After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the newly gained dominance of liberal democracy as a political regime was accompanied by a new dominance of liberal democracy as a descriptive language. Concepts of political science, sociology, and economics which had been developed for the analysis of Western-type polities were applied to the various phenomena in the newly liberated countries. Bálint Magyar and Bálint Madlovics from Central European University (CEU DI) argue that the language of liberal democracies blurs the understanding of the current state of post-communism as it leads to conceptual stretching and brings in a host of hidden presumptions.
Magyar and Madlovics present at Stanford their most recent book, The Anatomy of Post-Communist Regimes (CEU Press, 2020). It is a comprehensive attempt to break with the traditional analysis, proposing a systematic renewal of our descriptive vocabulary. The authors have created categories as well as a whole new grammar for the region’s political, economic, and social phenomena. Focusing on Central Europe, the post-Soviet countries, and China, their study provides concepts and theories to analyze the actors, institutions, and dynamics of post-communist democracies, autocracies, and dictatorships.
Bálint Magyar is a Research Fellow at CEU Democracy Institute (since 2020), holding University Doctoral degree in Political Economy (1980) from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. He has published and edited numerous books on post-communist mafia states since 2013. He was an Open Society Fellow for carrying out comparative studies in this field (2015-2016), Hans Speier Visiting Professor at New School (2017), Senior Fellow at CEU Institute for Advanced Study (2018-2019), and Research Fellow at Financial Research Institute (2010-2020). Formerly, he was an activist of the Hungarian anti-communist dissident movement, founder of the liberal party of Hungary (SZDSZ, 1988), Member of Hungarian Parliament (1990-2010), and Minister of Education (1996-1998, 2002-2006).