After the revolutions of 1989, Central and Eastern Europe was an exciting place to watch, with democracy seemingly poised to take root. Yet, nearly thirty years later, Westerners who had invested so much in promoting democracy in the region look in disbelief at the reemergence of illiberal politics. A flurry of explanations about this “backsliding” of democracy have been cited, with some observers stressing global trends while others cite the gravitational pull of the communist past.
In a forthcoming presentation, Bulgarian human rights defender Dimitrina Petrova will offer an alternative explanation of the celebrated but misconceived idea of “transitions to democracy,” as well as some reflections on the current political landscape in Central and Eastern Europe. She will assess the transformative potential of civic activism in the region and ask if democratic values and human rights are still shaping young people’s aspirations for a better world. She will conclude by providing insights into where activism in the region might go next. The National Endowment for Democracy’s Rodger Potocki will offer comments.
Vice-President for Studies and Analysis,
National Endowment for Democracy
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004
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