“Europe Since 1989 – A History” by Philipp Ther | fnst.org

“Europe Since 1989 – A History” by Philipp Ther

15.09.16, Kyiv | Book launch of Ukrainian edition
Book Launch of Ukrainian Edition of “Europe since 1989 – a history” by Philipp Ther in Kyiv

Book Launch of Ukrainian Edition of “Europe since 1989 – a history” by Philipp Ther in Kyiv

In presence of the author, historian Philipp Ther, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom launched the Ukrainian edition of „Europe since 1989 – a history“.

Why this book?

Because it describes a wealth of experience with socio-economic transformation in Eastern Europe and then what the author calls “co-transformation” in some parts of the “old” Europe.

At the core of the transformations in post-communist Eastern Europe was the major expectation of 1989 of a dual transition from a planned to a market economy, and from dictatorship to democracy, together with the anticipation of new, universal wealth as the logical outcome.

Neither has proven completely true. And disillusionment has been a breeding ground for authoritarian and populist politicians. Hungary and Poland are two examples; the United Kingdom with Brexit is another one, as is the rise of the political party “Alternative for Germany” above all but not only in the eastern Länder.

Arguing about ideas and over the assessment of freedom as constitutive element of society

As clear, factual information is vital to public debate, we believe that at a point in time where Ukraine is finally embarking on structural reforms the book is well-suited to stimulate debate on where to target reforms.

Abundant in facts and enriched by the author’s approach of “participating historical observation”, it provides an opportunity to consider and debate specific transformation experiences and progress being made in the area of major reforms country by country and case by case.

As a Foundation for liberal politics we encourage education and believe in the value of social discourse. With the Ukrainian edition of Ther’s “History” we hope to offer support for a fact-based dialogue of responsible and knowledgeable citizens who do form their own opinions and maintain their relevance in the public debate – and do not fall for populism.

We also wish to encourage debate about how to understand freedom – reduced to the economic sphere and free markets, or in a broader sense that underlies classical liberalism?

Olena Betlii (Kyiv-Mohyla Academy) captured the essence of the panel discussion with Serhij Stelmakh (Taras Shevchenko University) and Philipp Ther (Vienna University), moderated by Georgi Kasnianov (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), in a nutshell: “What makes Ukraine different today is that we have to reform ourselves for our own sake.”

Philipp Ther, however, also recalled the remark of Leszek Balcerowicz: “I didn’t care about the EU at the time.”

We thank the Ukrainian publishing house Laurus Press and Goethe Institut for their work, support and co-financing!