By Richard Sakwa
Drawing on a range of papers awarded to the 5th global Congress of important and East eu reports held in Warsaw in August 1995, the e-book provides a vast cross-section of considering postcommunist advancements in japanese Europe and the previous Soviet Union. experts from the zone and the West practice their distinct insights to problem a few traditional perspectives at the transition. The publication is either varied and targeted, suggesting that the adventure of democratisation is an open-ended method during which these concerned examine either from their very own event and from comparative transitions in different places. It presents a wealthy resource for the comparative research of democratisation.
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Additional info for The Experience of Democratization in Eastern Europe: Selected Papers from the Fifth World Congress of Central and East European Studies, Warsaw, 1995
The interesting questions were assumed to be connected to the solution of present problems, not to the explanation of past ones. However, placed in a proper historical framework, the phenomenon may have seemed less than unique. There were historical events comparable to the collapse of the Soviet Union as a world power and of Marxism-Leninism as a powerful ideology. One such phenomenon was the long decay and complete collapse of the Roman Empire. It is not accidental that in previous periods of social and political decay and of the shaking up of belief systems - and of the emergence of new intellectual and spiritual movements - interest in the fall of Rome has intensified.
Communism was a system much preoccupied with the problem of order, yet it was never really 'in order'. Communism could only have been installed as a consequence of a wholesale dissolution of order - all communist systems in Europe emerged around the end of a world war, in countries physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted by the preceding events. Communism only made such a situation of disorderliness into a permanent state. 13 Although the regularities of the regime eventually came to be taken for granted, it always remained absurd, unreal, where a situation of normality never existed.
It was round the power vacuum and turbulence associated with the collapse of Assyria that arguably the most important period of spiritual and intellectual development came about, the axial age. ll During the course of a century, focusing on the civilisational 'centre' of the world, the foundations of philosophy and of prophetic salvationist religions were laid down, with very few precedents. Experiences ofDemocratisation 19 This was the period of classical prophecy in Israel (Jeremiah, Deutero Isaiah and Ezekiel), the Pre-Socratics in Greece (Anaximander, Parmenides, Heraclitus), Buddha and Jainism in India, Lao-Tse and Confucius in China, that introduced the concepts of transcendence, personhood and critical thinking, and led to the emergence of a new social type, different from both the priests and the scribes, the intellectuals.