Eastern Europe Publications

307. The Internationalization of Minority Rights in Poscommunist Europe

Jul 07, 2011
November 2004 - Over the past 15 years, a fascinating experiment has taken place in Europe regarding the codification of minority rights. As communism collapsed in 1989, several ethnic conflicts broke out in the Caucuses and Balkans, and commentators feared that ethnic violence would spiral out of control throughout Central and Eastern Europe. In response, Western democracies decided to "internationalize" the treatment of national minorities in postcommunist Europe, creating a pan-European regime to monitor whether countries are meeting European standards in the treatment of their minorities. Some of these standards have been formulated by the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)–a position established in 1993. Other standards were formulated by the Council of Europe (COE) in its 1995 "Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities." Complying with these OSCE and COE standards is required for countries to ‘join the West,' and in particular to join the European Union (EU) and NATO. more

136. Present Day Hungarian Politics and The Memory of 1956

Jul 07, 2011
March 1997 - October-November 1956 witnessed the most momentous events in Hungarian history since 1848, according to Istvan Deak, but they escape an agreed definition despite remaining a defining memory. The debate in Hungary over the events of 1956 even extends to what to call them, with "revolution and struggle for freedom" being the current compromise. Deak, the Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University and a former Wilson Center Fellow, began his Noon Discussion on 12 March by reviewing the way the 1956 revolution has been treated in Hungary from the Communist to the post-Communist period. To bring his audience up to date on the political debate and the current best understanding of what happened, he concluded with his impressions from the fortieth anniversary conference held in Budapest in September 1996. The meeting was cosponsored by the Center's Cold War International History Project, the Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the National Security Archive. more

222. Europe and the Politics of Minority Rights

Jul 07, 2011
December 2000- The current priorities of the office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM), headed by Max Van der Stoel, are problems in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Ukraine, Central Asia and Yugoslavia. What is most notable is what is not on the list. Since it's establishment in 1993, the HCNM has concentrated on ethnic tensions in Slovakia, Romania, and the Baltic States. None of these states remain on the current list of priorities. While this does not mean that the problems have been solved, it is a sign that minority politics in much of Eastern Europe has moved into the arena of "normal politics." more

291. Building Local Democracy under Conditions of Uncertainty in Kosovo

Jul 07, 2011
January 2004 - Over the past decade, international organizations and development NGOs have broadened their efforts to nurture democratic governance from the centers of power in capital cities to local government. Local government is the first tier of public authority that people confront in their everyday lives. Good local governance provides services to diverse populations, facilitates the development of political institutions and cross cutting social networks and fosters economic development. At the same time, effective local government has the capacity to resolve conflicts at an early stage, preventing them from escalating into violence. In this light, the circumstances enhancing the sustainability of post-conflict local democracy command great interest. more

64. The Poles and Their Past: Society, Historiography and the Legislation Process

Jul 07, 2011
The Polish nation had experienced both Nazism and communism. These were not equal experiences, and social memory about them differs to a considerable degree. In order to perform such an operation, it would be necessary to halt history in June 1941. Since it is impossible to stop history in order to examine the period from mid-September 1939 to June 1941, it is helpful, as this article does, to study Polish recollections of their experiences so as to understand their continued impact on national history and memory. more

205. Montenegro: Prospects for the Yugoslav Federation

Jul 07, 2011
May 2000 - In the early nineties, during the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the international community supported the independence of all of its six constituent republics. Four republics - Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia - became independent states. The remaining two other republics, Serbia and Montenegro, created the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in April 1992. One month later the new state, driven by international sanctions, fell prey to isolation. In a referendum, held in March 1992, a majority of the citizens of Montenegro voted for co-existence with Serbia in a new common Federal state. more

275. East Central Europe between Paris and Washington

Jul 07, 2011
For some, Poland's emergence as a leading partner in the US-led campaign to rebuild Iraq came as a surprise. After all, so much effort has been spent on reforms, concessions and negotiations in preparation for EU accession, that it seemed to many that Poland, the Baltic States, Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic were antagonizing precisely those countries they had been courting for years by supporting the US-led coalition. In response to the confusion, I would like to offer a historical-cultural explanation for those puzzled by this new world order. more

357. Romanian Parliamentary Elections: New Alliances and Challenges

Jul 07, 2011
December 2008 - In December 2008, a friend in Bucharest sent me a message quoting a recent statement by an influential political commentator from the Romanian media. This columnist reminds me of the former spokesman for the Polish military junta in the 1980s, who has since become a very successful capitalist: Jerzy Urban. Urban is the editor of the weekly magazine Nie, which irreverently makes fun of everybody. In my mind, Urban is no hero, but is a former Communist Party lackey who turned into the transition's profiteering buffoon. So, I am referring here to somebody who is the equivalent of Urban in Romania, and his name is Ion Cristoiu. more

48. The De-Germanization of the Budapest Stage

Jul 07, 2011
The shift from a German to a Hungarian theater culture has been told in different ways: This author analyzes three examples of this: 1) the nationalist linguistic focus on the making of texts and the theater as a forum for Magyarization; 2) the National Theater in Budapest as an institution-the building itself as an icon of Hungarian political identity; and 3) the role of the crowd in diffusing the significance of the theater, now simply one voice in the multiplicity of the metropolis. more

189. Europe and U.S. Relations 10 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall: A Retrospective

Jul 07, 2011
November 1999 - A decade later, the events of 1989 have lost none of their capacity to astonish. The sheer possibilities open at that time are enough to baffle even the knowledgeable observer. For those of us who lived through these events as they happened and had a certain role in shaping them, the enormity of what transpired that fateful year becomes even more amazing with the passage of time. more

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Dialogue

The Future of Higher Education

Mar 26, 2014Apr 02, 2014

Jeff Abernathy and Richard Morrill discuss how colleges and universities are dealing with rapidly rising costs and how the United States can still compete for students in a globalized environment.