Is East-Central Europe Backsliding? The Strange Death of the Liberal Consensus

Issue Date October 2007
Volume 18
Issue 4
Page Numbers 56-63
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Populism is no longer merely a feature of certain parties or other political actors. It is the new condition of the political in Europe. The result is a brand of politics where the main structural conflict is not between left and right or between reformers and conservatives. The real clash is between elites that are becoming ever more suspicious of democracy and angry publics that are becoming ever more hostile to liberalism. The paradox of East-Central Europe is that the rise of populism is an outcome not of the failures but of the successes of postcommunist liberalism.

*This is a corrected text of the print and original online version of this essay, which lacked proper citation for some of its sources. This is the only version that should be used for citation or further dissemination.

About the Author

Ivan Krastev is chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, and a New York Times contributing writer.

View all work by Ivan Krastev