How Ukraine Divides Postcommunist Europe

Issue Date January 2024
Volume 35
Issue 1
Page Numbers 74–86
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East-Central Europe is at odds with itself regarding the response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Why are “postcommunist” democracies not standing together as one with a fledgling democracy that is under attack by a dictatorship? The answer lies in the material and political benefits that individual politicians and political parties receive from Russia. Two consequences follow from this dynamic: the validation of “Russian imperial claims” and reduced support for Ukraine. This analysis shows that the immediate interests and profits of domestic politicians matter far more than the long shadows of history, leading to a complex tapestry of responses in the region. The diversity of these countries’ approaches to Ukraine is just one reason why East-Central Europe is now more remarkable for its divisions and contrasts than a collective past or a common future.

About the Author

Anna Grzymała-Busse is Michelle and Kevin Douglas Professor of International Studies at Stanford University and senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. She is author of Nations Under God: How Churches Use Moral Authority to Influence Policy (2015).

View all work by Anna Grzymała-Busse