support of Poles for EU integration in October 1999. Press Release, Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw 1999.

2. For a detailed study of the attitudes of the Austrian public opinion towards Poland in the context of the enlargement see: Malgorzata Sikorska, Poland – Austria, Mutual perceptions during the enlargement of the European Union, Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw 2000 (available in English and in German).

3. See: Central and East European Eurobarometer No. 8.

4. Source: Opinie o integracji Polski z Unia Europejska, Centre for Public Opinion Research CBOS, Warsaw, September 2000.

5. See: Maciej Lubienski, Poland – The European Union. Analysis of Daily Press, Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw 1998.

6. See: Jacek Kucharczyk, European Integration in Polish Political Debates 1997-1998, Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw 1999.

7. See: Lena Kolarska-Bobinska, The Second Wave of the Polish Reforms, Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw 2000.

8. Lena Kolarska-Bobinska, Completed Transformation. Integration into the EU, Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw 1998

9. For more detailed analysis of farmers’ attitudes see: The future of Polish agriculture and rural areas in view of European integration, Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw 1999.

10. Compare: Jacek Kucharczyk, ‘Yes, and furthermore no’. Political Parties Towards the Prospects for European Integration, Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw 1997.

11. Compare Aleks Szczerbiak, Public Opinion and Eastward Enlargement. Explaining declining Support for EU membership in Poland, Sussex European Institute Working Paper No 34, May 2000.

12. See Mark Leonard, Rediscovering Europe, Demos, London 1997.

13. Ibid.

Tr@nsit online, Nr. 20/2001
Copyright © 2002 by the author & Transit – Europäische Revue.
All rights reserved. This work may be used, with this header included, for noncommercial purposes. No copies of this work may be distributed electronically, in whole or in part, without written permission from Transit.

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  • Muriel Blaive

    Muriel Blaive ist seit 2012 Institutskoordinatorin des Ludwig Boltzmann Instituts für Europäische Geschichte und Öffentlichkeit.   Print

  • Andras Bozoki

    Sociology, Budapest
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  • José Casanova

    Professor für Soziologie, New School for Social Research, New York
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  • Daniel Chirot

    Soziologie, Seattle
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  • Robert Cooper

    Robert Cooper ist britischer Diplomat und derzeit als Sonderberater des Europäischen Auswärtigen Dienstes (European External Action Service, EEAS) tätig. Er ist zudem Gründungsmitglied des European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).   Print

  • Peter Demetz

    Sterling Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature, Yale University; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
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  • James Dodd

    Associate Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, New York
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  • Martin Endreß

    Martin Endreß ist Professor für Soziologie an der Universität Trier.   Print

  • Mischa Gabowitsch

    Mischa Gabowitsch (gabowitsch.net) is a research fellow at the Einstein Forum in Potsdam. He is the author of Putin kaputt!? (Suhrkamp, 2013), a study of the 2011-13 Russian protests for fair elections, and maintains protestrussia.net, which collects academic resources for the study of protest in Russia.   Print

  • Charles Gati

    Charles Gati is Senior Acting Director of Russian and Eurasian Studies and Foreign Policy Institute Senior Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C.     Print

  • Dessy Gavrilova

    Dessy Gavrilova is the founding Director of The Red House – Center for Culture and Debate in Sofia, Bulgaria.     Print

  • Keith Gessen

    Keith Gessen is a freelance writer living in Cambridge, MA.   Print

  • Gerhard Gnauck

    Warsaw correspondent for Die Welt
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  • Katya Gorchinskaya

    Managing Editor for Investigative Programming, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (REF/RL), Kyiv
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  • John Gray

    John Gray is Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics.   Print

  • Rainer Gries

    Rainer Gries lehrt und forscht als Universitätsprofessor am Historischen Institut der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, am Institut für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft der Universität Wien sowie an der Sigmund Freud PrivatUniversität Wien. Zu seinen Forschungsschwerpuntken zählen u.a. die Gesellschaftsgeschichte Deutschlands und Österreichs im 20. Jahrhundert und die Geschichte des Konsums in Europa.   Print

  • Eva Hahn

    Geschichte
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  • Gábor Halmai

    Professor of Law, Department of European Studies; Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
    Read more

  • Elemer Hankiss

    Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Eötvös Lorand Universität, Budapest; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
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  • Miklós Haraszti

    Miklós Haraszti is a writer, journalist, human rights advocate and university professor. He served the maximum of two terms as the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media from 2004 to 2010. Currently he is Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia Law School, New York. Haraszti studied philosophy and …
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  • Sabine Hark

    Sabine Hark forscht an der Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität Potsdam, Professur für Frauenforschung.   Print

  • Annemieke Hendriks

    Freelance journalist, Berlin
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  • Charles Hirschman

    Charles Hirschman is Boeing International Professor at the Department of Sociology and the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, Washington University.     Print

  • Jennifer L. Hochschild

    Jennifer L. Hochschild is Professor of Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Professor of African and African-American Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University.   Print

  • Yaroslav Hrytsak

    History, Central European University Budapest
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  • Richard Hyman

    Richard Hyman ist Professor für Politikwissenschaft an der London School of Economics.   Print

  • Vladislav Inozemtsev

    Professor of Economics at Higher School of Economics; Director, Centre for Post-Industrial Studies, Moscow
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  • Bruce P. Jackson

    Bruce P. Jackson is the founder and President of the Project on Transitional Democracies. The Project is a multi-year endeavour aimed at accelerating the pace of reform in post-1989 democracies and advancing the date for the integration of these democracies into the institutions of the Euro-Atlantic. Jackson has written extensively about the engagement of Russia …
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  • Tom Junes

    Visiting Researcher, Warsaw University, and Visiting Lecturer in Polish history, KULeuven, Belgium
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  • Alex J. Kay

    Alex J. Kay holds a PhD in History from the Humboldt University Berlin.   Print

  • Anatoly M. Khazanov

    Anatoly M. Khazanov ist Professor für Anthropologie an der University of Wisconsin, Madison.   Print

  • Cornelia Klinger

    Professor of Philosophy, University of Tübingen
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  • Gudrun-Axeli Knapp

    Professor of Social Sciences and Social Psychology, University of Hannover
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  • Jacek Kochanowicz

    Jacek Kochanowicz is Professor for Economic History at Warsaw University.       Print

  • Michal Kopecek

    International Relations, Charles University Prague
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  • János Kornai

    János Kornai is Prof. em. for Economics  at Harvard University and Permanent Fellow at the Collegium Budapest – Institute for Advanced Study. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europeae, and Foreign Member of the American, British, Bulgarian, Finnish, Russian and Swedish Academies. He has served as President of …
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  • Pavel Kouba

    Professor für Philosophie an der Karlsuniversität, Prag; Leiter des Zentrums für Phänomenologische Forschung an der Tschechischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
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  • János Mátyás Kovács

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Lecturer, Department of Economics, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest
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  • Ivan Krastev

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Chair of the Board, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
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  • Yustyna Kravchuk

    PhD candidate in Film and Media Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv
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  • Jacek Kucharczyk

    Jacek Kucharczyk ist Head of Programs am Institute of Public Affairs in Warschau.   Print

  • Aleksander Kwasniewski

    Aleksander Kwasniewski war Präsident Polens. Seine Amtszeit verlief von 1995 bis 2005 über zwei Legislaturperioden.   Print

  • Mladen Lazic

    Professor of Sociology, University of Belgrade
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  • Claus Leggewie

    Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen
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  • André Liebich

    Honorary Professor of International History and Politics, Graduate Institute, Geneva
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  • Burkhard Liebsch

    Burkhard Liebsch ist Professor für Philosophie an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum.   Print

  • Michal Luczewski

    Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, Warsaw University
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  • Charles S. Maier

    Charles S. Maier ist Direktor des Center for European Studies, Harvard University.   Print

  • Andrey Makarychev

    Andrey Makarychev ist Professor und Research Fellow am Institut Osteuropäische Studien an der Freien Universität Berlin.   Print

  • Michał Maciej Matlak

    Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute, Florence
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  • Erik Meyer

    Erik Meyer ist seit 2000 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Sonderforschungsbereich ‘Erinnerungskulturen’ an der Justus-Liebig Universität Gießen.   Print

  • Krzysztof Michalski

    IWM Founding Rector
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  • Hans J. Misselwitz

    Hans-Jürgen Misselwitz ist ein deutscher SPD-Politiker und Gründungsmitglied des Instituts Solidarische Moderne.   Print

  • Alessandro Monsutti

    Alessandro Monsutti is an associate professor of anthropology and development sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, as well as research associate at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. He worked as a consultant for several nongovernmental and international organizations, icnluding UNHCR. His book War and Migration: Social Networks …
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  • Jan-Werner Müller

    Professor of Politics, Princeton University

    Visiting Fellow
    (September 2016 – June 2017)
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  • Rainer Münz

    Professor für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
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  • Sighard Neckel

    Professor of Sociology, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
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  • Katherine Newman

    Katherine S. Newman is the James B. Knapp Dean of The Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. She is a widely published expert on poverty and the working poor who led major interdisciplinary initiatives at Princeton and Harvard universities.     Print

  • Pierre Nora

    Pierre Nora lehrt Geschichte an der École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris.   Print

  • Tereza Novotna

    Political Science, Boston University
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  • Ewald Nowotny

    Ewald Nowotny is Governor of the Austrian National Bank.   Print

  • Thomas Nowotny

    Thomas Nowotny teaches Political Science at the University of Vienna. He has been Austrian diplomat, private secretary to Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, senior political counselor to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and consultant to the OECD.   Print

  • Vlad Odobescu

    Freelance journalist, Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, Bucharest
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  • Andrzej Paczkowski

    Professor für Geschichte, Institut für Politische Studien, Polnische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Warschau
    Read more

  • Emilia Palonen

    Politics, University of Essex
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  • Irina Papkova

    Irina Papkova is a Research Fellow of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. She spent five years teaching at the Department of International Relations and European Studies at Central European University, Budapest.   Print

  • Agnieszka Pasieka

    Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the Martin Luther University, Halle/Saale
    Read more

  • Gleb Pavlovsky

    President, Center of Effective Policies; Member, Public Chamber of the Russian Federation; Editor-in-Chief, The Russian Journal (Moscow)
    Read more

  • György Péteri

    Professor of Contemporary European History, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
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  • Tanja Petrovic

    Tanja Petrovic works at the Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana.   Print

  • David Petruccelli

    PhD candidate in History, Yale University
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  • Alexander von Plato

    Alexander von Plato ist ein deutscher Philosoph und Historiker. Er gründete das Instituts für Geschichte und Biographie an der Fernuniversität Hagen, das er bis 2007 leitete. Von 1996 bis 2000 war er Sekretär der International Oral History Association, von 2006 bis 2008 deren Vizepräsident. Er ist Mitherausgeber und Redakteur von BIOS – Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral …
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  • Andrei Plesu

    Andrei Plesu ist Rektor des New Europe College, Bukarest. 1989- 1991 war er rumänischer Kulturminister und 1997- 1999 rumänischer Außenminister.   Print

  • Martin Pollack

    Martin Pollack, geb. 1944 in OÖ, studierte Slawistik und osteuropäische Geschichte. Er war von 1987 bis 1998 Redakteur des “Spiegel” in Warschau und Wien und lebt heute als Schriftsteller und literarischer Übersetzer in Wien und Bocksdorf im Südburgenland. 2011 erhielt er den Leipziger Buchpreis zur Europäischen Verständigung und 2012 den Stanislaw-Vincenz-Preis. Zuletzt erschien von ihm …
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  • Krzysztof Pomian

    Krzysztof Pomian is Professor of History at the Nicolaus Copernicus University (Toruń) and Academic Director of the Museum of Europe in Brussels.   Print

  • Romano Prodi

    Romano Prodi war von September 1999 bis November 2004 Präsident der Europäischen Kommission.   Print

  • Lipin Ram

    PhD candidate and teaching assistant in Anthropology and Sociology of Development, Graduate Institute, Geneva
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  • Mykola Riabchuk

    Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies, Academy of Sciences, Kyiv
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  • Edelbert Richter

    Edelbert Richter ist deutscher Theologe, Politiker und war Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages.   Print

  • Paul Ricoeur

    Paul Ricoeur ist Philosoph und war Professor Emeritus an der University of Chicago und an der Sorbonne. Er war Mitglied der Académie Francaise und Mitglied des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats des IWM. Er starb 2005.   Print

  • Michel Rocard

    Michel Rocard, former First Secretary of the French Socialist Party and a member of the European Parliament for 15 years, was Prime Minister of France from 1988 to 1991.   Print

  • Akos Rona-Tas

    Akos Rona-Tas is professor at the Sociology Department of the University of California, San Diego and a research associate at Met@risk, INRA, Paris. He is the author of the books Plastic Money: Constructing Markets for Credit Cards in Eight Postcommunist Countries (with Alya Guseva, 2014) and Surprise of the Small Transformation: Demise of Communism and …
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  • Lew Rubinstein

    Lew Rubinstein lebt als Poet und Essayist in Moskau. Nach dem Studium der Philologie war er als Bibliothekar tätig. Seit Ende der 1960er-Jahre verfasst er poetische Arbeiten, seit 1974 serielle Textzyklen als so genannte Kartotheken. Zusammen mit Andrej Monastyrskij, Dimitrij A. Prigov und Vladimir Sorokin gilt er als wichtigster Vertreter des Moskauer Konzeptualismus. Print

  • Jacques Rupnik

    Geschichte und Politikwissenschaft, Paris
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  • Claudia Šabi?

    Claudia Šabi? ist Politikwissenschaftlerin und Ethnologin. Seit 1998 ist sie Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main. Print

  • Ranabir Samaddar

    Ranabir Samaddar is the Director of the Calcutta Research Group. His research focuses on migration and refugee studies, the theory and practices of dialogue, nationalism and post-colonial statehood in South Asia, and new regimes of technological restructuring and labour control. Among his many publications are Marginal Nation: Trans-border Migration from Bangladesh to India (1999), Politics of Dialogue: Living under …
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  • Paul Sanders

    Paul Sanders is a historian and management scholar. He is a full-time professor at Reims Management School in Reims, France. He has published across the disciplines of history, international relations and leadership.   Print

  • Karl Schlögel

    Karl Schlögel war Professor für Osteuropäische Geschichte zuerst an der Universität Konstanz, dann an der Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. Nach seiner Emeritierung arbeitet er an einer Archäologie des Kommunismus und einer Geschichte des Wolgaraumes. Zurzeit ist er City of Vienna/IFK Fellow am IFK in Wien.     Print

  • Thomas Schmid

    Thomas Schmid is the publisher of the WELT Group, Berlin. He worked for various newspapers, among them as editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. From 2006 to 2010 he was Editor-in-Chief of Die Welt.   Print

  • Margit Schratzenstaller

    Margit Schratzenstaller is senior researcher at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) and is currently coordinating (together with Karl Aiginger and Stefan Ederer) ‘WWW for Europe’, a 4-year research project within the 7th Framework Program funded by the European Commission.   Print

  • Dieter Segert

    Dieter Segert ist Professor für Transformationsprozesse in Mittel-, Südost- und Osteuropa am Institut für Politikwissenschaft der Universität Wien. Seit September 2007 ist er Mitglied des Vorstandes des IDM Wien, seit Juni 2008 Mitglied der Leibniz-Sozietät der Wissenschaften zu Berlin.   Print

  • Victoriya Sereda

    Sociologie, Ivan-Franko-Universität, Lviv
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  • Michel Serres

    Michel Serres ist Philosoph und Mitglied der Académie Française.   Print

  • Marci Shore

    Associate Professor of History, Yale University
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  • Sławomir Sierakowski

    Director, Institute for Advanced Study, Warsaw; Founder, "Krytyka Polityczna" movement
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  • Sara Silverstein

    Ph.D. Candidate in Modern European and International History, Yale University
    Read more

  • Aleksander Smolar

    Political Science, Paris
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  • Timothy Snyder

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Bird White Housum Professor of History, Yale University
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  • George Soros

    George Soros is a pioneer of the hedge-fund industry, investor and philanthropist, he is the author of many books, including Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays (2012), The Soros Lectures: At the Central European University (2010), The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Finance Markets (2009).   …
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  • Robert Spaemann

    Robert Spaemann ist Professor em. für Philosophie an der Universität München.   Print

  • Pawel Spiewak

    Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Philosophy, Warsaw University
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  • Wilfried Stadler

    Wilfried Stadler ist Unternehmensberater, Wirtschaftspublizist und Honorarprofessor an der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. Bis 2009 war er Vorstandsvorsitzender einer österreichischen Spezialbank für Unternehmensfinanzierung.   Print

  • Rudolf Stamm

    Rudolf Stamm war von 1975 bis 1988 Korrespondent der Neuen Zürcher Zeitung für Osteuropa und Österreich, anschließend bis 1999 für Italien, dann bis zu seiner Pensionierung 2002 für die USA mit Sitz in Washington D.C. Er starb 2010 in der Schweiz. 1985 erscheinen seine NZZ-Reportagen aus Osteuropa in dem Band Alltag und Tradition in Osteuropa. …
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  • Paul Starr

    Paul Starr ist Professor für Soziologie an der Princeton University und Mitherausgeber von The American Prospect. Er ist Pulitzer-Preisträger.   Print

  • Martina Steer

    ÖAW APART Fellow (History)
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  • Kristina Stoeckl

    Research Director
    APART Fellow, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Department of Political Sciences, University of Vienna
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  • Roman Szporluk

    Roman Szporluk is Professor em. of Ukrainian History at Harvard and Professor em. of History at the University of Michigan. He is a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine. His research focuses on modern Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish history, and on Marxism and nationalism in Eastern Europe.   Print

  • Charles Taylor

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Professor em. of Philosophy, McGill University, Montréal
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  • Maria Teteriuk

    PhD candidate in Mass Communications and senior lecturer in Media Studies, National University of 'Kyiv-Mohyla Academy', Ukraine
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  • Philipp Ther

    Junior Professor of Polish and Ukrainian Studies, Europa-Universität Frankfurt / Oder
    Read more

  • Maria Todorova

    Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
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  • Balázs Trencsényi

    Balázs Trencsényi, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Department of History, CEU. His research focuses on the comparative history of political thought in East Central Europe and the history of historiography. He is co-director of Pasts, Inc., Center for Historical Studies at CEU and Associate Editor of the periodical East Central Europe (Brill). He was …
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  • Stefan Troebst

    .
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  • Marius Turda

    Lecturer in the Education Abroad Program, Eötvös Lorand University, Faculty of Humanities, Budapest
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  • Andreas Umland

    Andreas Umland ist Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Euro-Atlantische Kooperation Kiew sowie Herausgeber der Buchreihe Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, ibidem-Verlag Stuttgart. Print

  • Victoria Vasilenko

    Assistant Professor of Contemporary History and International Relations, Belgorod National Research University
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  • David G. Victor

    David G. Victor is a Professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego, where he directs the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation.   Print

  • Harald Welzer

    Harald Welzer ist Forschungsprofessor für Sozialpsychologie an der Universität Witten/Herdecke und Direktor des Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research am Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts Essen.   Print

  • Karolina Wigura

    Adjunct of the History of Ideas, University of Warsaw; Co-Editor of Kultura Liberalna
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  • Volodymyr Yermolenko

    Volodymyr Yermolenko is a Ukrainian philosopher and essayist. He has a degree in Political Science from the EHESS, Paris, and teaches at Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kyiv. He is the author of the book Narrator and Philosopher: Walter Benjamin and his time (2011, in Ukrainian). Print

  • Oksana Zabuzhko

    Free-lance writer, Kiev
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  • Tatiana Zhurzhenko

    Research Director, Russia in Global Dialogue / Ukraine in European Dialogue
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