Student Protest as the Trigger for the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine

iStock_000031024590_Full_600x400

Students wave a giant EU flag during a demonstration in Lviv, November 28, 2013.

24.11.2015

The Euromaidan rallies and the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine in 2013-2014 were both a remarkable and unimaginable event in recent European history. They captured the minds of activists, commentators, and politicians, in addition becoming the topic of often ardent and contentious debates. During the three months when the civic protests evolved into a successful but violent uprising against the then corrupt regime of Viktor Yanukovych, the democratically-elected but increasingly authoritarian president of the country, most of the discussions, however, came to focus either on the international geopolitical perspective, the domestic high politics or the role of the far right in the crisis. Ultimately, following Russia’s military intervention which led to occupation and annexation of Crimea and the appearance of a Russian-backed armed separatist insurgency in the Donbas, most of these debates left the original grassroots dynamics of the Euromaidan rallies in the shadow.

By now it has been nearly forgotten how the events started that led to Yanukovych relinquishing power and fleeing to Russia. Nevertheless, it was exactly on the grassroots level that some of the most interesting developments took place such as the appearance of a student protest movement which though short-lived became crucial for the Euromaidan movement as a whole and whose fate paradoxically directly triggered the Revolution. However, the students’ initial efforts seemed to have been merely transitory as the momentum shifted to other actors and eventually back to the elites leaving the younger generation seemingly powerless to influence the further trajectory of the country. Nevertheless, with the benefit of hindsight, it is worth recalling the manifestation of student activism during these events and recall how the initial Euromaidan rallies and the subsequent Revolution of Dignity was propelled by what was in effect a youth revolt.

Prelude to protest in Ukraine

On 21 November 2013, the Ukrainian government announced that it was suspending preparations to sign an association agreement with the European Union at a summit in Vilnius the next week. It was a shocking policy U-turn provoking outcries of disbelief and anger among the population. More so, President Viktor Yanukovych’s sudden abandonment of a presumed pro-European course symbolised by the government’s announcement that the Vilnius summit was dead in the water even before it had started, seemingly caught all protagonists by surprise. EU leaders and negotiators were stunned, the parliamentary opposition was shell-shocked, while Russia (and its president Vladimir Putin) kept a complacent distance. Meanwhile, on various social media platforms calls to protest the government’s decision were skyrocketing. That evening between 1,000 and 1,500 protesters waving Ukrainian and European Union flags alike gathered on Kyiv’s Maidan giving birth to the concept of the Euromaidan. Apart from Kyiv, the calls on social media had also brought out up to a few hundred protesters in L’viv, Lutsk, Ternopil, and Donetsk. The parliamentary opposition for its part had also caught on. The former world champion boxer and leader of the UDAR party, Vitaliy Klitschko, visited the demonstrators and from a makeshift podium called for a 100,000-strong protest rally to take place in the capital within three days.[1] Nevertheless, the subsequent sequence of events that would give rise to the mass demonstrations in Kyiv and other cities had less to do with internet-organised protest or appeals of the parliamentary opposition, but with the collective actions of students.

Students and the outbreak of the Euromaidan protests

On the day following the government’s decision not to sign the association agreement, a series of events took place in L’viv, the unofficial capital of western Ukraine, which determined the course of the subsequent days. In many ways, this was not surprising as L’viv possesses strong historical and cultural links with the rest of Central Europe and compared to other major cities in Ukraine it lies geographically close to the European Union, the Polish border being but a mere two hours drive away. Having been part of the Soviet Union since only after the Second World War, it has a much weaker relation with the Russian-speaking part of the country and with Russia.[2] If anywhere in Ukraine there was a perfect breeding ground for a revolt against the Yanukovych regime it was in L’viv.

There, on the morning of 22 November, a group of over a hundred students gathered in front of the provincial government building to protest the government’s decision of the day before. The students had improvised EU flags and chanted pro-European slogans. After a while, they decided to turn their gathering into a street demonstration calling upon students -while passing other institutions of higher education- and other passers-by to join their protest. Within a short space of time the demonstration had grown to a few thousand. The protesters then proceeded to the Taras Shevchenko monument in the city centre. The students announced the formation of a strike committee and the L’viv Euromaidan was a fact. Counting about 10,000 participants the L’viv rally by far outnumbered those in the rest of the country. More so, the academic authorities of the city’s universities and colleges declared their support for the students and were joined by the city’s mayor, Andriy Sadoviy, and the municipal council in condemning the national government. Though this gave the students some guarantee of protection, they insisted on keeping their own specific student organisational committee, calling for the Euromaidan to be a symbol of civic action and void of political insignia.[3]

The mobilisation in L’viv was incessant and soon took on a national scale as the Euromaidan became a way station for thousands of L’vivians heading for the capital -day and night- in time for the planned rally on 24 November. In part, the coordination effort was managed through social media networks and the Euromaidan news feeds that had started to appear and were administered by the more tech-savvy protesters in a nearby cafe. The Kyiv rally was a stunning show of massive mobilisation in the capital, while about 20,000 protesters had gathered simultaneously in the centre of L’viv. In Kyiv, the leaders of the parliamentary opposition addressed the protesters, but in L’viv the students of the Euromaidan watched vigilantly over the civic spirit of the protest. One of the student leaders in L’viv, Andriy Tkachuk, explained the students’ wariness of politicians and political parties very bluntly. “We came out without banners or symbols of any political parties, to demonstrate our independence from the parties. We, the students, we are coming out as an independent part of society. We do not have to march under party banners. You can guess how those kind of actions end.”[4] When the local leader of the ultranationalist party Svoboda, Yury Mykhalchyshyn, tried to address the crowd at the rally, the students intervened and started chanting “bez politykiv [without politicians].”[5]

The next day, L’viv students proclaimed a student strike and set up headquarters in a tent camp at the site of the Euromaidan. The call to strike was heeded by 10,000 students with the full support of their professors. Similarly, in a show of support, L’viv university rectors promptly cancelled all lectures thereby exonerating the students from any possible sanctions. Other cities in western Ukraine followed suit with thousands of students boycotting lectures and walking out to protest on city squares in respective Euromaidan rallies.[6] At the same time, groups of students were continuously heading for Kyiv to reinforce the protesters in the capital and strengthen the student presence there.

Students mobilise in the capital

Following the 24 November rally and the influx of students to the capital, students in Kyiv took the next step. Student groups who had met at the Sunday protest rally decided that it was time for students to act in a concerted way. Representatives from various Kyiv universities formed a strike committee and on 26 November a first student protest rally took place in the capital with 2,000 students gathering in Shevchenko Park.[7] The following day, the students handed over a petition at the presidential administration office in Kyiv demanding that Yanukovych sign the EU association agreement. By then, thousands of students were present on the Maidan itself, while their peers were attending Euromaidan rallies in other cities en masse. Despite the media focusing on the speeches of the leaders of the parliamentary opposition, it were, in fact, the students who constituted the driving force behind the Euromaidan rallies.[8] The student strikes, which they simultaneously initiated, marked the birth of a large-scale grassroots student protest movement.

Moreover, the striking students enjoyed the support of professors and in many cases even that of the university administrations though lectures were not suspended.[9]  The students’ actions took place beyond the universities’ premises since the institutions of higher education did not enjoy academic autonomy that would inhibit riot police to enter their sites and buildings. There was no protection there for students. So when the student strike started, students from one university marched to the others and called upon the students to leave the buildings and join them outside. They then took to the streets, skipping classes and staging demonstrations involving at times even tens of thousands of students, and set up specific student sectors at the Euromaidan rallies. Nevertheless, this was so far a spontaneous grassroots movement that lacked a formal structure. Informal organisation and mobilisation was key and exemplified the spirit of the movement. It opened space for student initiatives to sprout which addressed various aspects of engaging in political action such as law students from the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy providing legal assistance and advice for the striking students and civic activists vis-à-vis the authorities.[10]

Despite lacking the protection of their academic institutions and an organisational structure, the fledgling Ukrainian student movement was bound together by generational characteristics that manifested themselves socially and then served to fuel the students’ politicisation. As the prominent Ukrainian historian, Yaroslav Hrytsak, commented: “We are now witnessing a generational rift in Ukraine. Young Ukrainians resemble young Italians, Czech, Poles, or Germans more than they resemble Ukrainians who are 50 and older. This generation has a stronger desire for European integration and fewer regional divides than their seniors.”[11] The current student generation also has little or no first-hand recollection of the Soviet past. Widespread divisions between Ukraine’s western and central regions on the one hand and eastern and southern regions on the other hand are less determining. Instead, students are more concerned about their future. “They are a new generation with quite a different set of values. This explains to a large extent what is happening in the country,” Hrytsak noted. The students “are trying to articulate their values and raise their voice,” he further explained “because their career opportunities are handicapped, arrested, or curtailed.”[12] Their revolt targeted the corrupt political class and was therefore ultimately about changing the state and the manner in which it functions.

The movement radicalises

Within a week from its outbreak, tens of thousands of students from around the country had joined the protest movement. However, the initial trigger that spawned the protests -the government’s U-turn regarding the signing of the EU association agreement- soon lost its rationale. The Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius which took place from 28 to 29 November passed en mineur. President Yanukovych had not been moved by the protests and -citing pressure from Russia and raising additional demands- did not change his mind about not signing the agreement. Having returned from Vilnius empty-handed, the parliamentary opposition was left dumbfounded not having any clear plan on how to proceed. There were calls for the dissolution of parliament, for government resignation, for the impeachment of Yanukovych, and, alternately, to force him to sign the association agreement by 15 March of the next year. A rally was called for the next Sunday, 1 December. After addressing the crowd, Klitschko stepped down from the stage on the Maidan and mingled with the gathered students and protesters. “Vitaliy, do something! We are relying on you!” a woman shouted at him. “Vitaliy! When are you going to define a single opposition candidate?” a student asked. Klitschko looked embarrassed while he tried to have a discussion with the students. He stated that the opposition had started discussions on uniting behind a single candidate at the summit in Vilnius, but that they had not reached any agreement on the issue. Then, just after 8pm, Klitschko together with Arseniy Yatseniuk, and Oleh Tiahnybok, the other opposition leaders, decided to leave the 10,000 strong demonstration at the Maidan where the students and civic activists had been staging their protest meetings.[13]

Nine days of protest propelled by students had ended in defeat. Yanukovych did not come back on the decision not to sign the EU Association Agreement in Vilnius. The Sunday rally supposedly would be the beginning of a campaign to unite behind the parliamentary opposition in light of the presidential elections of 2015 in order to elect a candidate who would then presumably reverse the incumbent’s decision and set Ukraine on ‘a path to Europe’. Meanwhile, the protesters who had gathered on the Maidan that evening decided to call an end to the protest and go home. A few hundred students nevertheless remained in their improvised tent camp and would leave the following morning. For all intents and purposes the Euromaidan protests seemed to have come to an end. Then, something unexpected and in fact unimaginable during the previous 22 years of Ukrainian independence happened. In the early hours of Saturday morning, around 4:30am, when only a few hundred students and activists remained on the Maidan, the Berkut special police moved in with brutal force to clear the square of the last peaceful protesters. As a result of this unprecedented violence, hundreds were wounded and dozens of severely injured were transported away to hospitals in the capital.[14]

From beaten students to revolution

The corrupt Yanukovych regime, angered by the spontaneous protests of the young generation and still vengeful for the Orange Revolution, showed its true face. With its crackdown on the students the regime had drawn first blood. Supposedly, it had hoped by resorting to disproportional repression to nip any further resistance in the bud. Yet, things were to turn out quite differently. After the violent escalation, some 200 students and activists fled and barricaded themselves in the Mikhailovsky monastery -just over a kilometer from the Maidan square- where they were visited by members of parliament and other Kyivians. The young activists, though frightened and in shock, stated that they wanted “to stick it out to the end,” though they didn’t quite know what ‘the end’ meant.[15]

With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that the violence unleashed by the Yanukovych regime against the students in the night of 29-30 November 2013 triggered the beginning of the Revolution of Dignity. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians of all ages rallied in the capital and other cities around the country, outraged that the ‘regime was beating their children’ and set up elaborate self-organised protest camps modeled on the original Maidan. In less than three months, the protests -which unfortunately saw further escalations and a spiral of violence ending in the deaths of dozens of protesters- led to Yanukovych abandoning the presidency and fleeing the country. In reaction, Russia invaded and occupied parts of Ukraine, annexing Crimea and feeding a separatist insurgency in the Donbas resulting in a bloody war that continues (despite several formal ceasefires) to this day and has killed thousands. Certainly, this is not (yet) ‘the end’ that the students had imagined taking to the streets and city squares in protest in late November 2013. The question remains of what this ‘end’ will be: a truly modern European future for Ukraine?; a return to the old corrupt ways of Ukraine’s political elite and oligarchs?; more Russian aggression and interference in Ukraine’s domestic and international politics? At this point it is still too hard to tell.

Nevertheless, what is clear is that it were students and young Ukrainians who played a significant role initially, setting in motion a chain of events that would eventually lead the Euromaidan rallies to turn into the Revolution of Dignity. The situation may have changed drastically and not taken the course the students could have imagined, but it was the younger generation that with its actions opposed the country’s political elite and stood up for change. In 2013, when the Euromaidan protests broke out in Ukraine, students protesting austerity measures in Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom were poised against their countries’ elites, while in Bulgaria students were embroiled in a broader struggle against a corrupted political class and influential oligarchs.[16] Here, one can detect a similar generational component and a shared rising distrust of the powers that be. Commenting on the Euromaidan rallies in December 2013, the then President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, rejoiced that “those young people in the streets of Ukraine, with freezing temperatures, are writing the new narrative for Europe.”[17] While Mr Barroso juxtaposed the Ukrainian protest with the contestation of European policies of austerity, he ignored the fact that this new narrative is also being built in the European Union itself. Ultimately, the protesting students’ version of this European narrative might differ from the one that the president of the Commission imagined. Years from now, historians will assess the student protest movements and perhaps impart on them the same quality.

Tom Junes is a visiting fellow at the Imre Kertész Kolleg in Jena and a member of the Human and Social Studies Foundation in Sofia. He was a Bronisław Geremek fellow at IWM in 2011-2012.

© Author/Transit Online.

An extended version of the article will appear in Bulgarian in the upcoming issue of Kritika i Humanizm.

[1]. “Na Maydan pryyshlo blyz’ko 1500 oburenykh zupynkoyu yevrointehratsiyi,” Ukrains’ka Pravda; Vitaliy Moroz, “From Facebook and Twitter to the streets: Ukrainians protest of ceased EU deal,” Grassglobal.

[2]. See William Jay Risch, The Ukrainian West: Culture and Fate of Empire in Soviet Lviv, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011.

[3]. “Studenty mitynhuyut’ pid stinamy oblrady: ‘My khochemo v YES!’,KuPol, 8; “Studenty zaklykaly ne pidnimaty partiynykh praporiv na mitynhu u L’vovi,” KuPol ; “Na Evromaydan u L’vovi vyyshly blyz’ko 10 tysyach osib,” NBnews; “U L’vovi kil’ka tysyach studentiv vyyshly na vulytsyu,” Ukrains’ka Pravda.

[4]. Yaroslav Ivanochko, “Studenty ne mayut’ vykhodyty pid partiynymy praporamy, bo vy znayete, chym mozhe tse zakinchytysya, – Andriy Tkachuk,” iPress.

[5]. “Lviv students prevent Svoboda leader from addressing 20,000-strong rally,” Zik.

[6]. “Lviv students want EU deal signed,” KyivPost.

[7]. Olena Goncharova, “Students go on strike to call for Ukraine’s European future,” KyivPost.

[8]. “Studenti stayut providnoyu siloyu Evromaydanu,” Tyzhden.

[9]. “How Kyiv universities react to Euromaidan,” Euromaidan explained.

[10]. “Do uvahy studentiv vyshchykh navchal’nykh zakladiv Ukrayiny!,” Natsionalnyy universytet «Kyyevo-Mohylyanska akademiya».

[11]. “In Ukraine, Protests Highlight ‘Generational Rift’,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

[12]. “How the social drivers of EuroMaidan differ from the Orange Revolution,” KyivPost .

[13]. “EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine – Nov. 29 coverage,” KyivPost.

[14]. “Battle for Ukraine: Crackdown in Kiev,” The Economist.

[15]. Andrey Chernikov, “Ukraine’s Black Saturday.”  

[16]. See Tom Junes, “Students Take Bulgaria’s Protests to the Next Level. Can They Break the Political Stalemate?” Tr@nsit Online.

[17]. “Statement of President Barroso on the current situation in Ukraine,” Europa.eu Press Releases Database.

Tags:

Related Content

  • How Eurovision Became the Kremlin’s Mousetrap

    The Kremlin presented Ukraine with two options, both of which were mousetraps. Were Ukraine to allow Samoylova to enter the country, it would violate its own law and tacitly recognize the “Russian status” of Crimea. Were Ukraine to stick to the rule of law and ban her – and this is what happened – it would indirectly tarnish its image as a country that adheres to European values.
    Read more

  • Crimea as a Glimpse into a Post-American World

    Fareed Zakaria’s “post-American world” may not be as benign as the author envisaged back in 2008. Other centers of power may follow Russia’s lead and start exploiting the cracks in the international order rather than engage in helping to patch them up.
    Read more

  • The Trap of Being New Europe

    In the face of the migration crisis and populist shift within the EU, the outmoded and stale division between New and Old Europe is coming back into favor in European public debate. The concept of ‘New Europe’ can easily serve to explain and at the same time to normalize, in a politically correct way, a qualitative difference between Western Europe and its Eastern neighbors. From a Central and Eastern European perspective, however, the term ‘New Europe’ seems essentially contradictory, since being a part of Europe in its cultural and political dimensions always was and still is an undebatable assumption.
    Read more

  • Fifty Years After Naxalbari, Popular Movements Still Have Lessons to Learn

    In 1967, an armed rebellion by peasants in Naxalbari, a hitherto unknown village in northern Bengal, broke out that was to leave its imprint not just on the politics of the time but on the course of radical movements all the way down to the present.
    Read more

  • Shedding Light on Corruption: A Small Romanian Victory

    “We see you”. This short message, projected on a building near the Romanian government's headquarters, was the main message from hundreds of thousands of people to their politicians. At 9 PM local time, on Sunday, 5 February 2017, some 250,000 people turned on their mobile phones' flashlights, in a symbolic gesture of “shedding light on corruption”. A total of 600,000 people gathered in Romania that night, making it the largest protest movement in the country since 1989.
    Read more

  • Invalid Anti-Migrant Referendum in Hungary

    Despite all the immoral and unlawful efforts of the government to influence the Hungarian voters, the majority of them did not cast votes, and made the referendum invalid. Disregarding this result, at the night of the referendum, Prime Minister Orbán announced the amendment of the constitution “in order to give a form to the will of the people.”
    Read more

  • Die Idee des Intermariums: Ein mittelosteuropäischer Pakt gegen russischen Neoimperialismus

    Die Sicherheitsinteressen Zwischeneuropas und vor allem der Ukraine verlangen nach einem Intermarium-Block – einer Koalition der Staaten zwischen Ostsee und Schwarzem Meer.
    Read more

  • Austria: The Lesson of the Far Right

    The presidential election situation that arose in Austria in May and will be repeated in October—a run-off between the Greens and the far right—has never occurred in Europe before. But it starkly reveals a fundamental political conflict that can be found in many Western democracies today. This conflict is not meaningfully described as one of “ordinary people versus the establishment.” In Austria, both the Freedom Party and the Green Party have been “established” since the mid-1980s; in Britain, Boris Johnson, one of the main faces of the Brexit campaign, is about as establishment as one can get in the UK; and Donald Trump is hardly the authentic representative of Main Street. Rather, on one side of the new conflict are those who advocate more openness: toward minorities at home and toward engagement with the world on the outside.
    Read more

  • The Warsaw NATO Summit and beyond

    Obama’s criticism and the embarrassing act of censorship of his speech notwithstanding, the NATO Warsaw Summit proved on balance to be successful for Poland’s foreign policy goals, as well as those of NATO’s other Eastern Allies, as they have managed to secure NATO’s increased presence on the Eastern flanks as part of a defence against, and a deterrent to, Putin’s Russia. Nevertheless, with the UK gradually losing its influence following the Brexit referendum and most likely leaving the EU within a few years, Poland and NATO’s Eastern Allies are losing an important ally that provided significant political support for these countries in the EU and NATO. Law and Justice may also face growing isolation on the European level, especially if it does not find an acceptable solution for the constitutional crisis and continues questionable practices in the media sphere.
    Read more

  • Eastern Europe Is Both Dreading Brexit and Ready for It

    What seemed impossible even a year ago now seems fated. The European Union will probably be better run with Britain out, but it is unlikely to survive if the British next week decide to leave. “The Radetzky March” is particularly apt here because, though the focus after a Leave victory will be on Britain, the real disaster will befall Roth’s literary stamping grounds of Central and Eastern Europe. Indeed, in a very real way, the disintegration of Europe will be set off by Brexit, but it will take place far to the east.
    Read more

Tr@nsit Online Authors

  • Bradley F. Abrams

    History, Stanford University
    Read more

  • Thomas Ahbe

    Thomas Ahbe studierte Philosophie, Ökonomie und Soziologie. Seit 1998 wirkt er freischaffend als Sozialwissenschaftler und Publizist. Seine Arbeitsschwerpunkte sind Diskurs- und Kulturgeschichte der deutschen Zweistaatlichkeit und der ostdeutschen Transformation sowie die Generationengeschichte der DDR und Ostdeutschlands.   Print

  • Karl Aiginger

    Karl Aiginger is Director of WIFO (Österreichisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung), Professor of Economics and Coordinator of the project A new growth path for Europe within the 7th European Framework Program.   Print

  • Huercan Asli Aksoy

    Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, University of Tübingen
    Read more

  • Sorin Antohi

    Sorin Antohi is Professor of History at Central European University, Budapest.   Print

  • Timothy Garton Ash

    History, Oxford
    Read more

  • Roumen Avramov

    Program director for economic research at the Center for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
    Read more

  • Adam Baczko

    PhD Candidate in Political Science, EHESS, Paris
    Read more

  • Pavel Barsa

    Associate Professor of Political Science, Charles University Prague
    Read more

  • Rainer Bauböck

    Rainer Bauböck is professor of social and political theory at the European University Institute in Florence. In 2006 he was awarded the Latsis Prize of the European Science Foundation for his work on immigration and social cohesion in modern societies. Among his many publications are Immigration and Boundaries of Citizenship (1992), Transnational Citizenship: Membership and …
    Read more

  • Steven Beller

    Geschichte, Cambridge
    Read more

  • Naja Bentzen

    Freelance journalist, Wien
    Read more

  • Luiza Bialasiewicz

    Jean Monnet Professor of EU External Relations, University of Amsterdam
    Read more

  • Muriel Blaive

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

  • Andras Bozoki

    Sociology, Budapest
    Read more

  • José Casanova

    Professor für Soziologie, New School for Social Research, New York
    Read more

  • Daniel Chirot

    Soziologie, Seattle
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • James Dodd

    Associate Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, New York
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • Katya Gorchinskaya

    Managing Editor for Investigative Programming, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (REF/RL), Kyiv
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • 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 …
    Read more

  • Sabine Hark

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

  • Annemieke Hendriks

    Freelance journalist, Berlin
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • 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 …
    Read more

  • Tom Junes

    Visiting Researcher, Warsaw University, and Visiting Lecturer in Polish history, KULeuven, Belgium
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • Gudrun-Axeli Knapp

    Professor of Social Sciences and Social Psychology, University of Hannover
    Read more

  • Jacek Kochanowicz

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

  • Michal Kopecek

    International Relations, Charles University Prague
    Read more

  • 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 …
    Read more

  • Pavel Kouba

    Professor für Philosophie an der Karlsuniversität, Prag; Leiter des Zentrums für Phänomenologische Forschung an der Tschechischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
    Read more

  • Bilyana Kourtasheva

    Post-Doc in Theory and History of Literature, New Bulgarian University, Sofia
    Read more

  • János Mátyás Kovács

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Lecturer, Department of Economics, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest
    Read more

  • Ivan Krastev

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Chair of the Board, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
    Read more

  • Yustyna Kravchuk

    PhD candidate in Film and Media Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • Claus Leggewie

    Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen
    Read more

  • André Liebich

    Honorary Professor of International History and Politics, Graduate Institute, Geneva
    Read more

  • Burkhard Liebsch

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

  • Michal Luczewski

    Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, Warsaw University
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • Erik Meyer

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

  • Krzysztof Michalski

    IWM Founding Rector
    Read more

  • 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 …
    Read more

  • Jan-Werner Müller

    Professor of Politics, Princeton University

    Visiting Fellow
    (September 2016 – August 2017)
    Read more

  • Rainer Münz

    Professor für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
    Read more

  • Sighard Neckel

    Professor of Sociology, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • Andrzej Paczkowski

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

  • Emilia Palonen

    Politics, University of Essex
    Read more

  • 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

    Guest, Russia in Global Dialogue
    (November 2017)
    Read more

  • György Péteri

    Professor of Contemporary European History, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • 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 …
    Read more

  • Andrei Pleșu

    Andrei Pleșu 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 …
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • Mykola Riabchuk

    Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies, Academy of Sciences, Kyiv
    Read more

  • 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 …
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • Claudia Šabic

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

  • Ranabir Samaddar

    Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • Michel Serres

    Michel Serres ist Philosoph und Mitglied der Académie Française.   Print

  • Anton Shekhovtsov

    Visiting Fellow, Ukraine in European Dialogue
    (January 2016 – July 2018)
    Read more

  • Marci Shore

    Associate Professor of History, Yale University
    Read more

  • Sławomir Sierakowski

    Director, Institute for Advanced Study, Warsaw; Founder, "Krytyka Polityczna" movement
    Read more

  • Sara Silverstein

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

  • Ondřej Slačálek

    Assistant Professor of Political Science, Charles University, Prague
    Read more

  • Aleksander Smolar

    Political Science, Paris
    Read more

  • Timothy Snyder

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Richard C. Levin Professor of History, Yale University
    Read more

  • 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).   …
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • 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. …
    Read more

  • 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)
    Read more

  • Kristina Stoeckl

    Research Director
    APART Fellow, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Department of Political Sciences, University of Vienna
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • Maria Teteriuk

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

  • 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
    Read more

  • 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 …
    Read more

  • Stefan Troebst

    .
    Read more

  • Marius Turda

    Lecturer in the Education Abroad Program, Eötvös Lorand University, Faculty of Humanities, Budapest
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • 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
    Read more

  • Tatiana Zhurzhenko

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