The collapse of the Soviet Union put an end to the bipolar political world. Some anticipated the “end of history” and the triumph of the liberal democratic order. Others, hoped that the collapse will put an end to appeal of 20th century ideologies and ideological politics. The history of 1989 also suggests a strong anti-ideological nature of resistance movements across the Central and Eastern Europe. Yet, we are witnessing the emergence of populist movements with democratic rule and practices facing numerous challenges from the democratically elected governments.


April 26 

A place for ideology in post-1989 world?

A dialogue between Jeffrey Goldfarb and Nadia Urbinati
4.00 PM CET / 10.00 AM ET

The dialogue focused on various questions, such as: Is 1989 the point of the beginning of post-truth populism? How the role of ideologies transformed in the past 30 years: from marketplace of ideas towards subversion of the democratic rule? What does it mean to think and act politically beyond ideological divide? National-populism as backlash against technocratic politics and what covid-19 epidemic revealed about the belief versus evidence-based politics?

Jeffrey Goldfarb, the Michael E. Gellert Professor of Sociology at The New School for Social Research 
Nadia Urbinati, Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory.
Moderator: Simona Merkinaite, OLF, Institute of International Relations and Political Science/Vilnius University.

April 27

A conversation with young people: the legacy of 1989 and political activism today

A round table of post-1989 generation co-hosted by European Humanities University

3.00 PM CET / 09.00 AM ET

What is the legacy of 1989 in the eyes of the young generation? How do students, who are studying Humanities and Social Sciences perceive the nature of the societal change that has occurred after 1989 and how do students perceive the threat which democracy faces today?
This roundtable brings together a cohort of students, born after the year 2000 and studying in a range of liberal arts Universities located in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. 

Students from Bard College Berlin (Germany), Central European University (Austria/Hungary), American University in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan), European Humanities University (Lithuania/Belarus) and Smolny College (Russia) will share perspectives on the legacy of 1989 and the transforming nature of political action, as perceived today.

Moderator: Maksimas Milta, Head of the Communication and Development Unit, European Humanities University

April 28

Transition memory

Challenges of teaching transition at school

4.00 PM CET / 10.00 AM ET

This discussion is inspired by the preliminary results of the project "Transition Dialogue 2019-2021. Dealing with change in democratic ways". It aims to explore various perspectives of the transition memory and reflect on the difficulties of teaching transition at school. The participants will discuss the most common challenges of teaching about the transition period and the importance of the teacher's role in it.

Donatas Puslys, journalist, head of Media programme at Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis (Lithuania)
Juozas Malickas, teacher at the North Lyceum (Lithuania)
Louisa Slavkova, director of the Sofia Platform Foundation (Bulgaria)

Moderator: Vaidotas Steponavičius, teacher at Vilnius International School (Lithuania)

Media and civil society renewal in CEE

A discussion on democratic challenges faced by media and civil society co-hosted by Visegrad Insight

6.00 PM CET / 12.00 PM ET

The discussion will be dedicated to the CEE media and civil society response to the democratic backsliding threats. In particular, it will touch upon the potential of media projects restarting in the digital age, a new generation of civil society actors, as well as reflect on the role of memory in shaping the future of civil society. Our session will also relate to two Visegrad Insight reports: "Rethinking the Democratic Future" and "Information Sovereignty. Scenarios for Central Europe".


Thomas J. Kent, Adjunct Associate Professor, The Harriman Institute at Columbia University, former RFE/RL President and CEO
Hanna Liubakova, Fellow at the Atlantic Council
Ágnes Urbán, Associate Professor and Chair of the Infocommunications Department at the Corvinus University of Budapest (TBC)
Moderator: Wojciech Przybylski, Editor-in-Chief of Visegrad Insight

30 years on…The legacy of the post-Soviet transformation and the future of democracy

Perspectives on transition from the wider Europe co-hosted by New Eastern Europe

6.00 PM CET / 12.00 PM ET

The panel aims to critically assess the changes that have taken place in Eastern Europe since the fall of the Soviet Union. The panelists will take a look at developments in their countries since independence and discuss what lies ahead in democratic developments for the next generation. The panel will feature an overview of the transformation period and then discuss specific case studies, with a focus on the future.

Overview of post-Soviet transformation: Kate Graney, Professor and author Skidmore University.
On Ukraine - Olga Onuch, University of Manchester
On Georgia - Bakar Berekashvili, Political scientist
On Moldova - Denis Cenusa, Political scientist
Moderator: Adam Reichardt, editor-in-chief of New Eastern Europe

Participation: throughout all three conference days 212 people from 36 different countries have joined the events: Albania (1), Austria (2), Belgium (5), Bulgaria (5), Cyprus (1), Croatia (1), Czech Republic (8), Estonia (2), France (6), Germany (12), Hungary (11), Kosovo (1), Lithuania (37), Latvia (1), North Macedonia (1), Netherlands (7), Poland (40), Portugal (1), Romania (6), Slovakia (6), Slovenia (1), Sweden (1), United Kingdom (9) and other countries (47).