30 Years On From The Velvet Revolutions: time for a new liberation?

30 Years On From The Velvet Revolutions: time for a new liberation?

Monday, 25 November 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
The Sheikh Zayad theatre, New Academic Building, LSE, London
Professor Timothy Garton Ash
Professor Mary Kaldor
Professor George Lawson
Professor Michael Cox

In a new edition of his book The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Prague and Berlin, Timothy Garton Ash reflects on witnessing these events and explores the long term consequences of the revolutions and subsequent transitions since revisiting all these countries. What went right? More pressingly: What went wrong?

This discussion will bring together scholars in the field who will each bring their expertise on the revolutions of ’89, and their impact on today’s Europe. The peculiar character of populism in post-communist Europe will be explored, and also the considerable forces of resistance to it.

30 years ago, communist rule ended across central Europe in a dramatic series of events ranging from Solidarity's election triumph in Poland on June 4, 1989, through the ceremonial reburial of Imre Nagy in Budapest (with a fiery young student leader called Viktor Orbán demanding the withdrawal of all Soviet troops), to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia.

Today, Orbán is presiding over the systematic dismantling of democracy in Hungary, the Law and Justice Party in Poland is trying to follow his example, the prime minister of the Czech Republic is an oligarch and former secret police informer, while a xenophobic populist party, the AfD, is flourishing in the former East Germany.

To register for this event, please go to the LSE's event page.