Same Question, Different Times
by MARTIN EHL
A few years ago, I wrote a book titled “The Third Decade. On Life, Politics and People between Brussels and Gazpom,” which was published in Czech in 2010.
The idea was simple: following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the people of Central Europe, for the first time in modern history, had experienced more than 20 years of development, uninterrupted by war, invasion or regime change. It was only up to us how we would lead our lives, and organize our politics and societies.
Now, more than a quarter century later, it might be time to assess where we are heading and whether we have learned our lessons from history.
In my book, I wrote about the fragility of coalition governments and theorized with some clever people whether it would be better to have a one-party government with full responsibility and accountability.
Then Hungarian, Slovakian and now Polish one-party governments came along.
It became obvious that we have somehow underestimated the lack of political culture, the weakness of democratic spirit and civic society, in dealing with authoritarian tendencies that are historically present in our region.
I also wrote about the dependency on Russian energy and about the Russian minorities in Baltic countries and attempts by Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians to move their countries as far as possible out of the sphere of the Kremlin's influence.
This part of the book should be revised also, but in positive way.