Ivan Krastev

Ivan Krastev – political scientist and philosopher, the Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, an independent NGO dedicated to pursuing in-depth research on political, economic, and social issues in Bulgaria and worldwide. More recently, his research has focused on the democratization of post-communist societies, corruption, populism, anti-Americanism, and the new world order. As a public intellectual, Krastev has authored such books as After Europe (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017) and Democracy Disrupted: The Global Politics on Protest (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), and has co-authored, with Stephen Holmes, The Light that Failed: A Reckoning (Penguin, 2019). He is also the author of Is It Tomorrow Yet?: Paradoxes of the Pandemic (Penguin, 2020), a book on the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has exposed the contradictions of modern life.

Krastev's book After Europe – as timely as it was when first published – analyzes a broad array of current political, social, and economic issues facing the European Union, among which include mass migration, the rise of far-right nationalism, the 2016 election of Trump, and the rise of Russia under Putin. Reflecting on the possibility for the collapse of the European Union, Krastev poses the question of changes in how people from different societies and generations perceived and remembered the collapse of communism near the end of the 20th century, and what this means for European democracy. He explores this question further in his co-authored book The Light that Failed: A Reckoning, where he and Holmes introduce the concept of an "Age of Imitation." They argue that the wave of populism occurring in recent years and represented by such figures as Russia's Vladimir Putin, Hungary's Viktor Orbán, and the United States' Donald Trump can be traced back to the collapse of communism in Europe – where Central and Eastern European countries were presented with the seeming superiority of Western political models which they were then forced to imitate and of which they ultimately grew resentful. Throughout his works, Krastev presents a perspective encompassing both Central and Eastern Europe alongside the predominant Western standpoint. 

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