After the fall of the Berlin Wall, many of the former Soviet Bloc countries sought to attain democratic governance. Their success today is affirmed by the ascension of much of Eastern Europe into NATO and the EU. However, according to Freedom House, newer EU members are experiencing democratic backsliding, a reminder that representative government and a strong civil society requires careful stewardship. What can the Eastern European experience teach us about the prospects for democracy in the aftermath of revolutions and reform movements occurring in places like Egypt or Burma?
Washington Post foreign affairs columnist Anne Applebaum draws on lessons from her new book, Iron Curtain, to revisit paths to democratization, discuss the latest economic and political trends in the former Eastern Bloc, and offer perspectives on the present governance challenges in Europe and beyond. Her latest book is Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956.