The present from the past

Vladimir Rukavishnikov: Russia again voted for Putin
The fortune of Putin’s Russia is traced with an attempt to understand how much the legacy of the recent past has permanently altered Russia. However, the paper is not intended as an exhaustive treatise on history, or a complete discourse of causes of trends. It examines primarily the author vision of the contemporary situation in Russia. The essay is divided into three basic sections which are linked to each other, plus the introduction and concluding remarks.  Results of the national (November 2011) elections and the March 2012 presidential election are considered in the first section, because the aforementioned elections impacted the world as a whole.  Coming into power on the shoulders of Boris Yeltsin, the first Russian president, in late 1999, Mr. Putin set himself the task of restoring the Russian state or of raising Russia to the lofty position in world affair he believed it deserted. Thus is why in this chapter the political history and future of Putin’s Russia is set against the background of struggling with social and economic modernization. It seems to us the tough period of transition in economy is over.

György Schöpflin: How to understand Hungary? – or Is the EU an internal actor in relation to a member state or an external one?
How well grounded are the charges against Hungary, because if they are weak, then what we are seeing comes close to a simple political declaration of guilt, in which Hungary’s voice is all but inaudible. Is the EU an internal actor in relation to a member state or an external one? Where is the boundary line between the two? Can the EU act by majority, without broad consent? What the left says and how it communicates unquestionably have a better fit with the prior assumptions of most Western journalists, who are inherently suspicious of power and especially of centre-right governments. In assessing the relationship between Hungary and the EU it is vital to separate out the political and legal dimensions of the story. The legal issues are clear and finite, and are thus open to negotiation and resolution. The political ones are vague and unclear as to what the Hungarian government should do. Matters are exacerbated by habit of the critics of Hungary switching between the two. Hungary is being used instrumentally, to deflect attention from shortcomings elsewhere, in the West European member states, which appear to be exporting their guilt eastwards. If this last is accurate, then the role allotted to Hungary is all but accidental.

Csaba Varga: Cultivating Scholarship under Communism (A Case Study on Marxism and Law)
The case-study overviews personal reminiscences in summation of what and in which way influenced, limited and, in fact, hindered self-reflection and its scholarly cultivation under Communism. It also outlines the lee-ways following which description, theorisation, and philosophical synthesis of all the elements of the former could be undertaken all the above notwithstanding. On the field of law and of its theoretical investigation, and in an apparently paradoxical manner, just the philosophical and macro-sociological approach to law as experienced with all its deformations (denaturation and degeneration) there and then could lead to a genuinely universal scientific formulation—deeper and broader as compared to the one calibrated to average “normal” manifestations exclusively, as usual in the western civilisation—and just thanks to the reconsideration of Marxism, by taking its latent ontological potential seriously. Or, the case-study concludes in the realisation that the relationship between a political regime and the state of the Humanities as an aggregate of various kinds of self-reflection in it is rather complex indeed. The ways in which ideas are generated is both conditioned by the former and self-conditioning. The variety of feasible responses to hic et nunc challenges is almost limitless, so there is high place for personal features, partly in function of purely intellectual capacity and partly drawing from moral virtues, to prevail in working out those paths and frameworks, as well as channels and methodologies, in and within the womb of which such responses are formulated. Moreover, limiting conditions offer a chance for a live experience of life situations which are seldom experienced in actual human practice, and also of testing human stands, quite as if a testile strength test were to take in some laboratory. Accordingly, in the final analysis individual achievements are comparable among others with no special regard to the underlying political regime even if, en masse, an unfavourable environment may forecast mediocre output as an average.

József N. Szabó: The Maintenance of Change of the Activities of non-governmental Associations Cultivating the Relationships with the Neighbouring Countries (fall 1946-1948)
Before the world was divided into two halves, and as long as there was democracy in Hungary to ensure the freedom of civilian organizations, and cooperation was not replaced with confrontation, educational and cultural associations were able to play an important role in promoting Hungary’s cultural connections with other countries. Under the circumstances of the Cold War any association was only able to act in full accordance with official political intentions. The associations cooperating with the Soviet Union and the new “people’s democracies” were no longer democratic organizations created as a result of spontaneous civilian initiatives – they were the extended arms of the communist government.