||This volume is based on the premise that the political developments in the region can be analyzed on the basis of a common research agenda – that is, authoritarianism, the struggle for democracy, the legacies of communism, the resurgence of nationalism in the context of the post-communist new identity discourses. All authors emphasize the difficulties of moving beyond communism into democracy, while also keeping a distance from the mythologies of the pre-communist period. The contributors offer a “controlled comparison” that attempts to identify national political trajectories within the ambivalent context of both the modernization attempt and “wreckage of communism”.
The book deals mainly with post-communist period, but it is important for its evaluations of the political, cultural, economic, and personnel transfers from the period of state socialism. In this way, one can assess the pervasiveness of party-state systemic remnants within the new political environments. Moreover, this is also indicative of the capacity of ideological synthesis of communist regimes, which after 1989 were often dismissed as merely “suprastructural”, foreign, supra-imposed over profoundly democratic-willed societies. The dynamics and struggles of the post-1989 political establishments in Southeastern Europe revealed the difficulty of democratization in the context of the long-lasting legacies of communism.