The Court and the Family:
Elite settlement and the transformation of the political system in Poland

Even compared to other socialist countries, the Polish path of transformation from one system to another was exceptional. Political scientific literature indicates that the kind of breakthrough initiated by the Round Table talks was the one based on negotiation and a settlement among the elites. The agreement we are talking about is of course the agreement of the elites: the elite of the ancien régime on one hand and the opposition elite on the othe r. The change came from above, at the beginning without the active participation of the citizens. The side of the authorities was represented by the most important persons in the state: from the Party’s leadership to the directorship of Security Service (SB). On the opposition side – the prominent and respectable persons who joined the Citizens’ Committee with Lech Wa??sa in December 1988. These elites considered themselves representative for both sides and therefore allowed voters to vote for them in the so-called elections in June 1989.

The main condition of agreement between the two sides was the change of the political language. This change was a signal showing readiness to agreement, openness to compromise, and also indicated that new political goals were shared by all the negotiating sides. Opposition was now no longer called “counter-revolution” or “the power of destruction”. The ideology of the “conspiracy of imperialism and capitalism” was abandoned. From 1988 onwards, opposition leaders were allowed to publish their texts, openly speaking in favour of system changes, in the official press. During the academic year 1988, I conducted a seminar at the university in which dozens of students participated. I invited leaders of different factions of the opposition. It was already possible to say a lot publicly.

On the other hand, the opposition no longer spoke about honour, traitors, and totalitarian power. The moralistic rhetoric had been discarded. Open and uncompromising anti-communism was no longer seen positively. Decommunization, or the long proclaimed “local Nuremberg” – a trial of the communist leaders – was no longer considered. The former elite showed its readiness to renounce at least a part of its power, announcing free and proportional elections for 1993. The opposition counter-elite, concentrated around Wa??sa, back down from their aim to take over full control of the country immediately.

Compromise and negotiations also meant divisions between moderates and radicals in both political camps. Those opposing talks with the opposition were called hardliners. On the opposition and Solidarity side, those who rejected negotiations with the “Reds” were called extremists or radicals. Of course, the communists needed their hardliners to frighten the opposition in the following months, saying that there were forces ready to repeat martial law and to forcibly stop the changes. The authorities used this bugbear readily and frequently: after their election defeat on 4 June 1989; while proposing Jaruzelski for president in summer 1989; and during the creation of Mazowiecki’s cabinet. On the other hand, the radicals among the opposition were a serious danger for its negotiating elite, since they undermined the latter’s political mandate. The negotiators were not confident enough to claim that they had a full social mandate, and that they represented the whole opposition. The authorities moreover stressed this constructive character of “good” opposition, contrasting it with “unproductive” opposition, sometimes claiming in official statements that they had chosen to have negotiation partners. While the conflict among the opposition slowly increased, the conflict within the party between hardliners and so-called liberals vanished. At the beginning of 1990, the communist party was dissolved, following Gorbachev’s advice, and its successors called into being a political body that still exists today as a social democratic party.

In any case, both sides negotiating at the Round Table were able to portray themselves as moderate, willing to compromise, and oriented towards ending rather than intensifying the conflict. It to some extent guaranteed that the changes, even if limited, would not be reversed and that it would be extremely difficult for the authorities to annul the agreement. The communist government had failed to keep its promises in 1946, 1956, 1971 and 1981, and the experience of government’s deception still existed in collective memory. As Jacek Kuro? said, no one ever had worked with such a script before. There was no experience of a peaceful process emerging from a communist and totalitarian regime. The opposition side welcomed the decisions of the authorities, but, not trusting them, sought guarantees that the goals would be possible to accomplish (for instance, the semi-democratic election on 4 June). Moreover, the goals were not entirely clear at that time. At any rate, they were not clear to the citizens. Public opinion polls at that time – which I consider reliable and to have been conducted by competent people – indicate that the majority of citizens were uninterested in the Round Table talks, and were not very optimistic about their results. It is probably the case that distrust of the authorities was advanced and that most of the leaders were not well-known publicly. Neither did the talks themselves seem entirely credible: conducted beyond the view of the cameras, the decisions were rather unclear and imprecise. The most unclear of all was the agreement concerning the economy.

The situation already began to look different during the parliamentary elections in 1989, which the communists, to their complete surprise, lost. In the first round of the elections they won only 6 seats. The opposition won a landslide victory, but we have to remember that more than 40% of citizens did not turn out. The public mood changed only at the end of August 1989 with the appointment of Mazowiecki’s cabinet. At the beginning, the prime minister and his cabinet had 90% public support, yet by December 1990 it was down to a bit over 20%. In the presidential elections, Mazowiecki not only lost to Wa??sa, but also to an unknown politician with openly populist tendencies, Stan Tymi?ski

The agreement between the elites, and the power structure that arose from this agreement, determined the Polish political divide that manifested itself at the end of 1989 and exploded with great intensity the following year. Political scientists use the term “path dependency” to describe a situation in which arguments that arise at the beginning of changes, along with solutions chosen early on (e.g. the Round Table), determine the axis of political divide and conflict for years to come. These arguments provoked strong emotions. Former colleagues and friends quarrelled. Emotions and the persistence of the conflict were further intensified by events such as the appointment of the new government, the announcement of the planned economic reforms, information about the destruction of security service records, and finally the creation of the first political parties. Hostile political milieus arose that were separated from and suspicious towards the others. And following them were the ideological arguments.

The milieu concentrated around the prime minister, the citizens’ committees, and Gazeta Wyborcza formed the so-called “Family”. Those that were concentrated around Lech Wa??sa and his collaborator and future competitor Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski, the “Court”. The differences between these two groups were not only of a personal character, mere rival “coteries”. Each had very different views on the pace and path of the forthcoming changes.

The terms “the Family” and “the Court” of course have nothing to do with the mafia. They are humorous terms coined by the press, especially by the journalist Piotr Wierzbicki’s (a Wa??sa sympathizer at that time). They are quite accurate. Social relations in the Family were less formal and the hierarchy variable. Cooperation in the Family seemed to work better and was not the cause of terrible conflicts. The Court organized itself around Wa??sa, and it was him who – depending on the circumstances, the structure of power and personal sympathy – gave or denied his support and favours. No one in his surrounding had a strong and permanent position. Rivalries between members of the Court were permanent, sometimes even brutal. The way the Court worked is to be seen in biographies of Kaczy?ski brothers, Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, or Mieczys?aw Wachowski. Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski, who from the middle of 1989 until the end of 1990 was the second most important person after Wa??sa, lost his position in the hierarchy, becoming Wa??sa’s biggest enemy. Jan Krzysztof Bielecki was “discovered” by the president elect and, to everyone’s surprise, most of all his own, was appointed prime minister. Wachowski, who was suspected of collaborating with the security services, had a relatively permanent position over the years.

From its many utterances, speeches and actions, the Family’s ideology could be summarized as follows:

The most important was deep, revolutionary economic reform. As a result of this reform, the country would cease to be a socialist shortage economy; processes of hyperinflation would be stopped and economic activity stimulated. The Balcerowicz Plan was the most important systemic and political project in Poland during those years. The Family was afraid of the socially painful consequences of the reforms. The bankruptcy of the state-owned companies and the necessary liquidation of the state farms (PGR), which made 20% of arable land, would lead to the social and economical “death” of small villages. The rate of unemployment would rise dramatically, bringing with it strikes and activism by anti-establishment groups. Only after some time would western capital come. In 1991, a further problem arose: economic exchange with the Soviet Union – which made 70% percent of all international exchange – collapsed. Therefore, there were reasons to believe that democratization would fail and that many people would blame the new system. In 1993 the rate of unemployment reached 15%.

Economic reform, supplemented in 1990 by local government reform (which reinforced the municipalities), were presented as unavoidable. Objection was politically suspicious and treated as an irrational attitude held only by populists. The new, free-market economy (part of the liberal rhetoric adopted by the main political forces, even the democratic Left) would lead to the modernization of Poland in a much deeper sense: not only opening the country to economic exchange, but also (and as a result) an exchange of ideas about rights and civil liberties.

Decommunization was understood not exactly in personal categories, rather in systemic ones. It was stressed that the market and the modern environment would eliminate persons and milieus that were politically and socially maladjusted, rendering the former nomenklatura redundant. Nobody from the political circle around the prime minister and the chairman of the Civic Parliamentary Club (Obywatelski Klub Parlamentarny, OKP), Bronis?aw Geremek, proposed an early election nor stipulated president Jaruzelski’s resignation. The old personnel stayed in the administration and judiciary, as well as in the army, the military and civilian intelligence services, and the security services. The position of old journalists and executives within the mass media remained intact. The same applied to the banking system. There was little involvement of a new team in the changes to the state’s organization system. The Council of Ministers was reorganized only at the end of 1990. The only thing that rapidly changed was the state’s name and the Polish emblem – the eagle was restored its crown. The new constitution was proclaimed eight years after the June elections.

In the first months of the new government, the Family proposed an interesting political project: to create a national “Solidarity” party, which meant changing the pluralistic union into an organization that would politically support the existing government. Of course, the Family had no doubt it should take control over such a movement. As Adam Michnik wrote, such a party would combine rightist and leftist traditions, Christianity and atheism, ideas of modernization and traditionalism. Journalists of other respectable newspapers evoked ideas from India or Mexico, where large parties such as the Indian National Congress or The Institutional Revolutionary Party had dominated the political scene for years. This party was supposed to overcome three dangers allegedly threatening post-communist Poland: nationalism together with clericalism, populism, and the temptation of authoritarianism.

Opposing the political plan of the Family was the Court’s idea that the changes be accelerated. This idea had several dimensions.

Firstly, the conviction that both the parliamentary and presidential elections had to be conducted much sooner. The fact that the majority in the Parliament at the time represented not only the communist group hostile towards democracy and Poland’s independence, but also a party that no longer existed, seemed ridiculous and undemocratic. A preliminary but necessary condition for stimulating the political process was to differentiate the Solidarity movement and to establish political parties. Maintaining fictional unity and establishing a single, nationwide Solidarity party was, for the Court, unrealistic and unnecessary.

Secondly, the Court believed that acceleration needed instant and possibly deep changes of administrative and judicial personnel. Especially important was the issue of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Attention was paid to the necessity of a far-reaching lustration of officials of the Militia and Security Service. Much was written about the destruction of the archives by members of the former state apparatus.

Thirdly, opposition to the so called “soft state”. This, the Court believed, would allow corruption serving the interests of the former communist nomenklatura on the basis of old personnel and bad law. It would legalize their enterprises, appropriated according to laws passed at the end of 1980s enabling the easy privatization of national assets.

Fourthly and perhaps most importantly, establishing a free market. This, they argued, depended to a large extent on equality before the law and in access to ownership. Meanwhile, the former state apparatus had control over the process of change, having at its disposal the banking system, a significant number of enterprises, as well as the land. Given this situation, the Court demanded rapid decommunization. According to them, the free market, being an absolute value, demanded support from a strong state that was independent from the communist apparatus. As it was said at that time, the communists exchanged political power for economic power.

Clashes between these both positions were very harsh and led not only to a symbolic, but also to an actual split within the Solidarity movement. Paradoxically, the attitude towards the communists, or more precisely the heritage of communism, was the main reason for it. From the Family’s perspective, the conflict was (and still is) the conflict between evolutionists, politically moderate but in favour of radical social and economical changes, and radicals, fundamentalists and nationalists. To defend his position, Adam Michnik, the ideological leader of the group, evoked Edmund Burke’s views on the French Revolution, pointing out the negative outcomes of the fanatical pursuit of justice. There was no room for decommunization or the delegitimization of post-communist parties in the evolutionary perspective, according to Michnik; what remained was the conviction that peaceful change demanded the cooperation of political forces that act rationally, regardless of particular parties and political biographies. Keeping the peace and softening axiological arguments with the church and the nationalists was essential.

The opponents of the Family thought (and still think) that by starting the Round Table talks, the communist authorities did not really want to change the system, but aimed to incorporate a part of oppositional forces into the system, thereby gaining stronger political legitimacy. It was said that “the Reds” wanted to share to the power but not to give it away. According to the Court’s politicians, the communist authorities wanted with this manoeuvre to accomplish two goals: to carry out with the support of oppositional leaders drastic and expensive economic reforms, at the same time maintaining control over the process of political change as well as privatization. This would enable the communists to become post-communists.

This conflict continues up to the present day. Old oppositionists and anticommunists quarrelled about communists. From the Kaczy?cy brothers and the point view of their milieu, the transformation, despite 20 years of democracy, has not been fully accomplished. For them, it is as if Poland were still on the threshold of great change. Their opponents, no matter where they were 20 years ago, or whether they did or did not support Wa??sa, Mazowiecki or Geremek, currently take an evolutional, pro-Balcerowicz position. The gravity of old conflicts and traumas is stronger than reality.

To put it in another way: the Polish political scene is punctured from time to time by so-called “war at a higher level”. This is a conflict not between the former opposition and the post-communist Left, but between a Right in the broad sense (including all the successors of Solidarity, or post-Solidarity). The first war or a battle at higher level took place in the spring of 1990, with Wa??sa directly attacking his critics from political and intellectual milieus (among them persons from Gazeta Wyborcza and Tygodnik Powszechny ). The second time the war broke out was because of the Lustration Bill in the Sejm in June 1992. At that time, Wa??sa had the support of Geremek, Kuro? and Mazowiecki; against them stood members of the Court like Jaros?aw and Lech Kaczy?ski, or prime minister Jan Olszewski. The first saw lustration as a political mistake, whereas their opponents asked the single question, “to whom does Poland belong?”, suggesting that the forces of the ancien regime had taken over. The parliamentary election of 2005 started the war for the third time, when politicians from the circle around the Kaczy?ski brothers clashed with sympathizers of Donald Tusk (who was supported by Wa??sa).

These high-level conflicts (or conflicts within the political elites) cause very strong social emotions. Often, emotions outweigh political reasons. The word “war” has a meaning in this context. It indicates that these conflicts go beyond the logic and emotions even of heated parliamentary debates. The word “war” signifies that these conflicts are exceedingly harsh, and that when they are over, neither of the participating sides (at least for the long time) is able to have a serious conversation, let alone cooperate.

It turns out after twenty years, nothing is left of the heritage of Solidarity except anniversary celebrations.

The conflict at the ideological level between the Family and the Court continues until today, revealing itself not only in the distribution of political sympathies, or attitudes towards events from the past, but above all in the approach towards lustration and the communist past in general.

The Family will point out, in each and every situation, the limitations and the pitfalls inherent in lustration procedures, and will always defend people accused of cooperation with the security service, regardless of who they were or could have been before 1989. There have been three cases worth more detailed analysis.

The first one was the case of priest Micha? Czajkowski – a person connected with the opposition movement, and chaplain of the monthly magazine Wi??, edited by Tadeusz Mazowiecki. Czajkowski played a great and positive role in building mutual understanding between Judaism and Catholicism. When preliminary data showing that Czajkowski had collaborated with the security service was revealed, Gazeta Wyborcza, the Family’s newspaper, refuted it. When, in 2007, the priest himself admitted to having collaborated, Gazeta did not comment, nor did it refer to its previous opinions.

The second case is that of Lech Wa??sa. After 1989, Wa??sa was considered by the Family and by Adam Michnik personally as the biggest threat to democracy. Michnik accused Wa??sa of intending to create an authoritarian state à la Horthy or Antonescu. However in 2008, when a book was published that proved Wa??sa had collaborated with the SB, the founder of Solidarity turned out to be a loyal supporter of democracy and his critics the destroyers of social peace.

Finally, when Zyta Gilowska, finance minister in Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski’s government, faced a lustration trial, the Family defended her although it was not politically convenient. The Court (already without its sovereign, Lech Wa??sa) claims up to this day – referring to sociological research pointing to growing support for lustration – that understanding the past is a matter of the highest importance.

It can be said that the ideological conflict between the two sides has become somewhat ritualized and rigid. The journalistic clashes of both sides are predictable and reproduce the same arguments used for the last 20 years. The emotional tension of these clashes remains very intense. Both sides are victims and hostages, so to speak, of their attitudes towards communism; both the logic and the style of their reasoning .

The conflict between the Family and the Court has lost its significance in the political domain. This happened for many reasons.

Firstly, the post-communist political group lost power and stopped playing an important role in the economy, the administration and in the media. Current conflict is between two political groups that before 2005 both claimed that the problems of post-communism and lustration were serious and needed radical legal-political action.

Secondly, too much time has passed since 1989 for it to be possible to explain the country’s current situation, the condition of the economy or political scene, by circumstances from the communist period. It would be ridiculous still to think that privatization processes between 1988 and 1990 are more important to our economy than more recent international investments or connections with European Union.

And thirdly, the category of political capitalism received a great deal of recognition in the beginning of the 1990s. It has been claimed that many political and economic processes can be explained by the fact that Polish market is deeply dependent on political games (for instance the distribution or sale of important economic parameters such as customs, taxes, export allowances). However it is worth remembering that the phenomenon of political capitalism has lost much of its significance, as has the term “transformation”. There are many indicators that Poland’s current situation, and that of other countries in the region, should be formulated in “post-transformation” language.

The conflicts belonging to the 1989-1991 changeover of power have lost their political significance. They now belong to history, and the generation that still uses them as a source of vigour has lost its importance.


Copyright © 2010 by the author & Tr@nsit online.
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    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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  • Mark Leonard

    Co-founder and Director, European Council on Foreign Relations
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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 – August 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
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  • 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
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  • Gleb Pavlovsky

    President, Center of Effective Policies; Member, Public Chamber of the Russian Federation; Editor-in-Chief, The Russian Journal, Moscow
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  • 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 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 …
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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 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
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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

  • Anton Shekhovtsov

    PhD in Political Science
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  • Marci Shore

    Associate Professor of History, Yale University

    Visiting Fellow
    (July 2020 – June 2021)
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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
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  • Ondřej Slačálek

    Assistant Professor of Political Science, Charles University, Prague
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  • Aleksander Smolar

    Political Science, Paris
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  • Timothy Snyder

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Richard C. Levin 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
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  • 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

    Read more

  • 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

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