• Date: November 11, 2019
  • Place: Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Participation: The discussion event was attended by 30 people, from Hungary (1), United Kingdom (2), Poland (3), Lithuania.

Event program:

  • Reconceptualizing 1989: divided memories and political implications (By Prof. James Mark and Tobias Rupprecht, the University of Exeter, UK, co-authors of the book “1989: A Global History of Eastern Europe” (Cambridge University Press, 2019))
  • 1989 as the promise of the future: was it realized? (By Adam Reichardt, the Editor-in-Chief of New Eastern Europe)
  • Central Europe Spring 2.0 - civil society beyond 2019 (By Wojciech Przybylski, Editor-in-chief, Visegrad Insight; Chairman, Res Publica)

The discussion was moderated by Simona Merkinaitė, Rethinking Europe progamme expert with the Open Lithuania Foundation.

The event was aimed at reconceptualizing 1989 and focused on the meaning of it for today. The discussion asked if the promises of the 1989 were realized, do we need to rebound ourselves by this promise?  And how to stand up for the ideas and memory of 1989 in new, 21st century Europe? 

With the fall of the Berlin wall the history did not end. 1989 is often understood as the ultimate victory of democracy against totalitarianism. However, for the people of post-soviet countries it meant extreme novelty and radical change of their life. The understanding that new ways of conduct are necessary not only on the political level but also in everyday life was rather challenging.

Western countries faced similar dilemma of the change world as with the fall of the Iron curtain and opened borders the Western world and Western Europe could no longer describe itself as the antagonism to USSR. The opposition of Free man in the Free world versus enslaved man in the Empire of Evil was no longer possible. It indicates that Europe needed to find the new definition.

According to the co-authors of the book "1989: The Global History of Eastern Europe" this in a way shifts the points of emphasis - from the dominant narrative that the year of 1989 became the beginning of Eastern integration with the West, the realization of the need for a revolution against tyranny in the East became the beginning of a new, common stage in European history. This should help us to accept 1989 for ourselves as a page in our European history, rather than maintaining a starting point for the integration of the backward East into the progressive West.

The memory of 1989 points out that the history requires more open dialogue reviewing our own superstitions and constructs that have acquired the power of habit about history and its meanings. The tensions between the truth and the perception of our prejudices seem to be a new challenge, but it is or what can boost the latest European self-perceptions.

More about the event: 

1989: the starting point for a united European history? (Article in Lithuanian)

Professor of History: The fall of the Berlin Wall became a mirror to the West of their own beauty (Article in Lithuanian)

The struggle over 1989. The rise and contestation of eastern European populism

Globalisation for Eastern Europe did not start in 1989 - interview


  • Date: November 11, 2019
  • Place: Vilnius, Lithuania
  • The meeting has involved 11 participants - representatives of partner organizations from Poland (3), Hungary (1), Lithuania (7).

The kick off meeting was about the brainstorming on the legacy of democratic revolutions. The meeting was aimed at detailed planning of the project activities and alloting it to the partners as well as aligning thematic priorities, objectives and products. Also, there were talked over the timeline and possible ways of dissemination of project results.

During the meeting all the partners shared their knowledge and insights about the events related to commemoration of democratic revolutions in their countries. This was of crucial importance in order to find a common ground for evaluation of varied process of democratic transition and its success across the focus countries.  

Some moments from the preparatory meeting