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Report: Central Europe’s Populist Tide with the Legatum Institute

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Evropaïkí Dimokratía

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a discussion with Anton Shekhovtsov at the Legatum Institute, on the ‘populist tide’ that is currently washing over Eastern Europe. Mr Shekhovtsov recently published a paper – Is Transition reversible? The Case of Central Europe, in which he analyses the growth of anti-democratic sentiment or ‘illiberalism’, as the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has coined it. Journalist and historian Anne Applebaum was chair, and the journalist Sławomir Sierakowski also took part in the discussion. A report on the evening, and analysis of the accompanying paper; is Eastern Europe really under an authoritarian threat, and is this cause for concern?

Mr Shekhovtsov’s paper goes through a series of examples of the increasing ‘illiberalisation’ of Eastern Europe. To take Hungary first, the most well-known example, Hungary’s transition to democracy was rather smooth by comparison to some of the other examples in the paper…

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