Thirty years of the post-Soviet Europe

Major historical events that happened 30 years ago in 1989 to a large extent determined the way Europe looks today. It was the year when Mikhail Gorbachev started his political reform. Our new project will help to understand how that turned out and what lessons should be learnt for the future

European Dialogue Expert Group, International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (the Gorbachev Foundation) with the support of the European Union Delegation in Russia, Friedrich Ebert and Heinrich Boell Stiftungs organize a new project about thirty years of the post-Soviet Europe.

The upcoming years will bring several anniversaries of major historical events which took place in Central Europe and former USSR in the end of XX century and to a great extent set the boundaries, shaped political regimes and state governance institutions, set the key to social structure and economic development in present-day Europe and in the post-Soviet domain.

In 2019 we celebrate the 30th anniversary since the Soviet bloc fell apart, a change that has shaped modern Europe. Political transformation of the Soviet Union started in 1989 opening a
way for the first alternative elections in the Soviet Union. The year of 2020 is the 30th anniversary of the former USSR republics holding alternative elections and adopting declarations of sovereignty. These events have laid the foundation of their independence, set the key to their policies and shaped their political regimes. They have also predetermined a number of nationalistic or territorial disputes on eastern borders of Europe and many of these conflicts remain unresolved. 2021 is the 30th anniversary of the USSR demise. We focus on two aspects of this process: one is peaceful dismantling of the empire and another is a crushing economic, political, and social care burden that was left after it with Russo-Ukrainian crisis early in 2010 being an excellent reminder of this burden. In 2022, there will be 30 years after the start of economic reforms in Russia and other former USSR republics that were devised to put these nations on the market economy tracks.

What do these events look like today, 30 years after they took place? What lessons do we learn from both these events and 30 years of post-Communist development? The project is focused on reimagining the success and failures associated with transition to the post-Communist society in the context of unresolved problems of modernization. We plan to hold several international expert sessions, which will pave the way to four social science conferences devoted to the afore-mentioned anniversaries and publish joint monographs following these conferences.

Program directors: Kirill Rogov, Evgeny Gontmakher, Nikolay Petrov.


Photo: Prague, Czechoslovakia, November 1989. (David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images). Source