Rise and Resilience of Populism in Eastern Europe

Over the past decade, a number of European populist parties have become increasingly competitive in key votes, and in Eastern Europe, these parties have not only come to power but also remained in office in consecutive elections. In this interview series, we will interrogate some of the main drivers and impacts of populist mobilization in Eastern Europe.

The series is hosted by Dr. Tsveta Petrova and the European Institute at Columbia. It is made possible with the support of the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union. The views expressed in this series are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Institute or the EU Commission.

The podcast is available on SoundCloud and Spotify.

Eastern European Populism: a Look from the Supply-Side

Dr. Maria Snegovaya discusses how the evolution of the post-communist party systems facilitated the rise of nationalist populism. She argues that the centrist shift of the ex-Communist left parties along the economic policy dimension (and their implementation of austerity reforms, which led to growing disenchantment with neoliberalism) made the left’s traditional blue-collar constituencies receptive to the redistributive appeals of populist right parties.

Speaker: Dr. ​​Maria Snegovaya (PhD, Columbia University), Postdoctoral Fellow at the Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Virginia Tech; Visiting Scholar at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University; Non-Resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

The Civic Embeddedness of Hungary’s Fidesz Movement


Professor Béla Greskovits discusses how the Fidesz party accumulated ample social capital and translated it into political capital and electoral success in 2010. The Civic Circles Movement, founded by Fidesz’ leader Viktor Orban after the lost election of 2002, has been militant in terms of its hegemonic aspirations and collective practices and massive in terms of its membership and activism. It offered new frames and practice for Hungarians to feel, think, and act as members of an imagined communities centered on the Nation, Christianity, and anti-liberalism.

Speaker: Dr. Béla Greskovits is a University Professor at the Department of International Relations and Department of Political Science of Central European University, Vienna and Budapest.