Transformations in Central Europe between 1989 and 2012: Geopolitical, Cultural, and Socioeconomic Shifts

Transformations in Central Europe between 1989 and 2012: Geopolitical, Cultural, and Socioeconomic Shifts

Tomas Kavaliauskas

Language: English

Pages: 236

ISBN: 0739197312

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Transformations in Central Europe between 1989 and 2012: Geopolitical, Cultural, and Socioeconomic Shifts by Tomas Kavaliauskas, is an in-depth study of the transformations in Central Europe in the years since the fall of Communism. Using a comparative analysis of geopolitical, ethical, cultural, and socioeconomic shifts, this essential text investigates postcommunist countries including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovenia.

Next to transitological interpretations, this study ventures upon negative and positive freedom (Isaiah Berlin) in Central Europe after two decades of post-communist transition. Kavaliauskas questions the meaning of completeness of postcommunist transition, both geopolitical and socioeconomic, when there are many transformations that do not necessarily mean unequivocal progress. The author also analyses why Central Europe in 1989, armed with civil disobedience, could not maintain its moral politics. But the book touches sensitive issues of memory as well: an examination of May 9th is provided from the Russian and the Baltic perspectives, revealing two opposing world views regarding this date of liberation or occupation. Finally, Kavaliauskas analyzes the tragedy at Smolensk airport, which became an inseparable part of Central European identity. Transformations in Central Europe between 1989 and 2012 is an essential contribution to the literature on Central Europe and the lasting effects of Communism and its aftermath.

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Herkus Kunčius also meditated on the fact of contingency: A few days before the loss of [his] life Lech Kaczyński visited Vilnius. On April 8th he went to the Lithuanian Presidential house on Simonas Daukantas square through the same streets as I wander, looking out of his car window at the same people walking towards the University, just like I see them every day. Suddenly by paradox the tragedy of Katyń was repeated. That was suspiciously similar to a ritual homicide of 96 people (not just of

makes an important observation: The extremist among the Young Hegelians, including Marx, proclaimed “atheism” as the motto of the movement. This term, however, had a very special connotation for them. It meant the recognition of man as the sole divinity. “Atheism” was a belligerent way of saying “God is man.” Marx formulated this position in the preface of his doctoral dissertation: Philosophy makes no secret of it. The confession of Prometheus: “In one word, I hate all the Gods.” Man in other

negative freedom from oppression and positive freedom to human rights. When such core nationalist origin of Central European freedom is conceptually disrespected and the new failures of liberalism in the West conveniently overlooked, then no wonder Christianity and nationalism today are regarded as backward. But did not some liberal values become backward in the West to the extent that it failed to deliver itself a multicultural success story? How come the knife-edge distinction between “liberal

following questions that the Slovenian scholar asked in 2011: “what about our common future, toward which we will obviously be moving at different speeds? And what about the common foreign policy that crumbles whenever confronted with a serious challenge?”[14] Petya Kabakchieva in her political essay, Eurolocal perspectives towards the EU,[15] expresses her hope, fear, and trembling as she wonders whom the face of the EU will resemble. Will it be recognizable? In other words, will this face be

dimensions.” In the sphere of historical understanding, too, we speak of horizons, especially when referring to the claim of historical consciousness to see the past in its own terms, not in terms of our contemporary criteria and prejudices but within its own historical horizon. The task of a historical understanding also involves acquiring an appropriate historical horizon, so that what we are trying to understand can be seen in its true dimensions.[4] My argument is that dealing with the

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