New Conservatives in Russia and East Central Europe

Book Launch and Discussion (in English)

with Katharina Bluhm (Freie Universität Berlin), Mihai Varga (Freie Universität Berlin), Krzysztof Jasiecki (Centre for Europe, University of Warsaw) and Alicja Curanovic (University of Warsaw)
Chair: Regina Elsner (ZOiS)

The recently released book New Conservatives in Russia and East Central Europe explores the new generation of political actors in Poland, Hungary and Russia, rejecting the consensus around market reforms, democratisation, and rule of law that has characterised the move towards an "open society" from the 1990s on.  These new political elites like Law and Justice (Poland), Fidesz (Hungary) and United Russia identify themselves as "conservatives", hereby developing the notion of a "new" political conservatism in the region. It tremendously differs from the established, present-day conservative parties of Western Europe and, yet, the "new conservatism" claims to reaffirm a strong, "sovereign" state defining and pursuing a national path of development.

The authors of the book, Katharina Bluhm and Mihai Varga together with the co-author of one of the book chapters Krzysztof Jasiecki and experts specialising in Eastern Europe, Regina Elsner and Alicja Curanovic will talk about the phenomenon of the illiberal East European conservatism and its influence on local politics. The discussants will try to find answers to several disputable questions such as why this type of conservatism became mainstream in some countries and not in others, as well as to what extent historic path dependencies and the transition paths towards market economy and democracy matter.

The book: Katharina Bluhm and Mihai Varga. New Conservatives in Russia and East Central Europe. Routledge, 2019.


Prof. Dr. Katharina Bluhm is Professor of Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin.

Dr. Mihai Varga is Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the Institute for East European Studies at Freie Universität Berlin.

Prof. Dr. Krzysztof Jasiecki is a political scientist and Lecturer at the Centre for Europe, University of Warsaw.

Dr. Alicja Curanović is an Assistant Professor in the Section of History and Theory of International Relations at the University of Warsaw.

Dr. Regina Elsner is a theologian and researcher at ZOiS.