Can It Happen Here? Our Central European Future

Austria may come to play an ominous role in the deepening conflict between East and West, writes Carl Henrik Fredriksson in his latest Transit Online article (supplement to the printed version of Transit 50). The future of the EU will be decided in Central Europe.

“History teaches but has no pupils,” laments Austrian writer Ingeborg Bachmann in her dejected postwar novel Malina. “History does not repeat, but it does instruct,” Timothy Snyder ripostes, in the pamphlet On Tyranny, penned in anger as Donald Trump prepared for his inauguration a year ago. As a historian, Snyder sees himself especially called upon to both diagnose and dispute Trump’s regime change and the route towards a totalitarian society it presages.

But Snyder isn’t just any historian; he is an expert on Eastern Europe. Well into the US election campaign, most commentators failed to recognize what was about to happen, he notes. But there was one group of observers who knew exactly what was at stake, namely Eastern Europeans and experts on Eastern Europe. They were able to read the signs:

“History, which for a time seemed to be running from west to east, now seems to run from east to west. Everything that happens here seems to happen there first.”

Snyder’s unexpected bestseller – after 44 weeks on the New York Times list of paperback nonfiction it still occupies third place – is deeply rooted in the American context in which it is written. But even though the main target of this polemic brochure is American exceptionalism – it can’t happen here – its insights are applicable on this side of the Atlantic as well.

In her Transit essay “Once upon a time in 1989”, Croatian-born journalist and novelist Slavenka Drakulic describes how patterns from the conflict-ridden Balkans of the 1990s are currently being reproduced in Western Europe; how identities are being politicized and nationalism is conflated with religion, resulting in a deadly brew. The West is now learning the hard lessons of the East, she notes – but in an entirely different way than we had hoped.

These observations get truly worrying when they come straight from the horse’s mouth, confidently asserted by one of the protagonists in the political drama currently being staged in Europe: “Twenty-seven years ago here in Central Europe we believed that Europe was our future; today we feel that we are the future of Europe.” Thus Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán closed his yearly summer speech in front of a Hungarian audience in Romania last July.

It was here, at the Hungarian summer university in Băile Tuşnad – or Tusnádfürdő, as the city is called in Hungarian – that Orbán in 2014 launched his vision of an “illiberal democracy”, a concept that has dominated the political debate ever since, probably exceeded in Herostratic popularity only by “populism”. Though the 2017-speech has received less attention, it was arguably one of last year’s most interesting political deliverances.

Orbán describes the current upheaval in Europe and the US as a battle between a “transnational elite” and “patriotic national leaders”. And the patriots, amongst whom he, of course, counts himself, have a mission: to defend the nation – and thereby Europe.

According to Orbán, the most important political event in the past year was neither the inauguration of a new president in the United States nor the fact that two elections in France wiped out the entire French party system. No, the most important thing that happened was that the four Visegrád countries – in addition to Hungary also Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – started to cooperate “closer than ever before” and thus gained considerable influence on EU politics and policies.

So far, this influence has mainly consisted in preventing the distribution of refugees among all EU member states. “You wanted the migrants, and we didn’t,” said Orbán during a visit to Germany at the beginning of 2018, invited by Angela Merkel’s Christian-democrat sister party CSU. It “was not a wave of refugees, but an invasion,” he added, referring to the events of late summer and autumn 2015, when hundreds of thousands moved through Europe heading for Germany, Austria or Sweden. “We do not consider these people to be Muslim refugees. We consider them to be Muslim invaders.”

In his summer speech, Orbán delineates what it is he is so afraid of. A strong country must be a secure state, he says. Then, as so often, he couples the notion of security with that of cultural identity. A strong country must be able to protect its borders and prevent terrorist attacks. But, he adds, “there is no strong culture without a cultural identity.” And: “However much of a taboo one is breaking by saying it, there is no cultural identity in a population without a stable ethnic composition. The alteration of a country’s ethnic makeup amounts to an alteration of its cultural identity. A strong country can never afford to do something like that.”

This demographic-cultural complex is at the core of Orbán’s nationalist ideology. He does not only call the Hungarians “an endangered species” but broadens the question to concern a whole continent: “will Europe remain the continent of the Europeans?”

Today, says Orbán, Europe is in the hands of Hungarian-American investor and philanthropist George Soros. Under the “Soros plan”, the EU “is currently being prepared to hand its territory over to a new mixed, Islamised Europe”.

“This is the battlefield on which Central European countries are fighting today,” Orbán declares. “The European Union must regain its sovereignty from the Soros Empire. Until that happens, we have no chance of retaining Europe for the European people.”

There is no doubt that Hungary’s ambition is to be in the vanguard of the fight against Soros, against the “grand inquisitors” in Brussels, and against what Orbán calls the “de-Christianization” of Europe. One sign of the ideological rearmament strategy the current government pursues is the conference on “The Future of Europe” that was scheduled to take place in Budapest in January 2018, within the framework of the Hungarian presidency of the Visegrád Group. The program had already been announced when the organizers chose to postpone the conference till May, after the parliamentary elections. Even though Orbán’s party Fidesz is expected to win the elections comfortably, one obviously didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks – so controversial were the speakers who appeared in the program.

Invited to open the “scientific” conference is Milo Yiannopoulos, former senior editor at *Breitbart News*, the favourite outlet of the alt-right. Yiannopoulos regularly compares feminism with cancer and recently said that everyone who describes him or herself as a Muslim should be “expelled from the West”. The publisher Götz Kubitschek, one of the main intellectual figures of the “new right” in Germany, will introduce a panel discussion addressing the (rhetorical) question if “we”, ridden by cultural guilt, should “sacrifice Christianity, freedom and our way of life” or instead “retreat to our fortress, defend ourselves and strengthen our values and cohesion within?”

That is one way of describing the historical crossroads Europe finds itself at right now. Another would be to ask if there is anything left of the European integration project if the EU member states fail to formulate a common answer to the fateful question of migration – and if the meaning of words such as solidarity and cohesion goes beyond the mere transfer of money from west to east via structural and investment funds.

The governments in Hungary and the other Visegrád countries know what they want. They are about to fill the idea of Europe with old-new content, building outer and inner walls, inside Europeans’ heads and in the landscape; walls that can keep the “invaders” away.

Will they be able to export their national-cultural vision of Europe to the West? Will that what has happened there first happen here as well?

The answer to that question will most likely come in 2018. Orbán has already declared that this will be a year of major confrontations. And, as was the case a hundred years ago, Europe’s future will be decided in Austria. On 1 July, the Alpine republic will take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the third time after 1998 and 2006, and the preparations by the new Austrian government, consisting of a coalition between the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and the right-wing populist Freedom Party (FPÖ), are well under way.

Already on election night last autumn there were speculations about whether Austria would formally become part of the Visegrád Group. With an ironic allusion to a film by Quentin Tarantino it was suggested that “The Visegrád Four” would now be extended to “The Hateful Five”, given Austria’s tough stance on migration. In the run-up to the election, FPÖ-leader Heinz-Christian Strache had declared that the approximation to the Visegrád countries was certainly conceivable: “Austria should increase cooperation with these states,” he said in a televised debate, “perhaps even become a member of the Visegrád Group.”

But no, Austria will never become a member of the V4. The simple fact that Austria is a net contributor to the EU budget, while the other four Central European states all get far more back than they contribute, makes the respective perspectives incompatible. Another unbridgeable abyss is that all four post-communist states are NATO members, while Austria still cherishes and – at least symbolically – vehemently defends its neutrality.

However, it has already become clear that the government of chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) will draw even nearer to these countries as far as migration policy is concerned, with less focus on the coordinated distribution of asylum seekers according to a quota system and more on the protection of EU’s external borders. This goes hand in glove with the ideas of Viktor Orbán and his Polish, Czech and Slovak colleagues.

When Sebastian Kurz, the day before he was sworn in as chancellor, presented his government’s program at a press conference in Kahlenberg on the outskirts of Vienna, he referred explicitly to a proposal put forward just a week before by Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council. In order to prevent Europe from being torn apart, Tusk said that focus has to move away from the distribution of refugees.. This was right up Kurz’s street. Other European leaders, however, railed against Tusk’s proposal and called it “inacceptable” and “anti-European”.

However, if you listen carefully to Kurz’s declarations it seems as if this is just as much about political tactics as it is about ideology. “We consider ourselves as bridge-builders in Europe,” says Kurz. “I strive for close cooperation with Germany and France and other states. At the same time I want to have good relations to the eastern parts of Europe.”

The new stance regarding migration policy will allow Austria to play a mediating role between the Central and Eastern European states and their western adversaries – a role that corresponds well with the country’s geographical location as well as its historical legacy. “This has always been good for our economy,” Kurz said in an interview with Der Spiegel shortly after the elections. “And politically,” he added, “I believe this to be our obligation.”

The question remains, however, as to whether those countries who (next to Austria!) have carried the heaviest burden connected with the reception of refugees – above all Sweden and Germany – will consider this standpoint “neutral” enough. When Herbert Kickl (FPÖ), a minister in Kurz’s government, declared at a meeting of EU interior and justice ministers in Sofia at the end of January that Austria will not support the mandatory migrant quota and relocation system, international commentators took this to mean that Austria was joining the no-side of the conflict rather than placing itself in the middle. Frankly, it is hard to object to that inference.

Siding with the Visegrád countries in the migrant quota question is not the only “eastern stance” Austria’s new government adopts. In a much publicized [interview with the newspaper Kurier, foreign minister Karin Kneissl seemed to suggest that the EU sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of Ukraine should be lifted. Answering the question of whether the sanctions are wrong, she noted that they have been unsuccessful. In fact, she said, the only sanctions that have ever “led to a result were the sports sanctions against the Republic of South Africa”.

Much can be said to refute both these claims, but regardless of whether Kneissl’s analysis is correct or not, it seems clear that, here too, Austria wants to take on the role as “bridge-builder” between east and west.

Kneissl is, as she doesn’t get tired of emphasizing, not formally affiliated with any political party, but she was nominated by the FPÖ. In December 2016, FPÖ-leader and now vice chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache signed a five-year cooperation agreement with Vladimir Putin’s party United Russia. The pact includes passages on mutual non-interference, the promotion of dialogue and economic development as well as “the raising of younger generations in the spirit of patriotism and work enjoyment”.

“Internationally, the Freedom Party continues to gain in influence,” wrote Strache on his Facebook page, commenting on the signing of the agreement in Moscow. It is difficult to imagine that he will give up these international ambitions, now that he and his foreign minister are finally in a position to actually promote them.

The agreement between FPÖ and United Russia was the first of its kind and marked a new phase in the Kremlin’s relations to European parties on the far-right, which have been thoroughly described by Anton Shekhovtsov in his recent book [Russia and the Western Far Right: Tango Noir. However, even though one should not underestimate the ideological component of FPÖ’s support for Russia, the disapproval of the sanctions is not limited to FPÖ-voters and has at least as much to do with money as with the “protection of traditional values”.

Austrian businessmen want to do business; international law and political ethics come second. Infamous are the standing ovations for President Putin at a reception in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce in summer 2014, in the middle of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Business is business. Hotel owners and ski lift operators in the tourism-dependent Alpine republic want to get the Russian big spenders back and Styrian fruit growers and dairy farmers are eager to get their eastern export back on track. Such representatives of trade and industry make up a large part of ÖVP’s electoral base. Or, as Sebastian Kurz put it, “this has always been good for our economy”.

However, this alleged pragmatism can also be harmful, as Ivan Krastev points out in the Security Policy Preview of 2018, published by the Austrian Ministry of Defence last autumn. Austria might seem to be the perfect candidate for the part of intermediary between the Kremlin and the West. Even so, it should refrain from trying, warns Krastev. Adopting the language and position of both sides in this conflict, with little prospect of success, will risk undermining their own position within the EU, he concludes.

The same could be said about Austria’s attempt to navigate the choppy inner-European waters. The chances of successfully dumping the migration quota system might be better – a (temporarily?) weakened German government has at least signalized its willingness to postpone EU-wide negotiations on this matter – but Austria is also in this case jeopardizing its position. The failure of the Eastern European member states to take common responsibility for the migrants that are already inside EU borders has opened a rift in the EU which will take years to heal. While the preceding north-south conflict, which culminated in the Eurozone debt crisis, was “just” about money, the current east-west clash is about core values and fundamental perceptions of the meaning and purpose of the European integration project. The disappointment in some Western and Northern European states is genuine and it will matter what side one choses in a dispute that has the potential to break up the Union – even if that breakup is framed as core or multi-speed Europe.

If it is pragmatism one is after, Austria would probably do much better seeking allies among similar states in the West, for example those who joined the EU at the same time back in 1995: Sweden and Finland are both economically and systemically far more comparable to Austria than any of the Visegrád countries, and will therefore also have corresponding long-term interests. The same goes for Germany, Austria’s big north-western neighbour.

But perhaps it is not pragmatism that guides the new government in Vienna, after all, but ideology. An old-new concept for the future of Europe.

Before the shooting of the film The Third Man, where Orson Welles’ cynical Harry Lime moves like a shadow between the occupied sectors in post-war Vienna, the American producer David O. Selznick wrote a memo to the director Carol Reed, enthusing over the chance to present the Central European metropolis as a microcosm of the East-West conflict – and to agitate for the west.

It seems as if chancellor Sebastian Kurz has quite different plans when he invites his European colleagues to Vienna later this year.

Carl Henrik Fredriksson was born 1965 in Jönköping, Sweden, and lives in Vienna. Co-founder and, from 2001 to 2015, editor-in-chief of Eurozine. Former editor-in-chief of Sweden’s oldest cultural journal Ord+Bild. Numerous publications on culture, politics and society. He is a Permanent Fellow at the Institut für Medien- und Kommunikationspolitik in Berlin and in 2014 was a Visiting Fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna.



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

  • 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

    Professor of European Governance, University of Amsterdam
    Read more

  • Muriel Blaive

    Advisor to the Director, in Charge of Research and Methodology, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague
    Read more

  • András Bozóki

    Professor of Political Science, Central European University, 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, Special Advisor to the Dean on Faculty Affairs, New School for Social Research
    Read more

  • Martin Endreß

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

  • Mischa Gabowitsch

    Mischa Gabowitsch ( 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, 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

    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

  • Bilyana Kourtasheva

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

  • János Mátyás Kovács

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Senior member of RECET, Institute of East European History, Vienna University; Professor of Economic History, Eötvös Loránd 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

  • Mark Leonard

    Co-founder and Director, European Council on Foreign Relations
    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
    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

    PhD in Political Science
    Read more

  • Marci Shore

    Associate Professor of History, Yale University

    Visiting Fellow
    (July 2020 – June 2021)
    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

    IWM Research Director, Russia in Global Dialogue and Ukraine in European Dialogue
    Read more