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SUHL: History Fair: Democracy under Pressure

30. April, 09:30 - 12:00 CEST

Panel discussion “Freedom Lost Again? Europe in the Fourth Decade after the Freedom Revolutions of 1989/90”

Guests: Prof. Dr. Irina Scherbakowa, Memorial Moscow, Markus Meckel, Chairman of the Council of the Federal Foundation for Reappraisal, Dr. Adamantios Theodor Skordos, Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe and Dr. Radka Denemarková.

More than three decades after the freedom revolutions in East-Central Europe and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the panel will discuss from a pan-European perspective how the various European countries have dealt with the state, social and individual freedoms they have won. The nation state, long suppressed under communism, played a major role in the attainment of freedom and independence. For the countries of Central Eastern Europe, the end of communism and the Cold War also marked the starting point for a “return to Europe”. Today, on the other hand, nationalism is used by some state leaders in a populist way to emphasise the freedom of supranational organisations such as the EU and to restrict the political and individual freedoms of their citizens. Europe’s liberal democracies, which continue to see freedom as their “brand core”, are increasingly coming into conflict with their neighbours to the east. How could it come about that 30 years after the “end of history” postulated by Francis Fukuyama, Europe today is once again “stretched to breaking point”, as Geert Maak writes?

The panel will also compare developments in the democracies of East Central and Eastern Europe with those of the more recent post-dictatorial societies west of the former Iron Curtain. Under what conditions was it possible for the newly won freedom to develop sustainably, and what conditions led and lead to new restrictions on the once fought-for rights to freedom? What role did and does nationalism play, and how is one’s own history of freedom seen and constructed?


30. April
09:30 - 12:00 CEST
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Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur
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