Civil Society and Sustainable Change in Central and Eastern Europe - Political and Сultural Сhallenges
Dr Jakub Forst-BattagliaAustrian Cultural Forum
April 29, 2015
Center for Urban History, Lviv
Describing the long way from Communist dictatorship to multi-party democracy in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and East Germany, mentioning the Baltic States and ending with the Maidan Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, the Austrian diplomat and historian Jakub Forst-Battaglia explains how the old regime came to power after World War II and how it was dismantled four decades later between 1989 and 1991. Among other factors, the role of civil society to bring about change starting from it failed attempts in the fifties and sixties to organized movements in the seventies and eighties initiated by intellectual dissidents like Charta 77 or free trade unions like Solidarnosc with some outstanding figures as Vaclav Havel or Lech Walesa and spiritual authorities such as Pope John Paul II contributed to a development that was made possible by changes in the Soviet Party leadership around Mikhail Gorbachev , his glasnost and perestroika.
The lecturer looked back to a life-long experience with most of the countries involved as an eye-witness and an expert.
The lecture was held in English with simultaneous translation.