Understanding the challenge of transition

Daniela Irrera: The evolution of Albania through EU Pressure and Local Conditions
This article is focused on this case study because, despite the challenges on the domestic front, as a participant in the EU Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) – the Agreement has been officially signed on 28 April 2009, after long and arduous consultations – the country is under pressure to produce significant results, in many fields, but especially  in anti-corruption measures.  In countries like Albania, unless one succeeds in completely transforming the current political class, efforts to change are futile. The continued external pressure made by the EU on the corruption practices has produced some results.  The resistance still shown by institutional veto players, however, continues to significantly reduce the wideness of this pressure, especially as far as norm internalization is concerned. Moreover, the communist legacy is still strongly felt among them. Much has been accomplished: the general performance of the economy of Albania has remained quite satisfactory; political and commercial links with all its neighbours have been strengthened and the country’s image is under revision, providing a key factor in regional stability. It could be useful, therefore, to involve, at first, the healthy part of the civil society, which simply suffers corruption, and to support NGOs, students associations, trade unions, etc., assuring them the necessary protection, and educating them to trust in intervention. In other words, it might prove beneficial to initiate change from the ‘grass-roots’ where a ‘bottom-up’ attitude could instigate cultural change by working from the lowest (disenfranchised) to the highest level of society.

Arolda Elbasani and Artur Lipinski: Politics and the Moderating Role of Public Debates in the Pursuit of Transitional Justice after Communism
Transitional Justice has turned into a central issue for the new democracies merging out of decades of communism. Accumulated evidence two decades after the fall of communist regimes shows a great diversity in terms of models and practices followed in different countries. What explains the variety of models, practices and results of coping with the past in the new democracies in the East? This paper analyses the factors that impinge upon the success of transitional justice comparing two most different cases, Albania and Poland. The analysis, much like most previous research, stresses the role of politics when explaining the difficult and complicated realization of transitional justice in both countries. Yet, evidence from the cases shows that the existence of a plural, sophisticated and open public debate in Poland proved to shield transitory justice from heavy politicization, a phenomenon very obvious in the case of Albania, where the process was from the start elite driven, exclusive and secretive.

Vladimir Rukavishnikov: Reminding the year of 1993 and rethinking the Russian transit in retrospect
Attending various academic conferences abroad since end of 1980s, the author has been always surprised to find that the old-fashioned and prejudices’ perceptions of the Russian domestic and foreign policy, surrounded by a high fence of Russo-phobia, and protected by an armed guard-post of mistrust, are still alive. Yet it is understandable that what seemed self-evident for the author often appeared to be an impossible version of explanation for some of his western colleagues. The essay deals with the lessons of the uncompleted Russian transition to democracy and a free market with a special focus on occurrences of the year of 1993 marked by the bloody confrontation between the president and the parliament. The then public opinion and the development of political society in early post-communist Russia are discussed.

Csaba Varga: Legal Scholarship Facing the New Millennium (For Understanding the Challenge of Transition to Rule of Law)
Scholarship has already warned us to soundness in relation to modernizations legal reforms. For it consistently (1) emphasized the framework-creating nature of the otherwise prevailing social normativity, and its primordial role in determining social processes, (2) put the possibility and demand of organicity with every step in the limelight, (3) did not consider the effectiveness of initiating elitist actions to influence overall social movements planneable for the long run and with lasting effects. Therefore, it regarded any regulatory legal intervention as the primarily symbolic confirmation with sanctioning of the direction otherwise ongoing movements were taking, (4) warned to the damages caused by any adventurer policy in as much as they not only fail, but discredit even the thought of change itself. Therefore, it (5) gave voice to the advantage of a systematically planned, consistent, convincing, pragmatic, and all-comprehensive social programme, as opposed to the occasional temptations of world curing intentions, exposed to the alternate danger of sudden forwarding and quick tiring, supported solely by intellectual arguments.

Tamás Fricz:  The Essence of Attacks against Hungary in European Parliament
The author is convinced that the motivation provoking anger in this case is not the Act on the media, or anxiety for democracy, but rather Hungary’s “own way” in politics, by which the Orbán-government attempts to preserve the country’s sovereignty and the possibilities of its autonomous action, together with consistently protecting national interests and those of the people living here. As a result, the EU and the leading financial and economic powers, together with the international media and the press totally in their service felt that the time had come to clearly point out who was the master of the show. The conditions described above determine our opportunities and chances and the ways we can choose with the solidity of reinforced concrete. Yet, Hungary is an actor of an enormous experiment, and not for the first time in history: once again we wish to preserve our sovereignty, and autonomous sphere of mobility. There have been unforeseen changes in history, and every new process has to start once somewhere.

Gréta Czene: The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
The book is Obama’s second book, in which the reader explores the personal thoughts of America’s problems and the tasks ahead. In my essay, I analyze the context of Obama’s book the period since the presidential election of the President’s policy and its implications for the United States, and examine the promises of redemption.