A Few Thoughts About Post-Communist Europe

November 12, 2014

An article at RealClearPolitics includes a few of my thoughts about post-Communist Europe. There are undoubtedly groups of people nostalgic about communist Europe, but things seem to be moving in the right direction at the very least.

I asked Palmer, now a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and executive vice president for international programs at the libertarian Atlas Network, for an updated view. In his email, he sounded more upbeat than one might expect: “Remember what the condition was in 1989 and 1990. Dictatorships. Food shortages. Despair. Visit those countries now and you find very different places. Yes, they are not perfect, but it’s so easy to overlook the progress when you’re looking for the faults.”

Still, Palmer acknowledges that there is a lingering nostalgia for communism among some in Eastern Europe—especially older people for whom normal nostalgia for their youth is associated with the communist past—and that such sentiment paradoxically feeds into the popularity of far-right nationalist and even fascist movements. In the case of Russia, he says, “there is another element, which I call ‘Failed Empire Syndrome’: the longing for the days when ‘we were feared,’ mixed in with conspiracy theories of being betrayed, humiliated, etc.”

You can read the whole article here.

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