The National Endowment for Democracy on November 6, 2018 held a interesting discussion titled, “Imitation and its Discontents: Democratic Malaise in Post-Communist Europe?” The event featured a discussion between Journal of Democracy co-editor Marc F. Plattner and Ivan Krastev, a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times and internationally recognized expert on European politics. Ivan Krastev discusses what he sees as the many reasons as to why democracy has not taken hold in Russia and the challenges ahead.
Krastev is Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria and a Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria. From the event invite:
The reasons for the failure of democracy to take hold in Russia and for its current backsliding in Central Europe are complex, but one important and often neglected factor is what Ivan Krastev (in a July 2018 article in the Journal of Democracy) has called “Imitation and Its Discontents.” Following the collapse of communism, the countries in the region faced both internal and external pressure to “imitate the West” by adopting many of its democratic institutions and norms.
Despite the advantages this may have brought, it also has generated feelings of a loss of sovereignty and ushered in a period of growing malaise. As global authoritarian forces continue to rise, even the once seemingly consolidated democracies of Central Europe appear to be turning away from “Western” values of liberalism and embracing their own notion of “the real Europe.”
This discussion with Ivan Krastev will help you better understand this topic and help elucidate why illiberal and anti-Western sentiments continue to rise. He also offers his perspective on how pro-democracy organizations around the world should reply to these challenges. The video lasts for about an hour and a half. Take a look: