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Author: Petar Cholakov

This article delves into the intricate, and often inconsistent, worlds of Bulgarian government policies towards ethnic minorities, in particular towards the Roma, after 1989. The author begins with an overview of the ‘ethnic model’ embedded at present in the country’s political system. Then he discusses the integration policies of Bulgarian governments after the fall of communism. His conclusion is that the lack of political will of the ruling parties represents the biggest obstacle to the integration of minorities. Anti-discrimination legislation is plagued by inconsistencies and problems related to its implementation. Despite some moderate progress, state policies continue to lack vision, direction and effective monitoring mechanisms. The representatives of minorities are still, for the most part, ignored in the process of tailoring and implementation of programmes.

In: Southeastern Europe
In: Southeastern Europe
Author: Velina Todorova

This article discusses to what extent Bulgaria has attempted to establish the Rule of Law in recent years and the reasons this aim has remain unattained. It outlines the “peripheral status” of law in Bulgarian society because of the society’s unaccomplished modernization. Next, the manifestation of deficiencies in the development of the Rule of Law is analyzed following Martin Mendelski’s conceptual model (de jure and de facto legality), in particular, in relation to the fight against corruption. The analysis is based on quantitative and qualitative evidence from the Legal Barometer project and the Study of Legislative Activity of the 44th National Assembly. The empirical facts prove that the state mostly produces legal texts and creates administrative structures (in its anti-corruption reforms as well), but not actual results in legal defence of human rights, property rights and in defence of public interests in general.

In: Southeastern Europe

Abstract

This article compares the Russian concept of ekologiia kul′tury (ecology of culture) to Western cultural ecology. Both ideas see human cultures evolving in close relations with their environment, but they sharply differ in their conclusions. Instead of highlighting literature’s potential as an ecological force, ekologiia kul′tury emphasizes morals, traditional values, and Christian ideology. Russian naturfilosofskaia proza (natural-philosophical prose) shares these features with ekologiia kul′tury, which this article shows by analyzing writings of rivers in it. Naturfilosofskaia proza is also an example of literature as cultural ecology, and this article shows how representations of rivers in the so-called noosphere stories by Sergei Zalygin, Valentin Rasputin, and Viktor Astaf´ev illustrate its function as an ecological force within cultural discourses.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Von Athen bis zu Putins Russland
Blick ins Buch

Mit dem Ende des Kalten Krieges erschien die Demokratie als klares Erfolgsmodell. Doch die um 1990 begonnene Demokratisierung in Osteuropa, Afrika und Lateinamerika hat allzu häufig mit Rückfällen in autoritäre Systeme geendet. Auch die Hoffnungen auf einen „arabischen Frühling“ wurden weitgehend enttäuscht. China zeigt als größte Nation der Erde keine Anzeichen einer Demokratisierung. Und in Europa und Nordamerika haben populistische Bewegungen, deren demokratische Ausrichtung zumindest zweifelhaft ist, breiten Zulauf. Selbst die ältesten Demokratien stecken heute in der Krise.
Dieses Buch öffnet den Blick auf die beunruhigende Tatsache, dass das Scheitern von Demokratien ein durchaus häufiges Phänomen ist, für das die Geschichte reiches Anschauungsmaterial bietet. Ausgewiesene Historiker schildern in kompakten Einzelkapiteln das Ende der Volksherrschaft in Athen, Frankreich, Italien, Deutschland, Spanien, Pakistan, Burma, Chile und Russland. So spannt sich der Bogen vom Ende der ersten Demokratie in Athen über das 19. und 20. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart. Doch nichts ist zwangsläufig: Aus den Fehlern der Vergangenheit lässt sich für die Gestaltung der Zukunft lernen.
Author: David Alenga

Abstract

From the fissures of Brexit and the recent results of pan-national European Union (EU) elections, insurgent political parties are becoming a force to be reckoned with. For all their disparate centers of gravity, nearly all of them converge on the question of Euroscepticism and the liberal international order. The primary consternation, it is routinely said, is not so much their dogged populism, but that most of them are unwittingly setting themselves up to do Moscow’s bidding in Europe.

Drawing on Cold War historiography, this article sets out to critique how this thesis evolved along a consistent prism of ideological meta-narratives. Its key focus is highlighting how missing links in some of the seminal moments in the history of Soviet-Western relations continue to filter into explaining contemporary political developments in the EU.

This article thus makes two basic conclusions. First, that there is something to be said of the insurgent political movements as committed players in the competition for the balance of power in the political berth of Europe. And in that regard, their rhetorical association with Moscow’s positions is a pragmatic step in the grand strategy of national and pan-European politics. Second, Moscow, contrary to being the adversarial vector of liberal Europe, has historically identified its best interest with cooperating, if not outrightly, aligning with the Western-led postwar international liberal order.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Author: Tomáš Hoch

Abstract

The current conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh began in the second half of the 1980s, but its roots are deeper, reaching back at least to the first quarter of the 20th century. The aim of this article is to place these problematic aspects of mutual Armenian-Azerbaijani relations in their historical context and to link them with the current conflict. This article also identifies the factors that underlay the initial stages of the conflict and its subsequent escalation. The ethno-political mobilization of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, but subsequently also of Armenians in the Armenian SSR and Azerbaijanis in the Azerbaijan SSR, was driven by specific conditions that emerged during the collapse of the Soviet state. The gradual ethno-political mobilization in both union republics, as well as in Nagorno-Karabakh itself, was a by-product of Soviet nationality policy, and was enabled by the policy of glasnost. This article identifies the following key factors that created suitable conditions for the escalation of the conflict: Armenians’ dissatisfaction with the autonomous status of Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan (fueled by the perception of numerous historic injustices), the legal and social chaos brought by the disintegration of the USSR, and the political and economic weakness of the newly emerging states.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Author: Roman Abramov

Abstract

This article examines the role of the monetary world inclusion in the world of children’s games in the late Soviet period by opening a previously unknown page of board games’ social history in the USSR and describes the practices of playing Do It Yourself (DIY) Monopoly by Soviet children in the 1980s. Soviet teenagers used friendly relationships to exchange tacit knowledge about the basic rules of the board business game. They made playing fields and developed the rules of the game, using school knowledge about the principles of the capitalist economy. The article shows the game rules’ evolution of the DIY Soviet Monopoly versions and shows the creativity of the Soviet teenagers in the re-invention of the rules of the board business game. DIY Monopoly versions were a form of adaptation of western goods to socialist conditions, which were common practice in the Soviet Union since its inception.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review