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Ten Years of Post-Communism in Eastern Europe. Lights and Shadows

edited by Anna Krasteva and Francesco Privitera

year: 2006

Europe and the Balkans Network's book cover
Europe and the Balkans Network's book num 27

On the 1st May 2004, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia have become members of the European Union. On the 1st January 2007, Romania and Bulgaria have joined the EU too. With the conclusion of the enlargement process of the EU, also the post-communist transition, which started in 1989 during the night of the fall of the Berlin wall, the 4th of November is going to its end.

Post-communism has been the dominant political factor of the 1990s of the XX century in eastern Europe as a part of the post-cold order redefinition of Europe. At the time, with the disappearence of the opposing bloc, the West had to completely re-define its strategies and identity, and this rethinking became part of a wider process of integration and enlargement.

Certainly, it was quite difficult to immagine the sooner developments during the night of the 4th of November, when a rally of Berlin people assaulted peacefully the Wall, from the East and the West sides of the town, making its crash possible. In a while, the symbol of the division of Europe during the Cold War disappeared. Communist Europe was meeting Liberal Europe, wether both sides were discovering themselves as "foreigners".

History had not arrived to its end, as Fukuyama provoked with his famous book, The End of History (Fukuyama, 1990), but was for coming back to the milestone of the XX century where the century has begun: Sarajevo.

Between 1989 and 1991, in a couple of years, all the communist regimes in Europe, as well as the Soviet Union, collapsed, leaving on their behalf exausted economic systems, fragile societies, unprepared elites and weak states.

Western Europe was unprepared to face the changes provoked by the rapid communist collapse, too. Western European cabinets were confused because of the simultaneity of different unexepcted results, primarily the unification process of Germany and the dissolution process of the Yugoslav Federation.
The German unification process catalized the whole attention by European cabinets for different reasons.
 
Wether the UK was in favour of the unification process as the way to dilute any action within the EC and downloading the French leading role in Bruxelles affairs, France - on the contrary - was seriously worried about a large sized Germany, which in the Balkan affairs was already showing a strong activism. Italy was warried too, the new Germany would marginalized Italian role within the EC, and was making troubles in the relatioships between Italy and Yugoslavia.
East European countries, which were at the first steps of their own post-communist transitions processes, were looking with preoccupation the risk to be surronded by a new possible German power, on one side, and the Soviet Union, on the other. 1990 was a very crucial year which moved Europe into its two meanstreams: unification/disintegration processes.

 

 


Authors

photo of Anna Krasteva

Anna Krasteva is Associate Professor at the New Bulgaria University and at the Bulgarian University and at the Academy of Sciences. Her main fields of interest are: nationality, citizenship, communities, identities, individualism, communitarianism, politics and culture. She is author of more than 50 publications in 13 countries. She is of the board of the Association international des Sociologues de Langue Françiase, Chair of the research committee on South East European Societies, international co-ordinator of the Tempus project Bulgamin on ethnic and minorities issues with the participation of Bulgaria, Italy, France, and the Netherlands.

 

Contact

tel. 0887/23-95-68
mail. A_krasteva@hotmail.com

photo of Francesco Privitera

Political Study Area Coordinator, Francesco Privitera teaches History of Eastern Europe at the Advanced School of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Bologna, in Forlì. He is an expert in Balkan matters and has dealt with the problems related to the emergence of nationalistic issues in Central Eastern and Balkan Europe during the post-communist transitions. He has written a number of volumes and essays, some of which have also been published abroad.

 

Contact

tel: +39 0543-36304/23000
fax: +39 0543-377088
e-mail: francesco.privitera@unibo.it

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