At the turn of Twenty-First Century, no one could have believed that by a decade later, the prime minister of Hungary would roughly declare his political and government system as an illiberal democracy. Chances for Democracy in Europe: The New Wave of Illiberalism in Post-Communist Countries explores the scenarios of building illiberal democracy as followed by Putin in Russia, then how it spread in the post-Communist Europe. It will be showing how a full-born illiberal democracy has unfolded in Hungary since 2010, during the last four Orbán governments, and the similarities it shares with the Russian illiberal state. If the Treaty of Maastricht, that laid down democratic principles of the European Union, has the sufficient political and legal tools to enforce them, when they are not respected by the member states. While the EU failed in this effort with Hungary, it seems to be successful of a sort in Poland and Slovenia. The author analyses why developed Western European countries with long traditions of democratic traditions and values, have been resistant to illiberalism, and remained strong liberal democracies, but what about the countries without long traditions of democratic values?
Mária Bordás is full professor at the Faculty of Public Governance and International Relations, at the University of Public Service, Ludovika, in Budapest, Hungary.
Chapter 1. Divergent Way of Democracy in Europe from the Ancient Times until the late 19th Century
Chapter 2. Challenges of Liberal Democracies in Europe in the 20th Century: Fascism and Communism
Chapter 3. Issues of Liberal Democracy after the World War II – Emergence of Populism
Chapter 4. Erosion of Communism since the mid-1980’s in Russia and Hungary
Chapter 5. Democratic Way or Illiberal Turn in the Post-Communist Europe Since 1990
Chapter 6. Emerging of Illiberal State in Russia: The Putin Regime Since 2000
Chapter 7. Fall of Liberal Democracy in Hungary – Replaced by a Full-Born Illiberal State
Bordás offers a book examining the evolution of illiberal democracy in post-communist Europe. Bordás analyzes divergent approaches to democracy in Europe from ancient to recent times. More specifically, she discusses the appearance of illiberal practices in post-communist social and political development during the last three decades. Special attention is paid to the emergence of illiberal political regimes in Russia under the presidency of Vladimir Putin since 2000 and in Hungary under the rule of Viktor Orbán since 2010. Bordás also uses other European countries for comparative purposes as illustrations. Necessary ingredients for building an illiberal regime are the lack of democratic traditions, the failure to establish a market economy, social exclusion, and the emergence of a charismatic leader and his own political clan capable of expropriating political power in the long term. Bordás demonstrates her arguments using historical analytical narratives. The book addresses readers with substantial knowledge of European history. It employs neither statistics nor extensively academic vocabulary. Recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty.
“Chances for Democracy in Europe: The New Wave of Illiberalism in Post-Communist Countries rightly argues that illiberalism necessarily emerges in post-Communist European countries without democratic tradions and political culture. Hence, the question remains are there indeed chances of democracy in Europe?”
"Chances for Democracy in Europe: The New Wave of Illiberalism in Post-Communist Countries by Mária Bordás is an exciting attempt to explain the concept of illiberal democracy and its manifestations in certain post-communist European countries. While exploring why a different interpretation of liberal democracy and the rule of law has evolved in Central and Eastern Europe, the author also points out the differences between Putin’s illiberal Russia and, especially, Hungary, focusing mostly on their perspectives. For Russia, the outcome of the war will obviously be the key factor in this, while in the case of illiberal Hungary, the interesting question is what influence the European Union can wield in the short term through its recent financial sanctions and diplomatic isolation."
“Professor Bordás takes the reader on a great journey, during which we can get to know Central and Eastern Europe and its history in detail. The book is a detailed political and historical map that reveals the connections between the processes taking place in the region. The rich data content and the readable style ensure the experience of reading and acquiring knowledge even for readers who are less familiar with the subject. The book Chances of Democracy in Europe: The New Wave of Illiberalism in the Post-Communist Countries is an outstanding example of the application of the comparative method.”