The previous year, 2020, will for sure remain in our memory as the year of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Yet we also all know that beyond the public health crisis, the region of Central and Eastern Europe continued to confront political challenges as well. Most visibly, this is seen in Belarus. However, the recent elections in Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova indicate significant changes too.
These developments have compelled our authors and interviewees to posit the question on the current state and direction of democracy in the region and the world at large. Do they symbolise optimism for a turn away from illiberal practices? Such seems to be the case of Lithuania and Moldova. Or will authoritarian rulers use the illusion of elections to consolidate even greater power – as this year’s Duma elections in Russia will certainly demonstrate.
Contents – Whither Democracy? And what lies ahead…
We need innovation and courage to rejuvenate democracy
An interview with Basil Kerski
When institutions fail, boycott and street protests remain the only instrument
Lithuanian elections provide new opportunities and women empowerment
When trust in institutions is lacking, we have a problem
An interview with Henrik Müller
What 1989 can (and cannot) teach us
Opinion and Analysis
The failure in binary thinking about Belarus
Iwona Reichardt and Maxim Rust
Belarus. Fighting for the future or the past?
Wim van Meurs and Olga Morozova
Turkey, Russia and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Far from being over. Injustice, revenge and suffering in Nagorno-Karabakh
A renewed focus on Ukraine’s nuclear power sector
Biden and the East: Implications of a New US Administration
Whither US-Ukraine relations during a Biden presidency?
Andrei Gromyko congratulates Joe Biden
History and Memory
International law and the Soviet wild-goose chase
Art, Culture and Society
Women’s face of the opposition
An unambiguous legacy. Women and Solidarity
The shame of Dagestan
Stories and Ideas
Why do they stay?
Kevin Le Merle
A prayer for peace in Belarus
Critically uncritical. Reforming education in Central and Eastern Europe
Darya Podgoretskaya and Anna Theodoulides
An exemplary 20th century Eastern European life
History of facts. Dispassionate and detached
The journey of revisiting 1989
Kinga Anna Gajda
The sword of Damocles and the mirror
An underappreciated contribution to European history