Workers in and after the “Worker’s State”

1. Introduction

By the end of the 1980s the (ideological) idea that workers were the ruling class in socialism was abandoned together with the rest of the dominant mode of the system’s legitimization, to be replaced by another legitimization axiom: that the economic position of all social strata – including workers – would strongly (and permanently) increase in capitalism. Both claims were proven to be false. Sociological surveys demonstrated that workers were powerless even in the self-managerial system established in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia/SFRY (Zupanov, 1983). On the other hand, the process of postsocialist transformation brought about an extensive spread of pauperization and rising economic differentiation, putting manual workers among the principal losers of socio-economic changes (Milanovic, 1999). This was especially true in Serbia, where economic hardships (as a consequence of transformation) were very much aggravated by a decade of civil wars and international economic and political isolation during the 1990s.

Even if workers in the socialist SFRY did not manage enterprises, their economic position was relatively protected by the nomenklatura.[1] Furthermore, although workers were not a politically dominant group, the real power holders (nomenklatura) proclaimed their rule in the name of the working class. The dominant place of workers in the ruling ideology in socialism was never questioned, and in the SFRY this place was additionally stressed by widespread scientific interests in studies of the workers’ management. The working class lost all these advantages after the start of capitalist transformation: job security, wage protection, political and ideological representation,[2] and even the attention of researchers. Public interest for the class arose only when severe economic hardships of its members forced them to organize protests (which were, as a rule, fragmented, short-lived, and unsuccessful).

Some elements of the changing socio-economic and political position of the working class during the capitalist transformation will be studied in this paper. Its specific aim will be to show the ways in which the processes of transformation in Serbia and Croatia led to the working class’ fragmentation, considered to represent one of the main causes for a severe deterioration of all elements determining the social position of this class. Transformation in Serbia and Croatia started from the same model of “liberal socialism” and the two countries were actors in the war that took place during the 1990s. Both countries had authoritarian regimes based on nationalist mobilization, and transformation was, in both cases, under the complete control of the ruling political oligarchies. In parallel with these similarities, however, there were important differences between the two countries that undoubtedly influenced their transformation. Croatia started its modernization processes earlier than Serbia and was economically more developed at the end of the 1980s. It also enjoyed international political support (being consequently more prone to outside influences) and was economically more open toward the world than Serbia, which was under international sanctions and economically and politically isolated during the large part of the 1990s. As a consequence, Croatia economically recovered faster and has advanced further in the process of EU integration.[3]

Class fragmentation is defined as the existence of deep and intersecting divisions inside a class, following different dimensions – including economic positions, recruitment patterns, organizational forms and value orientations – because of which collective class action for the protection and promotion of common class interests is unattainable or seriously limited. In this sense the concept of fragmentation opposes the concept of class homogeneity, defined as the essential unity of characteristics of members belonging to a social group, constituted on the basis of its position in the reproduction of a social system, and is a precondition for the group to act collectively in the process of social change. In the present paper the concept of the working class is taken in a more narrow sense, so that it includes manual workers only – unskilled, semiskilled and skilled – who have no authorities, or have very limited authorities in the work process, in private and public firms and in all economic branches: agriculture, industry and services (see Lazic, Cvejic, 2007).

2. Homogeneity of the working class during the time of Yugoslav socialism

All social subsystems, including economy, politics and ideology, were under the command control of the nomenklatura during socialism. Atomization of all social groups (with the exception of nomenklatura) was a direct consequence of such totalizing control. The same general “pattern” of socialism was also characteristic of the SFRY, although its system had some specifics resulting from significant reforms which started during the first half of the 1960s. Because of these specifics the Yugoslav society was described as “market”, “self-managerial”, “liberal” and “open” (Lazic, 1994).

There were two basic limits of the “workers self-management”. Firstly, the amount of managerial authorities transferred to enterprises was determined by arbitrary decisions of the upper part of the nomenklatura, it was changeable (depending on political conflicts inside the ruling strata and on conditions of the economy), and always essentially limited (since nomenklatura kept ultimate control over financial and cadre resources). Secondly, the power inside the firms was concentrated in the hands of managers, while “workers’ councils” (and especially their members who were manual workers) had negligible influence in decision-making (Arzensek, 1984; Rus and Adam, 1989). Consequences of two contradictions – between the centralized system of power and decentralization, and between the command character of the system and self-managerial legitimization – were manifold. For the present argument, however, the effects which influenced the position of the working class are of primary interest. New (self-managerial) legitimization pattern, together with economic decentralization, changed the basic economic goal-orientation of the Yugoslav socialism, so that consumption was made equal to accumulation as the primary motif of production (on primacy of accumulation in socialism see Berend, 1996). This led to a significant increase in the living standard of all basic social groups, including manual workers. However, (quasi-market) decentralization also increased economic inequalities at different levels, between: the ruling, middle and lower strata (Lazic, 1994); territorial units (Berkovic, 1986); economic branches, and different firms within the same branch (Korosic, 1983). In this way, the working class, which was systemically atomized, became additionally fragmented in multiple ways, since its economic position and interests were fundamentally dependent upon the specific working place of each sub-group (upon firms, branches, republics, etc.). Furthermore, reforms were particularly advanced at the labor market during the 1960s, allowing managers to dismiss a large number of “surplus employees”. This led to a dramatic increase in the rate of unemployment, as well as to massive emigration of workers to Western Europe. In this way a new form of fragmentation appeared, based on employment status – between the employed and unemployed.

Effects of fragmentation were especially visible in the case of workers’ strikes, which became quite numerous during the second half of the 1960s. The lack of real institutional possibilities for workers to “manage enterprises” was demonstrated by the necessity to organize strikes outside the institutional system, in order to protect their interests. Fragmentation was here revealed in the fact that the large number of strikes did not bring about the aggregation of individual conflicts into a wider workers’ movement. Employees in one firm did not express solidarity with strikers in another (in the same branch, or territorial unit, e.g.), and most often went on strike in one part of a firm only, while non-manual routine workers (clerks) almost never joined in, even if they also had very low salaries (Jovanov, 1983).

Finally, the structurally based fragmentation of workers in the SFRY was accompanied by deep inconsistencies inside the value system. Widespread presence of traditionalist values (authoritarianism, patriarchalism, collectivism, egalitarianism, closure toward the world) was a consequences of late capitalist modernization of the country (that started only after the First World War). The socialist order, whose value patterns were in many respects homologous to traditionalism, was build on this historical heritage (Lazic, 1994). Later on, rapid socialist modernization that took place inside the specific liberal Yugoslav model (opened toward the West), brought along value orientations that were in contradiction with dominant values (materialism, achievement, trust in science etc.). In this way an ambiguous value mixture was produced among the majority of the population, as registered by many surveys (Pantic, 1989). At the end of the 1980s, two processes which deepened the already existing ambiguities followed: a rise of nationalist mobilization by the political elites, which supported traditionalist-collectivist patterns; and a breakthrough of democratization and market economy (brought by “transition”), that externally and internally carried in the opposite patterns. It is, therefore, no wonder that in Serbia, e.g., in addition to a deep value confusion which existed in all social strata (Lazic and Cvejic, 2007), it was the workers who, although the biggest losers in the transformation, were at the same time (together with small farmers) the strongest supporters of the regime which blocked it and waged the wars.

3. Working class in Serbia and Croatia in the process of postsocialist transformation

It was already mentioned that there were many similarities, and at the same time important differences, between the transformation in Serbia and that in Croatia. Differences in the paths of transformation should be mentioned first. In Serbia the path could be divided into two periods: “blocked” and un-blocked transformation (the first started in 1989, while the second started in 1996 and was accelerated in 2001). The term blocked transformation obviously implies a contradictory character of the process (Lazic, ed. 2000). In Serbia, namely, systemic changes – by which political pluralism was introduced, and market economy based on private property made legal and legitimate – started soon after the fall of Berlin wall. However, these changes came as an “investiture” from above, made by the former nomenklatura which controlled them (keeping the political power), so that its members were able to convert their monopolistic positions into private property.[4] The civil war and international isolation, which accompanied the transformation, obviously represented very favorable conditions for that form of systemic change.

In Croatia, on the other hand, although the Social Democratic Party (former Communists) lost the elections in 1989, the new regime had characteristics similar to the on in Serbia: the authoritarian power was based on nationalist mobilization. The unavoidable openness toward the world forced the country’s leaders to make more decisive steps towards economic transformation (privatization, restructuring, monetary stabilization, etc.), but all these steps were taken under the strict control of the authoritarian regime (Sekulic, 2004). “War rewards” (instead of former positions) secured the largest benefits of privatization to the new elite, whose merits were seen in their service to the regime.[5] Briefly, instead of two relatively separate phases of change, characteristic of Serbia, there was a continuity of change in Croatia that took place very slowly during the 1990s. This continuity enabled a peaceful change of the regime at the 2000 elections (following Tudjman’s death) and speedier economic and political transformation.

The factors mentioned above – civil war and strict state control of systemic change (in Serbia and Croatia), together with international isolation and sanctions (in Serbia) – give the clue for understanding the transformation of the working class in the two countries during the 1990s. Namely, the initial systemic change removed the mechanisms of monopolistic political, economic and ideological control, which during socialism led to the forceful atomization of the class. However, market and pluralist regulative instruments were not promptly introduced in the economy and politics in Serbia and Croatia. In both counties privatization was very slow (especially in Serbia). Moreover, the economic role of the state(s) was much more evident and important than its share in the GDP.

Namely, a huge and almost general drop in incomes of the population made a redistributive role of the state in Serbia a necessary tool for survival. Rapidly decreasing wages, salaries and pensions were followed by a substantial increase in the number of the unemployed. All three groups (employed, unemployed and pensioners) had to find additional income in order to survive. There were two sources of such income in Serbia: full or partial return to agriculture; and engagement in the gray or black economy (Cvejic, 2002). In this way, a specific system of “triple economy” was formed in Serbia in the 1990s, consisting of the public sector (where the state dominated not only as the owner but even more as the agent of regulation and redistribution), slowly advancing private sector, and dramatically increasing sector of the gray and black economy.

In Croatia, on the other hand, the processes of restructuring and privatization advanced in such a way that, together with massive layoffs a large number of “surplus employees” was sent to early retirement (with largely decreasing pensions; Franicevic, 1999). Also, in addition to huge “war rewards” for the new elite, a large number of (real or imagined) war participants started to receive economic benefits from the state. In this way, pension and war-veteran funds secured the huge redistributive role of the state, while pauperization of the population (unemployed, pensioners etc.) created a precondition for the increase in the gray economy by the second half of the 1990s.

The systemic atomization of the working class in Serbia and Croatia got a powerful impetus from concrete historical circumstances: focusing on individual survival strategies strongly affected the possible collective actions by which class members could protect and promote their common interests. The existence of authoritarian regimes, which controlled workers unions in both countries, worked in the same direction. In Serbia, old union organizations kept the central role, while the newly formed unions were oriented much more toward political tasks (to confront Milosevic’s regime, together with opposition parties) than the recruitment of new members, or defense of economic interests of employees (Arandarenko, 1997). In Croatia many new unions were formed, but, with submission to the authoritarian regime as their most important joint characteristic, they were unable (and unwilling) to organize wider collective actions in order to defend the workers interests (Hodzic, 2005: 570). Naturally, the inability of unions to mobilize collective actions led to a huge decrease in the number of unionized workers (to a quarter of work-force) in both countries.

Considering political organization, it appears that the left wing of the party spectrum was monopolized by the former communist party in Serbia, which retained its control over the repressive and mobilizing state apparatuses, so that attempts at forming social-democratic parties to advance the workers’ interests were completely futile. In Croatia, the difference was made by the fact that former communists were in opposition during the 1990s, so therefore could present themselves as (social-democratically oriented) defenders of the workers’ interests. Of course, when they came in power, it turned out that their basic goal was to implement a neo-liberal program of economic transformation, while their leftist slogans successfully marginalized attempts at organizing other left-wing political parties.

Finally, a sudden and dramatic deterioration of the workers’ economic position, followed by the lack of instruments that might form and express their collective interests (unions and political parties), could not provide a fertile ground for the rise of new (democratic, liberal) value orientations in either Serbia or Croatia. Also, the nationalist mobilization by the ruling regimes was inevitably very efficient under conditions of civil war (and international sanctions, in Serbia). In this way very favorable settings for the reproduction of collectivist orientations, as well as of authoritarian and traditionalist values (this time based on ethnic grounds), were formed in both countries.

The process of economic transformation in both countries became more rapid after 2000, following the mostly neo-liberal pattern characteristic of other postsocialist countries. This increase of speed was particularly pronounced in Serbia, because of its earlier huge delay. Privatization, economic restructuring and foreign trade gained momentum and international companies started to invest. The withdrawal of the state from the economy was accompanied by the establishment of a new normative order. All these factors led to a decrease of the informal economy, but also to an increased unemployment. Similar processes – increase in the GDP, continuation of privatization and restructuring, and a decrease of the gray economy followed by increased unemployment went on in Croatia. Briefly, market economy in both countries got to the forefront in the sphere of property relations (because of privatization, and the mushrooming of domestic and foreign private firms) and as a regulatory instrument (because of a significant reduction of the redistributive role of the state and legal protection of the autonomy of the market). Still, the role of the state has remained large in both domains (many big firms in Serbia have not been privatized, and have been only partially privatized in Croatia – cf. Transparency Srbija, 2004; Franicevic, 2005). The increase in unemployment was followed by growing wage inequalities and general economic differentiation. That way, the rise of the living standard was not recognized in the perception of the majority of workers, because of job insecurity and growing inequalities inside the working class and among social classes.

In neither Serbia nor Croatia were the disintegrative forces (labor market, economic inequalities) matched by an increase in opposite factors. The unions, which became more visible in Serbia after the change of the regime in 2000, almost vanished from the public scene after the elections in 2003. In Croatia, the unions remained partitioned and suffered from a low level of coordination and occasional stark internal conflicts. In the political sphere, the Socialist Party lost most of its influence in Serbia, but a new social-democratic party which could represent working class interests did not appear. The SDP in Croatia was accused of completely neglecting the workers’ interests during its rule (2000-2003), and did not publicly appeal to its workers’ constituency until the beginning of new electoral campaigns.

4. Social mobility and material position of working class in Serbia and Croatia, 1989-2003

In the following section of the paper the previous general considerations will be corroborated by empirical data colleted in surveys mentioned before. Research on class mobility in Serbia and Croatia (in 1989) showed the existence of a growing trend of social closure since the end of the 1970s, putting the structures of these societies among the most rigid in Central-Eastern Europe. Self-reproduction of the working class, together with self-reproduction of the middle class, was the strongest factor of this rigidity (Cvejic, 2006).

Findings of our recent research on inter-generational mobility showed that during postsocialist transformation factors leading to de-homogenization of unskilled workers were gaining strength in both countries (the most important among them was inflow of farmers, both in Serbia and in Croatia; Lazic, Cvejic, 2008). In the case of skilled workers, contradictory tendencies were recognized: increasing homogeneity due to a rise of self-reproduction, but also a significant enlargement of outflow to routine non-manual positions. As for intra-generational mobility, contradictory tendencies regarding class homogeneity in both countries were noticed, too: homogeneity inside both stratums decreased to a certain degree, but it could also be said that homogeneity of the working class in general increased, because mobility mostly remained restricted precisely to shifts between these two groups of manual workers.

In order for career paths of a large number of workers who exited the labor market to be more precisely analyzed, occupation of respondents in 1989 should be compared with their social position in 2003. F indings obtained in the 2003 survey clearly show (Lazic, Cvejic, 2008) what the years of transformation have brought to intra-generational mobility. The most important finding is the one telling us that a large number of manual workers (unskilled and skilled) had to change their social position, compared to the beginning of the transformation, and that, in both countries, many dropped into disadvantaged positions (depending on the state, like unemployed and retired, or on informal employers and whims of the informal labor market). Data also reveal that skilled workers keep better positions than the unskilled, not only because more of them managed to retain their social status, but also because they were less exposed to unemployment than unskilled workers (in Serbia) or retirement (in Croatia).

The h omogeneity of the working class’ economic position was investigated in the researches via the presence of inequalities. Economic inequalities were analyzed through the scale of material position. This scale summarizes household scores on several components: total income; ownership and value of real estate; equipment in residential space, and of the farm (for farmers); vacation destinations; and possession of automobile(s). According to the data obtained, in 1989 the economic position of both categories of workers in Serbia and Croatia was below the average of the national sample, with unskilled workers in Croatia clearly lagging behind. Although differences between the two strata of manual workers in both cases were statistically significant, it was apparent that the redistributive role of the state in Serbia was already emphasized at that time (relatively improving the position of unskilled workers; see detailed data in Lazic, Cvejic, 2008). Similar relations persisted in 2003, but with skilled workers in both countries being at the national sample average level (differences between the two strata remain significant). The steadiness of a significantly better economic position of skilled workers therefore confirms the existence of the basis for fragmentation of the working class into skilled and unskilled groups.

5. Trade union membership, political alignment and value orientations

Trade union membership as a precondition for class action based on economic interest was not relevant in 1989, for a simple reason that all employees were formally enrolled in the unions. This is, today, different to the extent that membership in trade unions is not obligatory. Several trade unions exist in both countries, but they are still unsuccessful in shaping the collective interests on a large scale and in protecting them through collective actions. The clear indication of this is a huge decrease in formal union membership of manual workers. Namely, in Serbia today, based on research findings, as little as 15% of both skilled and unskilled workers are members of unions, while in Croatia these figures are 23% and 21%, respectively.

If trade unions are not capable to overcome structural fragmentation of the working class, the question remains if there is a political party that could express its collective interests. According to research findings, it is difficult to recognize such a party both in Serbia and Croatia. What kept the workers in both countries together in political sense, regardless of their skill, was the fact that they had recognized nationalist and populist parties as the best representatives of their interests. This is demonstrated by data obtained in the 2003 research, according to which both groups of workers in Serbia most frequently supported the Serbian Radical Party (among unskilled workers who gave the answer about political orientation, some 40% supported this party, and among skilled workers 30%). In Croatia workers mostly supported the Croatian Democratic Community (35% of unskilled and 25% of skilled workers who gave the answer about political orientation).

However, even in this field the trend of differentiation is apparent. If, for the sake of analysis, all political parties are merged into a “nationalist-populist block” (in Serbia: the coalition of the Serbian Radical Party, Socialist Party of Serbia and Party of Serbian Unity; in Croatia: Croatian Democratic Community, Croatian Party of Law and other parties that support CDC), and a “civic-democratic block” (in Serbia: the coalition of the Democratic Party, Democratic Party of Serbia and G17 that made the basis for political dominance after 2000; in Croatia: members of the coalition government in the period 2000-2003 – Social Democratic Party, Croatian People’s Party, liberals, etc. [6]), the following difference in the distribution of two strata of manual workers into these two political options could be observed: the “nationalist-populist block” dominates in Croatia among both categories of workers and in Serbia among unskilled workers; also, in Croatia skilled workers more often than the unskilled ones support the “civic-democratic block”. In this way it appears that political fragmentation of workers is unfolding in both countries, although based on slightly different mechanisms. In Croatia, ethnic mobilization as a totalizing mechanism atomizes workers, surviving as the absolute core of political action and reducing support to the Social Democratic Party which, at least formally, presents itself as the representative of the specific class interest. In Serbia, on the other hand, political axis has been set around the problem of constitution of basic national and democratic institutions (because of the unsolved state problem and belated transformation), so that there is no party in the political field which would articulate the specific workers’ class interests. Finally, large differences in political orientations of unskilled and skilled workers, especially in Serbia, show that in the realm of political representation there is no tendency that would possibly lead to the creation of a unique social actor out of the two groups of workers.

Naturally, in order to interpret the possibility for collective action, in addition to the analysis of structural/interest and institutional (organizational) aspects, we also need an insight into the basic value orientations of the working class. Earlier researches of value patterns of different social classes in Serbia showed that there was huge confusion in this sphere. Members of the working class expressed below average tendency to accept liberal values and above average tendency to support traditionalism, authoritarianism and nationalism (the findings were similar for Croatia in 1989 – see Lazic, ed. 1991).

To measure value orientations in the present analysis the scale of statist paternalism was constructed. This value pattern shows inclination towards egalitarianism and assumes that state intervention should secure a decrease of economic inequalities and permanent employment. This pattern therefore directly confronts the declining role of the state in economy and society, and may serve as the basis for social action that slows down social changes, and especially makes difficult the delineation of the new role of trade unions (establishment of collective bargaining as the new form of social dialog, which should replace centralist concepts inherited from socialism).

Research findings show the following. Although during the 1989-2003 period the attitude that government should intervene in the economy as little as possible was getting larger support inside both strata of the working class in Serbia, on the other hand, the belief that private ownership necessarily had an advantage over state (or social) ownership in terms of the economic growth was declining. And while at the first statement unskilled and skilled workers were equal in 2003, at the second statement it turned out that skilled workers a bit more frequently supported the concept of private ownership, but still stayed below the national sample average. Based on this data it can be concluded that, regarding the basic value orientations, the working class is different from other groups in the society, but at the same time it is too divided internally to efficiently define a common goal for political action.

Concerning the paternalist/statist value pattern, workers accept it to the largest extent in Croatia, too. In the 4-20 range, where the lower score means higher acceptance of the pattern, both in Serbia and Croatia they scored 7 on average. It seems that such a high level of acceptance of the paternalistic value pattern, equal in both countries, does not leave space for fragmentation, but rather confirms atomization of the working class and the necessity for its external homogenization (which in this region still means the one accomplished by the state).

6. Conclusions

Generally speaking, it can be concluded that, considering postsocialist transformation and fragmentation of the working class, there are certain differences between Serbia and Croatia, even if common elements prevail. In both cases systemic change is paired by transition of the working class from the stage of atomization, typical for socialism, to the stage of significant fragmentation. In this sense, skills in Serbia represent the basis for the differentiation of the workers’ economic positions. However, the question remains if the spotted difference would be an insurmountable obstacle to homogenization, if common value orientations as a framework for united class action were built. A condition which is missing for building this framework is a more efficient organizational base. Marginalization of trade union activities orients all social goals of the working class to the political field. In this field, however, most workers, especially those with lower skills, support parties with egalitarian programs and populist rhetoric (in accordance with their value orientations). The problem remaining here is that these parties build their strength on national mobilization, and are almost completely turned away from the future and modernization of the country. Consequently, the political support they get from the working strata constantly slows down and endangers the process of transformation in Serbia and its firmer integration into European and world institutions.

The biggest step forward in the systemic transformation In Croatia, compared with Serbia, was made in sizing down the informal economy and wiping out large differences in economic positions between employees in private and state sectors. Besides that, membership in trade unions is somewhat more frequent and political divisions are a bit smaller than in Serbia. However, concerning the fact that workers in Croatia give stronger support to the nationalist-populist block than to the civic one (including the social-democratic party), this firmer unity is more of a source of atomization than a means of class homogenization based on common interests. In this way it becomes evident that, in Croatia as well, there are many factors that intensify fragmentation of the working class: together with problems of value and political orientations, higher exclusion of workers from the labor market than in Serbia is found here, along with a smaller inter-generational and intra-generational self-reproduction.

In a word, not only have the processes of systemic transformation in Serbia and Croatia failed to contribute to the class homogenization of workers, but, by disturbing it, they have probably been slowed down themselves. Finally, it may seem reasonable to suppose that the process of European integration will accelerate social change in both countries: it should stimulate (from the outside) both their postsocialist transformation and the basic class homogenization. The key ingredients of this homogenization should be: the strengthening of the labor market; the increase of employment; substantial reform of trade unions, which might make them capable of actively taking part in collective bargaining in order to protect the common economic interests of employees; and political “normalization”, which puts the national-populist parties at the margin of the political spectrum and makes room for a possible class-wide interest representation.


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1. The protection had two modes: jobs were safe, and income differences between management, professionals and manual workers were relatively modest – cf. Lazic, 1994.

2. Socialist parties became the most eager defenders of neo-liberal economic policies in Eastern European states where they gained power during the transformation.

3. A methodological possibility of making a comparative study is given by the fact that simultaneous and joint surveys were made in both countries, one in 1989 – at the time immediately preceding the collapse of socialism – and the second in 2003, when transformation was relatively stabilized in both countries. The first survey, “Social Structure and Quality of Life”, was made on the sample of 14.000 respondents in the whole SFRY. The second one, “ South East European Social Survey Project“, was done on the sample of 22.000 respondents on the teritory of the former SFRY (less Slovenia) and Albania, and was financed by the Norvegian Government.

4. The conversion was very successful for former nomenklatura members, so that in Serbia they made some 65% of new big private owners in the mid 1990s – cf. Lazic, in Lazic, ed. 1995.

5. Croatia during the 1990s is characterized “…by extreme polarization and dualism of property structure (so called tycoonisation of economy), or by creation of small stratum of new elite of private owners who was directly connected to political elite, especially in industry and banking.” – Cuckovic, 2002: 250.

6. Šiber differentiates political parties in Croatia between the left, the center and the right. See Šiber, 2006: 327. In this analysis, “the left” and “the center” are merged into the civic-democratic block.


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All rights reserved. This paper was prepared for the Workshop “The ‘Brave New World’ after Communism. 1989: Expectations in Comparison” in Vienna, Austria, June 15 and 16, 2009. Please do not cite, copy, or use otherwise without the author’s permission.

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  • Bradley F. Abrams

    History, Stanford University
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  • 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
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  • Sorin Antohi

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

  • Timothy Garton Ash

    History, Oxford
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  • Roumen Avramov

    Program director for economic research at the Center for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
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  • Adam Baczko

    PhD Candidate in Political Science, EHESS, Paris
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  • 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 …
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  • Steven Beller

    Geschichte, Cambridge
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  • Naja Bentzen

    Freelance journalist, Wien
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  • Luiza Bialasiewicz

    Professor of European Governance, University of Amsterdam
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  • Muriel Blaive

    Advisor to the Director, in Charge of Research and Methodology, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague
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  • András Bozóki

    Professor of Political Science, Central European University, Budapest
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  • José Casanova

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

    Soziologie, Seattle
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  • Robert Cooper

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

  • Peter Demetz

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

    Associate Professor of Philosophy, Special Advisor to the Dean on Faculty Affairs, New School for Social Research
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  • 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
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  • Katya Gorchinskaya

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

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

  • Rainer Gries

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

  • Eva Hahn

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  • Gábor Halmai

    Professor of Law, Department of European Studies; Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
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  • Elemer Hankiss

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

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

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

  • Annemieke Hendriks

    Freelance journalist, Berlin
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  • Charles Hirschman

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

  • Jennifer L. Hochschild

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

  • Yaroslav Hrytsak

    History, Central European University Budapest
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  • Richard Hyman

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

  • Vladislav Inozemtsev

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

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

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

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

  • Anatoly M. Khazanov

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

  • Cornelia Klinger

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

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

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

  • Michal Kopecek

    International Relations, Charles University Prague
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  • János Kornai

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

    Post-Doc in Theory and History of Literature, New Bulgarian University, Sofia
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  • 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
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  • Ivan Krastev

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

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

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

  • Aleksander Kwasniewski

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

  • Mladen Lazic

    Professor of Sociology, University of Belgrade
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  • Claus Leggewie

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

  • Emilia Palonen

    Politics, University of Essex
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  • Irina Papkova

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

  • Agnieszka Pasieka

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

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  • Marius Turda

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

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

  • Victoria Vasilenko

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

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

  • Harald Welzer

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

  • Karolina Wigura

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

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

  • Oksana Zabuzhko

    Free-lance writer, Kiev
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  • Tatiana Zhurzhenko

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