THE CRISIS TODAY
György Schöpflin: The Crisis in Europe
What we are looking at is far more than an economic crisis and far more than a crisis of European integration, even if much of the analysis chooses to explore it from this perspective. All this points a much deeper level crisis, one that touches legitimacy, culture, ideals and aspirations. For most of Europe, the EU represented a successful and desirable way of organising the highly complex interdependence of the Continent – peace, prosperity, democracy, overcoming the disasters of the 20th century. In a word, integrated Europe had become a successful model of modernity, one to be emulated and to be idealised as the real-time embodiment of the successful polity and society. The idea of “unity in diversity” promised a stable equilibrium between the local and the universal (true, only a European universal). The argument and analysis in this examination of the crisis in Europe seem to add up to a far more complex set of problems than the run of the mill assessments that are current. Some of these factors when taken together, like the entirely contradictory economic and political imperatives, imply that no satisfactory solution to the crisis is on the agenda.
Vladimir Rukavishnikov: Youth and Revolution in Russia
The prediction of coming revolutionary changes in this nation is often seen of pages of the contemporary western newspapers. But are forecasters right or is it simply a part of a new ideological attack on Russia? It is clear that the answer depends on youth’s orientations to a large extent. That is why the paper deals with an issue of youth and new revolution in modern Russia. Youth violence acts occasionally are reported by media, the number of those actions is not great, and we cannot speak about the mass involvement of the Russian student youth into a criminal and nationalist activity. The paper discusses results of the recent study conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Data of this survey and personal observations of the author confirm the opinion about the absence of revolutionary stage in a contemporary Russia despite the involvement of a portion of youth in protest rallies occurred in winter 2012/13 in the capital and big cities under the slogan “For an honest elections!” This is an important outcome of the paper, which is not address the larger debates over whether the Russian civil society is mature or remains weak.
Tibor Dessewffy – Zsófia Nagy: Trapped in an Ultimatum – Changes in the forms of trust in Hungarian society
This article uses the existing literature to examine the simultaneous presence of trust in various dimensions: how trust appears in various segments; how do the various forms of the appearance of trust in today’s Hungary affect one another?; can we express a reading of trust that can move us out of the nadir of the trust crisis? Rooting itself in two histories, this article differentiates between personal, political and abstract aspects of trust and then uses a second set of viewpoints to consider the main traits of trust, namely knowledge, connections and culture. We examine the development of personal trust as the perpetuation of learned survival. When analyzing political trust we touch on the relationship between corruption and trust in power. Finally, our look at abstract trust is used to analyze the effect of late modernism on trust. To conclude we attempt to map out a reading of trust that can serve as a kind of response to the trust crisis outlined in the article.
Tamás, Fricz: Transition from Communism–Socialism to Democracy in Central Europe
This study analysing the post-communist transitions looking for answers to two questions: 1.How can the transitions be broken up to phases and in what way had (revolution, negotiation, war, etc.) transformation from dictatorship to democracy happened? 2.What specific features the Central and East European transitions show in comparison to other regions belonging to the third wave of democratisation? The basic democratic institutions were spectacularly introduced within an apparently very short period by which some researchers of the actor-approach were convinced that the ‘great work is accomplished’ and those democracies would soon be consolidated. The new elite have no less a task but to change customs, norms and procedures fixed by a historical era (forty years) among the elites as well as the citizens all linked to communism–socialism. But twenty years are not enough to it; in my view what is needed is that a generation born after the system change and involved in politics should get into political and other functions; hence 25 to 30 years from the system change are needed to the real and organic stabilization of democracy. If the political actors and parties decide about the destiny of institutions narrow-mindedly, only on the basis of their own political interests then there is the danger of building a set of institutions which is not relevant and acceptable for the totality of the political community, and for this reason their political opponents would strive to totally transform the set of institutions once they acquire power.
N. Szabó József – Császár Zoltán: The Effect of University and Academy Reform – Changes on the Hungarian Technical Academic Elite (1945-1946)
After the 2nd World War the Hungarian system of higher education needed reforms through which the collegiate and academic system would meet the requirements of the democratic transition and the modern education of international standards. Restructuring the Hungarian higher educational system would have meant improving and expanding the frames of scientific, technical, agricultural and economic education. Therefore the reform of higher education was an important part of the democratic transition in the minds of the political forces responsible for the modernization of the country. They wished to implement their ideas of modernization and transformation referring to ideological values, political perspectives and professional requirements. Since the Hungarian technical education and engineer training were two of the fields with the highest standards in higher education at the time, significant reforms were not necessary. Even so there was a debate concerning the direction of engineer training. The opinions can be divided into two main concepts. One view stated that the society of engineers should be as populous as possible and the scope of authority of technical experts should be made as wide as possible. They believed that this could be achieved by creating a strongly practical collegiate system divided into special operational fields. The other view was that routine jobs of technical life with medium and high standards should not necessarily be given to engineers.
Olena Oliynyk: Ukrainian-Polish Mutual Influences in Interwar Volhynian Architecture
Polish restorers, architects and historians have played an enormous role in the renewal and preservation of Volhynia’s historical heritage, both Polish and not Polish. Deeply concerned over the condition of neglected Orthodox churches, many of them defied the official cultural policy of the time, rescuing the churches and their ornaments and utensils from ruin and destruction. It should be noted, however, that the pure and simple Constructivist architecture, residential housing in particular, is suffering irreparable losses today. This is true of both Volhynia and almost every post-Soviet city where Constructivism can still be seen at its best: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Moscow, and Yekaterinburg. Preserving the architectural heritage of the 1920s-1940s is a topical issue for the historians and custodians of material culture in Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Russia.
Peter Bischof: Regime Change and Elite Change in Central Europe since 1989
The trigger of my experiment is the quest to find answers to the question as to what extent the available elite theories correspond to the real Hungarian XX. centruy political regime change and to the closely related elite replacement processes. Is one of the elite theory hypotheses recognizable in the post-communist political regime change after all? Can we regard as elite such a governing political class that did not gain power in democratic elections? In the sense as Bíbó states, certainly not, due to the lack of minimum moral requirements as a precondition of the elite. Yet rationally, for example, considering decision-making positions which should be mandatory for the whole society, actually, there is some overlap between Western (or American) and Eastern Europe. This is due to the fact that the path towards the common objective, that is, gaining and retaining power depends partly on the same circumstances. Hereby I mean primarily the personal skills and positional-structural definitions. In other words, the personal qualities and the institutional positions might have helped anyone to get into the elite in both systems.