Political culture in Central Europe

Vladimir Rukavishnikov: Putin’s politics and the Russian political culture
Among many factors that affect the political culture of contemporary Russia the most important are historical factors, responsible for continuities of cultural traits, and post-Soviet political, social and economic transformations as well as the policies of the ruling regime and the permanently changing economic conditions of the life of the majority of the population, responsible for changes. Therefore the relationship between Putin’s politics and the Russian political culture is so important to understand the real state-of art in the Russian society nowadays. This link also explains why the Russian political culture may be seen not only as the pattern of collective ideas about the society in question, its social fabric and structure, and former, present and future place in the world underlined by values and purposes. Russia’s political culture may also be seen as the country’s attributive characteristic that depends upon the existing political, social and economic system, and determines the political future, the rulers’ style of governance, the nature of objectives the society is offered, etc.

Krzysztof Zagorski: Political Affiliation, Civic Society and Support for Democracy
The chapter is based on a replication of the Civic Culture survey in Poland. The Polish survey was conducted in 2009 on a representative, stratified random sample of 1022 adult Poles. A shorter version of the Civic Culture questionnaire, as proposed by the conference and project coordinators, was used. Major complex (composite) dimensions of Polish political culture are defined and analyzed. The main research problem is how these particular elements of culture, in addition to individuals’ socio-demographic characteristics, influence pro-democratic attitudes as a crucial factor of the democratic consolidation. Particular attention is paid in this chapter to the interrelationships between social and political activities, ideological inclinations and political competence, as well as their impact on general attitudes toward democracy. The data on party support suggest that are three different ideological syndromes in Poland – liberal left, populist right and clientelism – that are related in different ways to other socio-political attitudes and to such defining elements of civic society as activism and participation, feeling of influence on politics and support for democracy.

Viola Varga Diósi: Luck of Social Trust – Some Notes about the Political Culture of Serbia-Vojvodina
The result of research indicates the necessity of renewal in content and human resources in the Serbian political scene.  It clearly shows that patriarchal relations rooted in the past can still be strongly detected in the political culture of Serbia-Vojvodina.  Reconciliation and the historical elaboration of events failed to come about, though these are those crucial debts of a new, reborn Serbia, which are to be redeemed. The people, who suffered several wars over the past few decades, can truly appreciate individual efforts for building peace. On the whole, research results indicate that Serbia is at the very beginning of true social changes, that is, there are many crucial tasks to accomplish in strengthening social trust, in re-gaining the respect of state authorities, political institutions and judiciary, and that it takes time to create civic collective awareness and accountability, to re-build trust in the freedom of the press and authentic information.

Arvydas Guogis and Audrius Bitinas: The Lithuanian Social Policy Model – On the Direction of Development and Guarantees of the Model
The article deals with the definition of direction of Lithuanian social policy model development by pointing out that former corporative-bismarckian Continental European type model in Lithuania is gradually shifting towards liberal-marginal direction of Anglo-Saxon type. Lithuania needs more social values and social justice implementation, but market fundamentalism undermines such aspirations. In the last part of the article the concrete measures for improving social security system are proposed like introducing in pension system risk and quality management, establishment of reserve fund, introducing in pension system economic-mathematical methods, but not political decisions, expanding electronic services, etc.

Andrei Panţu: The Extreme Right Discourse in Romania (2004-2008): the Use of Myths
Most studies on in Central and Eastern Europe follow a case-study approach or a comparative approach, and only few studies of the extreme right apply discourse analysis. The present study looks at three political actors of the extreme right (Vadim Tudor and the Greater Romania Party, George Becali and the Christian Democratic – New Generation Party, and the New Right) and concentrates on the myths that they have used in their discourses. By looking at these myths, the present study identifies the political message conveyed by the three extreme right actors to the electorate.

Csaba Varga: May One Come to Terms with the Past under the Rule of Law? A Case Study of Challenges and Constitutional Assessments in Hungary
A decade ago, the criteria were set at an international level according to which “a legacy of grave and systematic violations generates obligations that the state owes to the victims and to society. They are in fact distinct duties, each one of which must be complied with to the best of the government’s abilities (1) to investigate, prosecute, and punish the perpetrators – a right of the victim to see justice done; (2) to disclose to the victims, their families, and society all that can be reliably established about those events – a right to know the truth; (3) to offer the victims adequate reparations – an entitlement to compensation and also to nonmonetary forms of restitution; and (4) to separate known perpetrators from law enforcement bodies and other positions of authority – a right to new, reorganized, and accountable institutions.” Drawing a balance of implementation hitherto actualised, it can be ascertained that none of them has been fulfilled in Hungary during the two decades labelled as “change of regimes” but resulting rather in “a regime re-instated” instead. For, from that time on, neighbouring states in Central Europe have already edified from our inability by editing specific laws with the prospective effect that dictatorial annihilation of law shall never be recognised by the Rule of Law, for fear that self-legalisation of terrorism can end in its re-legitimation, and can also incite states in trouble to test it anew.

József N. Szabó: Switzerland and the Hungarian Culturdiplomacy /1945-1948/
The increasingly important position of Switzerland was recognized by Hungarian scientists as well as the new democratic government. The government therefore attrib­uted great significance to Switzerland when drawing up plans for breaking out of inter­national isolation and improving the image of the country abroad at the end of the war. Switzerland was one of the first countries that restored normal diplomatic relations with Hungary, as early as 21 December, 1945. Three of the very first Hungarian scholarship holders travelling abroad to study went to Switzerland. In order to eliminate international isolation, a new organization called the Associa­tion of the Friends of Publishing Hungarian Literature in Western Europe came into being. Members of the new association believed that it was necessary to join the ef­forts of those who toiled for implementing the interests of Hungary in Central Europe.

Márton Sulyok: The Cap on the Gap: Reflexive Governance vs. Democratic Deficit
As a forerunner to current efforts in governance research, the project ‘Reflexive Governance in the Public Interest’ (hereinafter: REFGOV) was initiated within the 6th European Framework Program.1 This article was conceived, in part, having studied the conclusions drawn by this project and aims to highlight important challenge facing fundamental rights protection policies in the EU member states that is relevant to newly emerging reflexive governance mechanisms applied in present solutions of conflict-resolution and administrative proceedings. In light of a possible common fundamental rights policy in the EU as a result of reflexive governance, the article will describe (i) the transformation of control societies into surveillance societies, (ii) the paradigm that asserts that distrust in government in surveillance societies is the force that formulates new methods of governance, and (iii) the importance, aims and prerequisites of reflexive governance in the ensuing changes.

Krisztina Kopasz: The New Hungary Development Plan and the Structulal Policy between 2007 and 2013
Hungary got a big opportunity to spend of EUR 22.4 billion between 2007 and 2013 from the development funds. It is a big opportunity for the country to realign itself with advanced countries. The New Hungary Development Plan the most important document that shows the use of funds from Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund of the European Union between 2007 and 2013.   The interventions are included in seven regional operational programmes consist seven territories of Hungary and eight territorial operational programmes. During the implementation of the New Hungary Development Plan there are lots of potential barriers such as the partnership, the self contribution, the big bureaucracy system, the lack of information, the economic crisis etc. In order to obtain the financial supports provided by the EU, it is important that the above mentioned problems are handled properly.

Budapest Analyses
Slovakia: State Language Law
Slovak-Hungarian relations have greatly deteriorated between neighboring Hungary and Slovakia, both member countries of NATO and the EU.  The source of the deepening tension has been the passage, on June 30, 2009, of additional restrictive amendments to the Meciar era Slovak State Law 270 of 1995. These restrictive amendments were passed even after the Hungarian minority in Slovakia and Hungary herself expressed their concerns.

Slovakia and Hungary: László Sólyom, the Hungarian Head of State becomes persona non grata in Slovakia

On 21 August 2009 the Slovak government declared the Hungarian head of state persona non grata and denied him entry to the territory of Slovakia. This step marked the height of renewed acrimony between Hungary and Slovakia since the passage of the amended Slovak State Language Law in June. Such level of tensions between two Schengen zone EU states is without precedent and grows beyond the framework of bilateral relations. With this decision the Fico government wanted to bring a resolute response to Hungarian manifestations of dissent concerning the language law and made it clear that backing away from its policy is not an option before parliamentary elections.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Constitutional reform
Declared unqualified for NATO and EU membership and even for visa liberalization and a facilitated entry into the Schengen zone, Bosnia and Herzegovina is going through a fateful period in the coming days and months. Despite Brussels and Washington both implying that if the state can not be made functional, its dreams for Euro-Atlantic integration will be buried for a long time to come, joint EU-US efforts to get the leaders of the three constituent peoples, Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats to agree on constitutional reform failed for the second time on October 20.