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The collapse of the communist regime at the end of the twentieth century resulted in a wave of democratization in Central and Eastern Europe. While trying to establish democracy, many states in this region had to demonstrate their ability to protect human rights and to deal with the past of the repressive regime. As these states decided to join various human rights instruments they also became subject to certain obligations towards their people. One of these obligations is the requirement to provide remedies in case of human rights abuses, and the right to know the truth is recognized as part of it. Therefore the goal of this article is to identify the abilities of the victim of the communist regime to access the files of former secret services in post-communist countries in the light of the right to know the truth. The answer is provided using an analysis of international documents, historic, comparative and systemic methods, providing and evaluating the practice of different states dealing with the files of former secret services or government files of the repressive past and academic literature.
Ewa Cieślik, Jadwiga Biegańska and Stefania Środa-Murawska
This paper seeks to analyse directions in foreign trade in the post-communist countries of Europe over the years 2000-2012 in the context of changes observed in other EU states. It was assumed that changes in the directions of foreign trade in post-communist states would be similar to those noted in Western Europe. On the basis of data derived from the OECD, EUROSTAT and OECD-WTO we show that the trading rules used by the old EU-15 adopted by those countries have brought them measurable benefits. As a result, the post-communist economies have become similar to those of the EU-15. Considering the structure of their trade and links with the EU-15, it is apparent that they have become the main trading and investment partners for the European Union. Hence, their integration with the EU structures made their development faster, but also made them more sensitive to industrial and demand shocks coming from the eurozone. It is predicted that the present model is not going to change, especially in the context of the participation in production networks.
Krystyna Szafraniec, Paweł Szymborski and Krzysztof Wasielewski
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Lieskovský, J., Bezák, P., Špulerová, J., Lieskovský, T., Koleda, P., Dobrovodská, M., ... & Gimmi, U. 2015: The abandonment of traditional agricultural landscape in Slovakia-Analysis of extent and driving forces. Journal of Rural Studies 37: 75-84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j
The aim of this paper is to present the results of research on the variation in the standard of living and quality of life of the inhabitants of Central and Eastern European and the Balkan countries previously belonging to the Soviet sphere of influence. Nineteen post-communist countries were selected for this research, including: seven from the group of post-socialist countries, seven post-Soviet countries, and five from former Yugoslavia. The research procedure adopted involved static (comparative analysis of life quality indexes - Quality of Life Index (QLI) and Human Development Index (HDI) and dynamic (assessment of standard of living based on synthetic taxonomic measures for the years 2007 and 2012) data analysis. The findings indicate a significant variation in the living standards among the inhabitants of post-communist countries. Depending on the scope and accuracy of the quality life measures used, the countries’ ranking positions show a slight variation, though in all cases similar trends are noticeable. The countries of former Czechoslovakia (the Czech and the Slovak Republics) show the highest standard of living. Other countries belonging to the EU also ranked relatively high. Such Balkan states as Albania, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina ranked poorly. The results of multidimensional analysis confirmed these findings and, moreover, allowed for the determination of the trends in living conditions in particular countries. In 2007 a higher-than-average standard of living was identified in nine countries, whereas in 2012 this was the case for 10 countries. As compared to 2007, GDP growth was observed in 16 countries, as well as improvements in health care (increases in health care outlays) and increases in the number of Internet users. However, some phenomena may be disturbing - the rise in unemployment (16 countries), decline in population growth (9 countries) and growing inflation (7 countries).
To recapitulate, the standard of living enjoyed by the population of postcommunist countries is gradually improving, though the pace of changes and trends vary across those countries. What’s more, the results show that with the exception of those countries which are EU members, belonging to specific groups of post-communist countries (post-socialist, post-Soviet and former Yugoslavia) does not affect significantly their populations’ standard of living and quality of life.
This article aims at offering a framework for analysing party patronage and state politicisation based on game-theoretic reasoning. It is argued that in order to reveal the main causal mechanisms behind these phenomena, one can focus on the cooperation between political parties analysis based on the model of prisoner’s dilemma. The article identifies four sets of obstacles to party cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe: unstable and polarised party systems; “the rules of the game” legitimising party patronage; dense party networks and their building through patronage; and insufficient regulation and weak enforcement of the merit principle in state administrations. The influence of these causal mechanisms in the post-communist countries can be explored through historical process-tracing and other methods. Finally, the article proposes several country-specific hypotheses for the empirical study of party patronage and state politicisation in Lithuania
Kristína Bilková, František Križan, Marcel Horňák, Peter Barlík and Gabriel Zubriczký
The retailing sector seems to be rather sensitive to social and economic developments in a society. In contrast to global retail network trends, specific processes may be observed in some lagging regions in post-communist countries. In the article attention is paid to spatial changes in food and non-food retailing locations in the region of Gemer, one of the least developed regions of post-communist Slovakia. The retailing network transformation between 1996 and 2012 was measured by applying retail capacity calculations for surplus or deficit, related to the population size of municipalities within the region. In the article, we examine food and non-food retail locations in the Gemer region with a special focus on spatial changes (urban vs rural) as well as temporal and trends based on retail capacity growth indices. In conclusion, the findings suggest that rural food and non-food retailing businesses have gone through considerable change and that it is not in harmony with the globalisation processes visible in the urban environment. Specifically, retail capacities (both food and nonfood) in the Gemer region are witnessing a period of growth.