After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the newly gained dominance of liberal democracy as a political regime was accompanied by a new dominance of liberal democracy as a descriptive language. Concepts of political science, sociology, and economics which had been developed for the analysis of Western-type polities were applied to the various phenomena in the newly liberated countries.
Our Senior Research Fellow Balint Magyar and Junior Research Fellow Balint Madlovics argue that the language of liberal democracies blurs the understanding of the current state of post-communism as it leads to conceptual stretching and brings in a host of hidden presumptions.
They presented their most recent book, The Anatomy of Post-Communist Regimes (CEU Press, 2020) at Stanford University. The book is a comprehensive attempt to break with the traditional analysis, proposing a systematic renewal of our descriptive vocabulary. The authors have created categories as well as a whole new grammar for the region’s political, economic, and social phenomena. Focusing on Central Europe, the post-Soviet countries, and China, their study provides concepts and theories to analyze the actors, institutions, and dynamics of post-communist democracies, autocracies, and dictatorships.
Watch their presentation:
The book is open access and can be downloaded for free from the authors’ website. The website also contains supplementary material, including an interactive 3D model for modeling post-communist regime trajectories.