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SLOVO

SLOVO VOLUME 23

NUMBER 2

AUTUMN 2011

Contents

Vol. 23, No. 2, Autumn 2011

ISSN 0954–6839

slovo

PAGE

EDITORIAL

79

Samuel Goff

An Inter-disciplinary Journal of Russian, East-Central European and Eurasian Affairs

ARTICLES

Framed Peoples: The Discourse of Minority Elites and the Language Question in Ukraine Ágúst Már Ágústsson

80

In a Crevice Between Gender and Nation: Croatian and Serbian Women in 1990s Anti-war Activism Bojan Bilic

95

Radical Right Culture and the Youth: The Development of Contemporary Hungarian Political Culture Erin Saltman

114

Voting Behaviour in Macedonia: Explaining the Centre-Right's Success Ilina Mangova

132

REVIEWS

156

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Vol. 23, No. 2, Autumn 2011

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www.maney.co.uk

Maney Publishing for the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London


SLOVO EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Sam Goff MANAGING EDITOR: Hüsrev Tabak For editorial addresses and submissions, see inside back cover. BOOK & FILM REVIEW EDITOR: Alvin Camba PUBLIC RELATIONS EDITOR: Evgeniya Konovolova General Editors: Amelia Abercrombie Ivan Aymaliev Elizabeth Banks Rebecca Bellars Alex Constantinou Sander Roberto Maurano Filho Scott Hamilton Elena Janega Christopher Nicholson Anca Pop Valeria Pacer Simon Pawley Anna Rebmann Bartley Rock Aleksandra Marta Rychlicka Alexandra Stef Imogen Wade ACADEMIC ADVISOR Prof. Alena Ledeneva Publisher’s office: Maney Publishing, 1 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AF. Managing Editor: Lisa Johnstone, email l.johnstone@maney.co.uk. Production Editor: Andrew Meredith. Slovo (ISSN 0954-6839 (print)) is published by Maney Publishing. Each annual volume contains 2 issues. Slovo discusses and interprets Russian, Eastern and Central European, and Eurasian affairs from a number of different perspectives including, but not limited to, anthropology, art, economics, film, history, international studies, linguistics, literature, media, philosophy, politics, and sociology. Slovo is a fully refereed journal, edited and managed by postgraduates of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. Each year a new Editorial Board is selected from the postgraduate community to produce two volumes of academic depth and rigour, considering articles, book, and film review submissions from both established and emerging academics. Indexing and Abstracting Slovo is indexed in MLA International Bibliography and the Directory of Periodicals.

Subscriptions are entered by the volume and include postage (air-speeded outside the UK). Subscriptions must be pre-paid at the rate appropriate to the location of the subscriber. Volume 23, 2011 (2 issues) Institutional rate: £124.00; North America: US$235.00 Individual rate*: £32.00; North America: US$56.00 *Subscriptions are welcomed from individuals if prepaid by personal cheque or credit card and if the journal is to be sent to a private address. All orders must be sent to Publication Sales, Maney Publishing, Suite 1C, Joseph’s Well, Hanover Walk, Leeds LS3 1AB, UK (fax: +44 (0)113 386 8178; email: subscriptions@maney.co.uk). Maney Publishing North America, 875 Massachusetts Avenue, 7th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Tel (toll-free): 866 297 5154; Fax: 617 354 6875; email: maney@maneyusa.com. All cheques must be payable to Maney Publishing. Advertising and general enquiries should be sent to Maney Publishing. Copyright © School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 2011 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the written permission of the copyright holder. Requests for such permission must be addressed to permissions@maney.co.uk or Permissions Section, Maney Publishing, 1 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AF, UK. Disclaimer Responsibility for opinions and statements contained in the papers, notes, correspondence, reviews, and discussion is that of the authors, and not of the editors, the journal copyright holder, or Maney Publishing. Photocopying For users in North America, permission is granted by the copyright owner for libraries and others registered with the Copyright Clearance Centre (CCC) to make copies of any article herein. Requests should be sent directly to Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. In the UK, the Copyright Licensing Agency, cla@cla.co.uk is mandated to grant permission to make copies. Maney Publishing is the trading name of W. S. Maney & Son Ltd, Suite 1C, Joseph’s Well, Hanover Walk, Leeds LS3 1AB, UK. Printed and bound by Charlesworth Press, Wakefield, UK.

Instructions for Authors Slovo welcomes original contributions that match the aims and scope of the journal (as described on the inside front cover) on the understanding that their contents have not previously been published or are currently submitted for publication elsewhere. All submissions will be sent to independent referees. It is a condition of publication that papers become the copyright of the School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London. All editorial correspondence should be sent to the Executive Editor, Slovo, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT. Email: slovo@ssees.ac.uk Deadlines Deadlines are normally September for the spring issue and March for the autumn issue. Presentation and Style Two complete copies should be submitted printed double-spaced with ample margins and not normally exceeding 6–8000 words. All pages should be numbered: the first page should state only the title of the paper, name(s) of the author(s) and, for each author, a short institutional affiliation, and an abbreviated title (for running headlines within the article). At the bottom of the page give the full name, address and e-mail address to which all correspondence, including proofs, should be sent. The second page should contain an abstract in English of not more than 200 words. Notes and References Contributors should adhere to the journal’s house-style in the presentation of numbered footnotes and references. Any general note on the article (e.g. personal acknowledgements) should appear as a first un-numbered note. Within the text, references and notes should be indicated by a superscript Arabic numeral. Articles and publications cited in the text should then be listed in full in the footnotes: for books: Bernard Comrie and Gerald Stone, The Russian Language since the Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 2. for articles in books: George Schöpflin, ‘The Functions of Myth and a Taxonomy of Myth’, in Myths and Nationhood, ed. by Geoffrey Hosking and George Schöpflin (London: C. Hurst & Company, 1997), pp. 31–33. for periodical articles: Lubomir Dolezel, ‘Poststructuralism: A View from Charles Bridge’, Poetics Today, 21 (2000), 640–41.

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SLOVO Volume 23

Number 2

Autumn 2011

CONTENTS Editorial Samuel Goff

79

Articles Framed Peoples: The Discourse of Minority Elites and the Language Question in Ukraine Ágúst Már Ágústsson

80

In a Crevice Between Gender and Nation: Croatian and Serbian Women in 1990s Anti-War Activism Bojan Bilić

95

Radical Right Culture and the Youth: The Development of Contemporary Hungarian Political Culture Erin Saltman

114

Voting Behaviour in Macedonia: Explaining the Centre-Right’s Success Ilina Mangova

132

Reviews Mary Fischer, trans., The Chronicle of Prussia by Nicolaus von Jeroschin: A History of the Teutonic Knights in Prussia, 1190–1331 (Christopher Nicholson); Mary E. Davis, Ballets Russes Style: Diaghilev’s Dancers and Paris Fashion (Louise Hardison); Dalia Leinarte, Adopting and Remembering Soviet Reality: Life Stories of Lithuanian Women, 1945–1970 (Amanda Swain); Anna Geifman, Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia (Alistair Dickens); Robert Kulpa and Joanna Mizielińska, eds., De-Centring Western Sexualities: Central and Eastern European Perspectives (April Matias)

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slovo, Vol. 23 No. 2, Autumn, 2011, 79

Editorial Samuel Goff Executive Editor, Slovo, 2010–11 Slovo is an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to furthering research into Russia, Eurasia, East and Central Europe. It is managed and edited by postgraduate students at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London. As Executive Editor, I am obliged to introduce this issue with an important and unfortunate announcement. Sadly, this will be the last issue of SLOVO published by Maney Publishing, and the printed version of the journal as it currently exists will end here, with Volume 23, Number 2. We are proud of what we have achieved up to now, and all of us thank Maney for their support. SLOVO will continue in a revised format and medium, with an increased online presence, and will still strive to maintain the same high standards. Be sure to check our website, <http://www.ssees.ucl. ac.uk/slovo.htm>, for more information in the months to come. We sign off with an issue that probes questions of political alignment and protest in the region. In our first article, Agúst Már Agússtson focuses on the media in an analysis of elites in Ukraine that addresses issues of identity and language. In contrast, Bojan Bilic contributes a piece on the events of the 1990s in Serbia and Croatia dedicated to two understudied aspects of the period: the role of women, and the role of pacifist activism. Finally, two pieces consider the rise and role of right-wing politics in East Europe: Ilina Mangova examines the electoral success of the centre-right in Macedonia; whilst Erin Saltman provides a survey of the more radical right in contemporary Hungary. There is also, as usual, a selection of high quality book reviews. Now perhaps more than before, the editor would like to thank the SLOVO editorial board for their enthusiasm and hard work in publishing this issue of the journal. Particular thanks to Reviews Editor Alvin Camba and Managing Editor Hüsrev Tabak; and to Evgeniya Konovolova and Anna Rebmann for help looking into ways forward for the journal. Gratitude is also due to Lisa Johnstone and Sarah Briscoe at Maney Publishing for their advice and support. Finally, many thanks to our academic referees, who have made our journal possible.

© School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 2011


slovo, Vol. 23 No. 2, Autumn, 2011, 80–94

Framed Peoples: The Discourse of Minority Elites and the Language Question in Ukraine1 Ágúst Már Ágústsson Corvinus University, Budapest

This article examines zero-sum competition among elites in multi-ethnic states. It analyzes how Russophone minority elites in Ukraine frame their discourse of the state’s language policies in the field of general education. Viewing the issue through the lens of a historical positivist/constructivist dichotomy, this article finds that as the Ukrainian state pursues nationalizing policies, minority elites employ a discourse intended to recruit members to their in-group and prevent defections to an ethnic Ukrainian identity. While there is little or no evidence of an ethnic Russian mobilization in the discourse, the article does not find that to be a sign of an entrenched civic understanding of nationhood. Rather, it argues that this is a sign of elite competition for maximum constituency.

Introduction The prevalence of national minorities within states is a constant and potentially destabilizing factor in the international system. As a number of recent examples in Central and Eastern Europe have demonstrated, states with large ethnic minorities are at increased risk of suffering from intrastate conflict, posing a possible threat to wider regional security. It is therefore vital to understand the dynamics of minority group mobilization and what factors may precipitate zero-sum ethnic competition within multi-ethnic states. Being a ‘new state’, Ukraine has embarked on a triple transition since the early 1990s. The state has undergone substantial political and economic changes as well as having undertaken a nation-building process. The literature also refers to nationbuilding as ‘nationalization’, pertaining to policies enacted by a state with the aim of 1

This article is an adapted version of a Master’s dissertation in Russian, Central and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow and Corvinus University of Budapest. I am thankful to my dissertation supervisors, Dr David J. Smith of the University of Glasgow and Dr Balázs Dobos of Corvinus University in Budapest, as well as to anonymous reviewers. Responsibility for any mistakes remains my own.

© School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 2011


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creating a nation-state for a particular ethno-cultural nation, or promoting the state carrying nation to a privileged position vis-à-vis other nations inhabiting the state’s territory.2 Following this definition, this article argues that legal acts passed in Ukraine since the country’s independence amount to nation-building. Peter W. Rodgers argues that the perception of state policies to create identities plays at least an equal part with the policies’ content in determining their success or failure.3 This research, therefore, explores how Ukraine’s language policies in the field of general education were perceived by native Russian speakers. It has been argued that ethnically based institutionalized discrimination can strengthen in-group identification and a sense of shared fate among those affected and this ethnic framing of society can be a source of inter-group violence.4 However, as only the most extreme forms of institutionalized discrimination are likely to affect all members of a purported community simultaneously, it is important to understand the role which agents have in disseminating feelings of shared fate to those members not affected, or to those with only marginal identification with the rest of the group. This research is informed by the dichotomy between historical-positivist and constructivist approaches to nations, nationalism, and identity. Following the constructivist premise that, quite contrary to being a perennial or primordial phenomenon, national communities and national communities’ group consciousness are in a state of flux which can be affected, and even manipulated, the initial hypothesis is that the minority elites framed the language policies in such terms as to mobilize their in-group community. By framing the passing of language laws as attacks against the in-group, societal elites and ethno-political entrepreneurs aimed to construct identities that strengthened the group’s loyalties within and redrew societal borders by infusing society with a sense of exclusive belonging. The first part of this article explains the methodology employed before providing a review of the theoretical literature. In order to provide context for the following media analysis, the nation-building process of the Ukrainian state as represented in its constitution and legal framework with regard to language use in education will be addressed before the self-representation of Russian speakers in public discourse is explored by employing the methods described earlier.

Methodology This research employs qualitative content analysis of media articles in order to benefit from its qualitative aspects whilst simultaneously incorporating its control mechanisms. This method is limited in the sense that it is inherently subjective, as the

2

3

4

R. Kaiser & E. Nikiforova, ‘Borderland Spaces of Identification and dis/location: Multiscalar Narratives and Enactments of Seto Identity and Place in the Estonian-Russian Borderlands’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 29 (2006), 928–958 (p. 938). P. W. Rodgers, ‘Compliance or Contradiction’? Teaching ‘History’ in the ‘New Ukraine’. A View from Ukraine’s Eastern Borderlands’, Europe-Asia Studies, 59 (2007), 503–519 (p. 514). D. Rus, ‘A Theoretical Approach on the Matter of Identity’, Studia Universitatis Petru Maior Philologia, 7 (2008), 263–268 (p. 264); R. Brubaker, and D. D. Laitin, ‘Ethnic and Nationalist Violence’, Annual Review of Sociology, 24 (1998), 423–452 (p. 433).


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material has been organized by the researcher into the categories and subcategories of analysis.5 By employing this method, the article explores the feelings and motives of those who composed the texts, as well as the intended effect of these texts. Following a blueprint for qualitative content analysis provided by Philipp Mayring,6 initial categories were defined based on the research questions. Whilst working with the texts, inductive subcategories were created on a step-by-step basis. This allowed for old categories to be dropped and new ones to be created as needed. After half of the material had been explored in this manner, a formative check of reliability was carried out, the established categories and subcategories were revised, and the whole process was restarted from the beginning. This research reviews thirteen articles from Russian language media outlets in Ukraine, namely the Russian language newspapers Today, Priazovskij Worker, and the Unian Information Agency, as well as articles published on the websites of the organisations Russians in Ukraine and Russian-Speaking Ukraine. The former was developed with participation from the Russian government, the Department of Foreign Trade and International Relations of Moscow, and the Moscow House of Compatriots, the latter has ties to the Party of the Regions. It is therefore clear from the outset that the some of the articles have an ideological slant. However, in as much as they form a part of elite level discourse, they are relevant. The articles deal with the issues of Ukrainization, language, identity, and belonging. To the extent possible, articles published around and following the passing of Resolution No.1033 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on amendments to the regulations of general education of September 2009 are used. The reason for the selection of this time period is to determine the impact a single government action can have on minority mobilization. Also, during this period the presidential election campaign reached its peak. The extent to which the above-mentioned themes receive publicity at such a politically important juncture is also germane to the gravity endowed upon them, i.e. how likely societal elites believe these themes are to mobilize voters. The main categories of analysis are ‘identification’, ‘nationalization’, ‘legal arguments’, and ‘memory work’. The ‘identification’ category lists cases of selfrepresentation in the articles and is subdivided into seven subcategories, the most important of which are: ‘language community’, ‘citizen of the state’, ‘ethnic Russian’, and ‘vilification of the other’. The first two can be interpreted in terms of inclusiveness within the body politic of Ukraine, whereas the latter refer to comments of ethnic affiliation and the reification of the in-group by the exclusion and vilification of the out-group. The ‘nationalization’ category has a broad subcategory, namely ‘them against us’. This subcategory captures all comments relating to general cases of real or perceived nationalization by the majority or discrimination against the minority. However, comments concerning discriminatory legislation, regardless of whether it is Resolution No.1033 or other legislation aimed at the minority, are categorized as ‘new 5

6

P. Mayring, ‘Neuere Entwicklungen in der Qualitativen Forschung und der Qualitativen Inhaltsanalyse’, in Die Praxis der Qualitativen Inhaltsanalyse, ed. by P. Mayring and M. Gläser-Zikuda (Weinheim and Basel: Betlz Verlag, 2005), pp. 7–19 (p. 11). Ibid., p. 12.


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legislation’. The third major subcategory under ‘nationalization’ is ‘existentialism’ which refers to comments where the very existence of the minority is framed as being threatened by the actions and policies of the majority. In the category ‘legal arguments’ references to particular legal citations made in the articles arguing against perceived or real nationalization policies of the majority are registered. Here the subcategories are self-explanatory and refer to what sort of legal arguments are employed; ‘constitution’, ‘international norms’, ‘domestic legislation’, and ‘fundamental rights’. Finally, under ‘memory work’ are comments that deal with the ‘re-narration of the past’, as well as the ‘re-interpretation of the past’. The former deals with the somewhat straightforward retelling of historical events or with the drawing of historical parallels, while the latter covers the more controversial re-interpretations that are intended to provoke an emotional reaction from readers rather than historical reflection. Lastly, the subcategory ‘spaces for “our” history’ captures references to the struggle to represent the minorities’ history at all, or to contest the official version of it as represented by the majority. In lieu of defining the ‘nation’, this article refers to self-professed members of ‘nations’ or ‘national groups’ as being nationals of their named communities. When referring to a collection of individuals claiming a particular nationality the article uses the term ‘national community’. Taking into account that many individuals involved in, affected by, or informing this research may have multiple identifications, the national terms adopted should not be understood as a reification of national groups, or as exclusive categories, but are intended to make the text more readable. Similarly, references to ‘Russophone elites’ or ‘Russian speaking elites’ are only to be understood as shorthand for those who make public claims to represent such a constituency.

Literature review This article compares and contrasts the historical positivist and constructivist schools of thought on nationalism; the former claiming that nations have deep historical roots and may trace their lineage back into time immemorial, and the latter rejecting nations as real existing phenomenon, arguing that they are constructed through discourse that is framed by societal elites. The origins of historical positivism reflect the spirit of the time of its formation: the age of Enlightenment and revolutions, when people desired freedoms which were to be realised by national self-determination and a sovereign nation-state.7 Thus Eric Hobsbawm identifies the struggle to create a nation-state as the intrinsic to nature of nationalism, dating its advent back to the French revolution and its citizen state.8 Arguing along the same line as Hobsbawm, Walker Connor and Craig Calhoun state that as individuals became emancipated from old power structures and gained personal sovereignty, the nation and the sovereign nation-state became vehicles for 7

8

B. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, (London and New York: Verso, 1991), p. 7. E. J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990) pp. 18–21.


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collective self-determination.9 To Anthony D. Smith, however, the nation is more than merely a tool for the collective self-determination of sovereign individuals. He sees it not only as its members’ extended family and locality, but as insuring them against mortality through absorption into a ‘community of fate’ with the dead, the living, and the yet unborn.10 While dismissing the claim that ethnicity as such is constructed, Donald L. Horowitz does agree that ethnic group boundaries are constructed and re-constructed over time. Still, he refuses the conscious actions of individuals in constructing ethnic or national identities and claims that this happens organically as information is processed by the group.11 Seeking the middle ground, Calhoun argues that national identity should be viewed as a mixture of inherited and invented traditions.12 While rejecting the existence of the cynical ethno-political entrepreneur, he acknowledges the innovative character of national cultural continuity. Robert J. Kaiser highlights this innovative aspect of nationalism when he claims that its primary purpose is the construction and maintenance of the image of the nation and the homeland — past, present, and future. To Kaiser, the political programme of nationalism seeks to create a nation and a homeland that is seen as being both ‘natural’ and ‘eternal’. Limiting the nation to a particular homeland is critical to nation-building as it excludes those who are not of the ‘blood’ and the ‘soil’ as intrinsic ‘others’.13 As pointed out by Rogers Brubaker and David Laitin, the mere act of drawing boundaries can have catastrophic consequences for society since ‘group-making projects within ethnic groups are almost always central to violent conflicts between groups’.14 The resulting conflagration can then be ‘framed in ethnic terms’, i.e. as being between two internally homogeneous ethnic groups,15 resulting in the wilful sacrifice of their members’ lives. Arguing that individual identity, as well as that of nations, is a mental construct, Dana Rus points out that not only are identities subjective and individual but they are also subject to change. Framing an individual or a community as an outsider may, therefore, affect a realignment of identification. Indeed, just as an individual’s identification is affected by inter-personal interaction so is a national identity conditioned by inter-national interactions.16 If Rus’s argument is taken further it would suggest that it might be possible for elites to label their own communities as outsiders themselves in order to strengthen in-group attachment and identity, and thus strengthen their power base. 9

10 11

12 13

14 15 16

W. Connor, ‘Nationalism and Political Illegitimacy’, in Ethnonationalism in the Contemporary World: Walker Connor and the Study of Nationalism, ed. by D. Conversi (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), pp. 24–50 (p. 29); C. Calhoun, ‘Nationalism and Cultures of Democracy’, Public Culture, 19 (2006), 151–174 (p. 169). A. D. Smith, Nationalism and Modernism (New York: Routledge, 1998), p. 130 and p. 140. D. L. Horowitz, ‘The Primordialists’, in Ethnonationalism in the Contemporary World: Walker Connor and the Study of Nationalism, ed. by D. Conversi (London and New York: Routledge 2002), pp. 72–82 (p. 78). Calhoun, ‘Nationalism and Cultures of Democracy’, p. 162. R. J. Kaiser, ‘Homeland Making and the Territorialization of National Identity’, in Ethnonationalism in the Contemporary World: Walker Connor and the Study of Nationalism, ed. by D. Conversi (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), pp. 229–247 (p. 232). R. Brubaker, & D. D. Laitin, ‘Ethnic and Nationalist Violence’, p. 438 (emphasis in original). Ibid., p. 425. D. Rus, ‘A Theoretical Approach’, p. 264.


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Rogers Brubaker and Frederick Cooper identify ‘categorization’ as a tool employed by elites to construct feelings of belonging in a population. They argue that labels adopted in public and academic discourse when referring to social groupings are categories imposed by the state, institutions, and social movements as modes of social accounting.17 As these categories are imposed externally the population can itself have a wholly different sense of ‘groupness’.18 As pointed out by Edwin Poppe and Louk Hagendoorn, not everyone has an exclusive sense of ‘groupness’ but individuals can identify with more than one group. However, in their study of types of identification among Russians in the former Soviet republics, Poppe and Hagendoorn found this category too rare to consider in their analysis.19 Viktor Stepanenko and Anna Fournier disagree with this, the latter claiming that supra-ethnic identities, such as ‘East Slavic’ and ‘Soviet’, allow for identification with both Russian and Ukrainian elements, are common among Russians in Eastern Ukraine.20 It is impossible to harmonize the dichotomy between the two schools of thought on whether or not the ‘nation’ is a real existing phenomenon or a massively imagined construct. The way in which community elites frame their own in-group can, however, provide an insight into how they see it themselves. Establishing how this discourse is framed will not definitively settle the scholarly debate; nevertheless, it will give a greater understanding of nationalist claims within states. Thus, one should expect an increased risk of instability where boundaries are being drawn and when approached in a historical positivist fashion these borders should be more stringent, and offer less room for inter-group negotiation and settlement.

Framing the nation The Ukrainian constitution, which was adopted only five years after the country gained its independence, offers a very inclusive definition of who constitutes the Ukrainian people. It opens the preamble with a statement including all citizens of Ukraine, irrespective of their nationality. However, it then goes on to refer to the ‘centuries-old history of Ukrainian state-building’ and the final realisation of the right to self-determination of ‘the Ukrainian nation, all the Ukrainian people’.21 Finally, citing how the authors of the constitution realise their ‘responsibility in the eyes of God, before [their] own conscience, past, present and future generations’, the preamble presents cultural parameters to inclusion in the community of the Ukrainian people.

17 18 19

20

21

R. Brubaker & F. Cooper ‘Beyond “identity”’, Theory and Society, 29 (2000), 1–47 (p. 16). Ibid., pp. 19–20. E. Poppe, & L. Hagendoorn, ‘Types of Identification among Russians in the “Near Abroad”’, Europe-Asia Studies, 53 (2001), 57–71 (p. 62). V. Stepanenko, ‘Identities and Language Politics in Ukraine: The Challenges of Nation-State Building’, in Nation-Building, Ethnicity and Language Politics in Transition Countries, ed. by F. Daftary and F. Grin (Budapest: Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative and Open Society Institute, 2003), pp. 107– 136 (p. 113, footnote 121); A. Fournier, ‘Mapping Identities: Russian Resistance to Linguistic Ukrainisation in Central and Eastern Ukraine’, Europe-Asia Studies, 54 (2002), 415–433 (p. 416). ‘Constitution of Ukraine’, President of Ukraine website <http://www.president.gov.ua/en/content/constitution. html> [accessed 17 February 2011], Preamble.


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Therefore, even though the ‘Ukrainian people’ is initially not described as a closed community it is still framed as a chosen people, on the holy mission of creating and preserving a sovereign state from the legacy of past generation who strove for the creation of a Ukrainian state and for the sake of the unborn. This presents an organic continuation of the holy duty to establish a sovereign Ukrainian nation-state in which it is possible to detect echoes of Taras Shevchenko’s 1845 emotive call to his countrymen, ‘the dead, the living, and to those yet unborn’ to strive for their paradise on earth, an independent Ukraine.22 With the language situation in Ukraine being described by some as one of the country’s most serious inter-ethnic issues,23 the constitution does provide safeguards for the use of minority languages. While Ukrainian is declared to be the state language, the constitution guarantees the ‘[f]ree development, use and protection of Russian, and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine’, while the use of languages shall be determined by further simple legislation.24 At first sight this provides Russian speakers with strong constitutional provisions for using and developing their language. However, it places all language minorities in one category regardless of their size. For Oleksandr Hrytsenko, giving the Russian language a special mention in the constitution reflects the status that the language and the Russian minority merit.25 However, by referring to Russian and other national minority languages lawmakers underscore that the Russian language is — or at least should be — exclusively the language of and for the ethnic Russian minority. This is similar to what Stanislav Shumlianskyi finds to be characteristic of the Ukrainian nationalist discourse, i.e. identifying ethnic nations within the state and seeing language as a marker of ethnic belonging. In that sense, the Russian language should be the language of the ethnic Russian minority and Russophone ethnic Ukrainians should be brought back into the fold of their co-nationals to be saved from the ‘evils’ of the Russian language.26 Moreover, by defining group belonging in strict ethnic terms and treating Ukrainian and Russian as ‘good’ and ‘evil’ respectively, this discourse casts ethnic Russians as essential ‘others’ and denies them access to the majority Ukrainian people.27 It is notoriously difficult to find reliable statistical data on language use in Ukraine. According to a national census conducted in 2001 ethnic Russians made up 17.3 per cent of the population whereas over 77 per cent were registered as ethnic Ukrainians.28 Therefore, casting languages as something belonging to Ukraine’s nationalities 22

23

24 25

26

27

28

T. Shevchenko, ‘My Friendly Epistle’, <http://www.infoukes.com/shevchenkomuseum/poetry.htm> [accessed 26 June 2011]. V. Stepanenko, ‘A State to Build, a Nation to Form: Ethno-Policy in Ukraine’, in Diversity in Action: Local Public Management of Multi-Ethnic Communities in Central and Eastern Europe, ed. by A. M. Bíró and P. Kovács (Budapest: Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative, Open Society Institute, 2001), pp. 307–346 (p. 325). ‘Constitution of Ukraine’, Art.10. Oleksandr Hrytsenko, ‘Imagining the Community: Perspectives on Ukraine’s Ethno-Cultural Diversity’, Nationalities Papers, 36 (2008), 197–222 (p. 213). S. Shumlianskyi, ‘Conflicting Abstractions: Language Groups in Language Politics in Ukraine’, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 201 (2010), 135–161 (pp. 141–142). Ibid., p. 153; A. Wylegała, ‘Minority Language as Identity Factor: Case Study of Young Russian Speakers in Lviv’, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 201 (2010), 29–51 (p. 45). ‘All Ukrainian Population Census 2001’.


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would in fact serve the nationalist cause and make Ukrainian absolutely dominant. The language situation on the ground is, however, a far cry from being dominated by Ukrainian. Depending on which survey statistics are used between 30 to 40 per cent of Ukrainians use the state language as their main language of communication while 61 per cent say that it is their native tongue. Between 33 per cent and 45 per cent prefer to speak Russian whereas 36 per cent claim it as their native language and even fewer self-identify as ethnic Russians. Finally, surveys put the proportion of bilinguals between 15 per cent and 30 per cent.29 What is clear, however, is that a far larger proportion of the population claims Ukrainian ethnicity than use the language as their primary means of communication. Therefore, framing the in-group in linguistic terms strengthens the minority vis-à-vis the state-carrying nation.

Domestic legislation Ukraine’s 1999 Law on General Secondary Education is based on the constitution, the 1989 Law on Languages, and other laws, regulations, and international treaties. When reviewing the interaction of Ukraine’s Law on General Secondary Education and its Law on Languages the first thing to note is that the latter was adopted by parliament in 1989 when Ukraine was still a Soviet republic. Therefore, the legislation is understandably generous when it comes to awarding language rights to nonUkrainian speakers, in particular with regard to the Russian language. Chapter III of the law establishes the Ukrainian language as a primus inter pares in the field of education, whilst guaranteeing people of other nationalities education in their national language and the free choice of language of education to all citizens of Ukraine.30 Jan Germen Janmaat finds these provisions to be ambiguous, pointing out that it could lead to children receiving instruction in a language other than Ukrainian but different from that of their ethnic background.31 However, these provisions were most likely put in place precisely with that in mind, i.e. in order for children of all ethnicities to be able to receive instruction in Russian. Hrytsenko points to the legal confusion regarding languages of instruction created by contradictory provisions in the basic legislation and the Ukrainian constitution.32 The constitution guarantees citizens ‘in accordance with law, the right to education in their native language, or to study their native language at state and communal educational establishments or through national cultural societies’.33 Hrytsenko finds that this wording creates a hierarchy among minorities, the most significant ones receiving tuition in their national language whilst others having to content themselves with the study of their native language. If this interpretation is accurate, Hrytsenko claims, then the Law on Languages contradicts the constitution insofar as the former 29 30

31

32 33

Stepanenko, ‘Identities and Language Politics’, pp. 113–114; Shumlianskyi, ‘Conflicting Abstractions’, p. 152. ‘Law on Languages in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic’, Minority Electronic Resources website, <http://www.minelres.lv/NationalLegislation/Ukraine/Ukraine_Language_English.htm> [accessed 12 January 2011], Art.25 and 27. J. G. Janmaat, ‘Nation Building, Democratization and Globalization as Competing Priorities in Ukraine’s Education System’, Nationalities Papers, 36 (2008), 1–23 (p. 6). Hrytsenko, ‘Imagining the Community’, p. 213. ‘Constitution of Ukraine’, Art.53, para.5.


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declares the free choice of the language of education to be the citizens’ inalienable right.34 Lawmakers therefore seem to have been intentionally ambiguous regarding the issue of the use of language in education when they passed the 1999 Law on General Secondary Education, according to which the language of instruction is to be determined with reference to the constitution and the Law on Languages.35 Stepanenko describes these contradictory policies as ‘language balance’, manifesting itself in a ‘one state, one language’ approach by the authorities.36 While Ukrainian is the sole official language and symbolically represents the state, Russian prevails as the language of everyday communication, making the state de facto bilingual. Andrew Wilson mentions that there is a broader balance of power at play in Ukraine, an informal consociationalism, between Russian speakers and Ukrainian speaking nationalists.37 This balance, however, was disturbed in September 2009 with the adoption of Resolution No. 1033 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, which stipulated that the language of education in all state and municipal educational institutions should be Ukrainian.38 While teaching in the languages of national minorities alongside Ukrainian was still possible, teachers were otherwise obliged to speak only Ukrainian during working hours. However, this provision, which included informal contact with students and colleagues during breaks, was subsequently repealed by the constitutional court in 2010.39

Identification and self-representation It is worth noting that, despite Wilson’s description of Ukraine’s informal consociationalism between nationalists and Russophones, scholars have identified a number of other cleavages in Ukrainian society ranging from regional differences due to the historical legacy of foreign rule,40 to religion and representations of World War II history,41 class structure and capital concentration,42 and ethnicity.43 Therefore, like any society, Ukraine has a number of cleavages and it is not the purpose of this 34 35

36 37

38

39

40

41

42

43

‘Law on Languages in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic’, Art.25. ‘Law on General Secondary Education’, Minority Electronic Resources website, <http://www.minelres.lv/ NationalLegislation/Ukraine/Ukraine_GeneralEducation_excerpts_English.htm> [accessed 16 February 2011], Art.7. Stepanenko, ‘Identities and Language Politics’, pp. 122 & 129. A. Wilson, ‘The Post-Soviet States and the Nationalities Question’, in The Nationalities Question in the Post-Soviet States, ed. by G. Smith (London and New York: Longman, 1996), pp. 23–43 (p. 40). ‘Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No.1033 on Amendments to the Regulations of General Education’, Official Bulletin (Gazette) of Ukraine, <http://ovu.com.ua/articles/3665-pro-vnesennya-zmindo-polozhennya-pro-zagalnoosvit> [accessed 4 March 2011]. ‘Decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine No.1-11/2010’, Constitutional Court of Ukraine website, <http://www.ccu.gov.ua/uk/doccatalog/list?currDir=5037> [accessed 4 March 2011]. I. Katchanovski, ‘Regional Political Divisions in Ukraine in 1991–2006’, Nationalities Papers, 34 (2006), 507– 532 (p. 528). T. Zhurzhenko, ‘The Myth of Two Ukraines’, Eurozine website, <http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2002-0917-zhurzhenko-en.html> [accessed 26 June 2011]. A. Bogomolov, ‘Ukraine’s Bottom Up Democracy’, in Democracy’s Plight in the European Neighbourhood. Struggling Transition and Proliferating Dynasties, ed. by M. Emerson and R. Young (Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2009) pp. 76–83 (p. 77). O. Malanchuk, ‘Social Identification versus Regionalism in Contemporary Ukraine’, Nationalism Papers, 33 (2005), 345–368 (pp. 350–351).


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article to suggest a binary analysis of it. However, for the sake of clarity, this research focuses on how discourse is framed by societal elites and how, by defining the Russian language as the language of a de jure ethnic Russian minority, the Ukrainian state categorizes its citizens along ethnic national lines. Fournier points out how, in seeking to resist what is seen as forced Ukrainization, Russian speakers tend to draw a linguistic boundary rather than accepting the official ethnic division.44 This runs contrary to the Ukrainian nationalist discourse, which presents ethnic relations as a zero-sum game and claims that for ethnic Ukrainians to speak Russian can only come at the expense of their loyalty to the Ukrainian nation and their ‘Ukrainianness’.45 These claims are, however, not supported by empirical research such as that conducted by Hansen and Hesli.46 Citing Valeryi Khmelko and Andrew Wilson, Stepanenko reminds us that around a quarter of Ukrainians do not have an exclusive sense of ‘groupness’ at all but rather see themselves as being both Ukrainian and Russian.47 This group may consist of those who identify themselves as ‘Eastern Slavs’, i.e. those who see the ‘Ukrainian nation as founded on two primary ethnic groups, languages, and cultures — Ukrainian and Russian — that are unified by their being embedded in a common historical and cultural space’.48 This type of supra-ethnic identification sees the Ukrainian nation as representing the duality of ethnic Ukrainians and Russians as the ‘core on which is built the Ukrainian nation state’.49 Self-identified ‘Eastern Slavs’ would therefore be more likely to draw a fluid linguistic boundary rather than a stringent ethnic one between what they see as being the two major pillars of the Ukrainian nation. Widespread bilingualism and intermarriage between nominal ethnic groups makes the linguistic environment in Ukraine very complex. The Russian language is used by a considerable proportion of ethnic Ukrainians and many people from ethnically mixed families have difficulties with identifying themselves with any one particular ethnic group.50 When this is the case it seems almost peculiar of the state to conduct a national census where citizens have to select one nominal national identity, excluding other identifications. Brubaker and Cooper warn us to treat with scepticism this ‘illusion of “identity” or bounded groupness created by the census, with its exhaustive and mutually exclusive categories’.51 The extent to which language and ethnic self-identification are problematic for the population may be seen in a survey examining language preferences conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences in late 1999. While around 44 per cent of respondents found it easier to speak in Ukrainian almost 48 per cent spoke the language at home. As for Russian, a higher percentage found it easier to speak it than actually did so in their homes, around 39 per cent and 36 per cent

44 45

46 47 48 49 50 51

A. Fournier, ‘Mapping Identities’, p. 430 (emphasis in the original). S. Shulman, ‘The Contours of Civic and Ethnic National Identification in Ukraine’, Europe-Asia Studies, 56 (2004), 35–56 (p. 40, endnote 12). H. E. Hansen, & V. L. Hesli, p. 14. Cited in Stepanenko, ‘Identities and Language Politics’, p. 113, footnote 121. Shulman, ‘The Contours’, p. 39. Ibid., p. 39; Fournier, ‘Mapping Identities’, p. 416. Stepanenko, ‘Identities and Language Politics’, p. 113. R. Brubaker & F. Cooper, ‘Beyond Identity’, p. 26.


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respectively. At the same time, 14.4 per cent spoke both languages at home.52 A recurrent survey of which language people consider to be their mother tongue, carried out by the Razumkov Centre between 2006 and 2008, shows fewer people claiming Ukrainian or Russian as their mother tongues over time. Rather, the proportion of those who consider both languages as their mother tongue has almost doubled from 15.6 per cent in 2006 to 28.7 per cent in 2008.53 This highlights the limitations of assigning exclusive identities and of basing ethnic self-identification on language use. Not only do a great number of those who self-identified as ethnic Ukrainians in the 2001 census find it easier to speak Russian, but they actually also do so in their private sphere.54 An either-or approach to the question also does not consider the 14 to 28 per cent who considered themselves bilingual. Arguably, a further category might even be added to these data: that of surzhyk speakers, i.e. those who speak a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian. In order to examine the mechanics of identity building of the Russophone elite in Ukraine this article analyses the discourse in the Ukrainian media from September 2009 to June 2010 using the methodology described above. Most comments in the articles fell into the ‘nationalization’ category, or over 38 per cent of categorized comments (see table 1). By far the largest subcategory was the ‘them against us’ dichotomy, making up over 20 per cent of all categorized comments and slightly less than 54 per cent of comments in the ‘nationalization’ category. Fewer than a quarter of references to ‘nationalization’ concerned ‘new legislation’, only 24.3 per cent. In just under 16 per cent of the cases, these references to ‘new legislation’ contained direct citations to the particular legislation that was being discussed. A little fewer than 18 per cent of comments described fears about the continued existence of the group and were as such grouped in the subcategory ‘existentialism’. The second largest category was ‘identification’. A little less than 32 per cent of comments made fell into this category with the subcategory ‘language community’ being the strongest identification marker, falling shy of the 34 per cent mark for comments in this category. Interestingly, comments in the ‘Eastern-Slavic’, ‘ethnic Russian’, and ‘extended national community’ subcategories were relatively few. As a whole, these three subcategories made up 23 per cent of the comments in this category, out of which ‘ethnic Russian’ was the largest with just under 14 per cent and ‘extended national community’ the smallest with only 1.5 per cent. More common were references to Russian speakers as being ‘citizens of the state’. This subcategory made up 21.5 per cent of all comments in the ‘identification’ category. Despite the overall inclusive impression that these data give of identification among Russian speakers in Ukraine, it is worth noting that identification through the ‘vilification of the other’ scored 15.3 per cent of all the comments in this category. Nevertheless, considering the proportion of inclusive versus exclusive rhetoric in this category, the former made up 55 per cent of all comments categorized whereas the latter was 45 per cent. 52

53

54

T. Kuzio, ‘The Myth of Russophone Unity in Ukraine’, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty website, <http:// www.rferl.org/content/article/1142190.html> [accessed 29 June 2011]. ‘Which Language do You Consider Your Mother Tongue? (Recurrent 2006–2008)’, Razumkov Centre website, <http://www.uceps.org/eng/poll.php?poll_id=290> [accessed 29 June 2011]. ‘All Ukrainian Population Census 2001’, State Statistics Committee of Ukraine website, <http://2001.ukrcensus. gov.ua/eng/results/> [accessed 31 March 2011].


65

5

22

1

4

14

9

10

Identifications

Eastern Slavic

Language community

Extended national community

Population

Citizens of the state

Ethnic Russian

Vilification of the other

4.88%

4.39%

6.83%

1.95%

0.49%

10.73%

2.44%

31.71%

Broken promises

Existentialism

They against us

(thereof direct citations

New legislation

Nationalisation

3

14

42

3

19

78

1.46%

6.83%

20.49%

1.46%)

9.27%

Fundamental rights

(thereof direct citations

Domestic legislation

International norms

(thereof direct citations

Constitution

38.05% Legal Arguments

14

3

22

11

3

11

58

6.83%

1.46%)

10.73%

5.37% Re-interpretation of the past

1.46%) Space for ‘our’ history

5.37% Re-narration of the past

28.29% Memory work

4

4

1.95%

1.95%

THE NUMBER OF COMMENTS MADE ACCORDING TO THEIR DISTRIBUTION INTO CATEGORIES AND SUB-CATEGORIES AND THEIR FREQUENCY IN PER CENT

TABLE 1

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The third largest category was ‘legal arguments’, where 28.3 per cent of comments were registered. By far the most of those were in the subcategory ‘domestic legislation’. Almost 38 per cent of all references to legal arguments against Ukrainization referred to existing domestic legislation, out of which 13.6 per cent contained a direct citation to a particular legislative piece. Interestingly, almost a quarter of comments in this category, over 24 per cent, referred to ‘fundamental rights’. This suggests that the language rights of Russian speakers are seen to be self-evident by the language community’s elites. The subcategories ‘constitution’ and ‘international norms’ received equal weight, each accounting for almost 19 per cent of all comments in the category. However, over 27 per cent of references to the constitution contained direct citation to its content. Thus, over 10 per cent of all references to legal arguments against Ukrainization contained direct citations to particular laws or the constitution indicating that the readers were expected to have more than basic knowledge of their domestic legal environment. This may be explained in part by the fact that some of the articles reviewed were targeted at other elites and were reprints of speeches made by Russian-speaking representatives at international venues. However, not all the direct citations to legal texts were made in those articles. Lastly, fewer than 2 per cent of comments registered fell into the ‘memory work’ category. This is somewhat surprising since Russian speakers in Ukraine undeniably took part in establishing an independent Ukraine and thus, based on recent history, could claim equal ownership of the state alongside ethnic Ukrainians. However, it is possible that the lack of references to history may represent a degree of regret over having helped to establish an independent Ukraine. While there was mention of Ukrainian nationalists being the ideological descendents of Nazism, no direct historical reference to a particular person or a single event was made in the articles under review. This was unexpected since there is reference within the academic literature to the contentious historical figure Stepan Bandera, a Galician Ukrainian who led a controversial faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. Finally, there was no sense of nostalgia for the Soviet Union to be read out of the articles as authors placed emphasis on the more positive aspects of the history of Russian speakers in Ukraine and on the historically negative aspects of Ukrainian nationalism. The media analysis shows that victimization of the in-group was a major theme and that the group’s existence was presented as being under threat. As suggested by the literature, this could be in order to rally the group’s members and strengthen in-group loyalties among those with peripheral identifications. The in-group being represented in the discourse was described as having fluid and open borders, i.e. it was possible for other nationalities to join it. This was done all the more easily by not framing it in ethnic terms and by stressing its adherence to the idea of a sovereign Ukrainian state. The vilification of the essential ‘other’ may be viewed as a reflection of the group’s perceived and portrayed victim status. As demonstrated by the extensive use of legal arguments in the discourse, its authors assumed that their readers would have a nuanced understanding of Ukraine’s legal environment. However, the inter-elite level of some articles, as well as the concurrent presidential campaign in Ukraine, may also have played a role in this regard. The prevalence of references to domestic legislation over the constitution or international norms is a reflection of the substantive provisions for the protection of the rights to use minority languages


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in Ukrainian law. As mentioned above, this particularly refers to the 1989 Law on Languages.

Conclusions This research shows that societal boundaries were drawn by both the state-carrying nation in Ukraine and the country’s Russophone elites. Whereas state legislation tends to frame identities in ethnic terms, Russian speakers project a strong preference for a broad Russian-language community among the Russophones in Ukraine. Ethnic categories were only rarely applied by these elites who established in-group membership with exclusive and inclusive references in near equal numbers. The relatively high frequency of inclusive references is most likely due to the high level of bilingualism in Ukraine, multiple identifications, and the probability that bilinguals — especially among non-Russian national minorities — might identify with a Russian language community over ‘Ukrainian nationalism’. An interesting find is that while the elites seem to try to convey the feeling that their in-group is being targeted by the state-carrying nation by giving examples of its real or perceived persecution, they then make rather extensive legal arguments against this discrimination. One should, however, not assume that Ukraine is home to a more entrenched civic or multicultural understanding of nationalism than is accredited to other states in the region. It is more likely that both Ukrainian nationalists and Russian speaking elites are trying to maximize their prospective constituencies by appealing to the numerically largest communities, thus engaging in a zero-sum competition. This could explain why Ukrainian nationalists place such an emphasis on ethnicity while Russian speakers on a language community, each identity marker providing them with the largest possible in-group. Whether or not these construction efforts are cynical manipulations of political entrepreneurs lies beyond the scope of this article. It can therefore be said that overall there was an attempt to strengthen in-group identification by drawing societal boundaries and issuing rallying calls through anecdotes of victimization. This, combined with the existentialist fears of the elites that their in-group co-members might change their affiliation to the majority nation because of government policies, supports the constructivist argument. Thus, one can speak of efforts to construct identities and influence identification in Ukraine. The extent to which this was successful provides a fertile field for future research. It would be interesting to broaden the scope of the study and examine how other minorities in Ukraine reacted to the legislations; would all of Ukraine’s minorities have such a legalistic approach to the issue? Further interesting research would be related to the extent to which majority nations feel themselves marginalized and under existential threat by their minorities. The dynamic of how a relatively young nation state can feel itself under siege from its minorities could prove useful in trying to predict future patterns of ethnic conflict in newly formed and forming states.

Media articles (30 September 2009) ‘Russkii iazyk budut zashchishchat’ po-novomy’, Russian-Speaking Ukraine website, <http://r-u.org.ua/russ/193-2010-01-21-12-34-10.html> [accessed 10 March 2011]


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(3 October 2009) ‘Ianukovich kritikuet Timoshenko za zapret russkogo iazyka v shkolakh’, Unian Information Agency website, <http://www.unian.net/rus/news/ news-339361.html> [accessed 4 March 2011] (6 October 2009) ‘Vladimir Kornilov: Dlia uchitelei Ukrainy vvoditsia iazykovaia tsenzura’, Russians in Ukraine website, <http://www.rus.in.ua/news/1920.html> [accessed 10 March 2011] (6 October 2009) ‘Popytka Timoshenko zapretit’ russkii iazyk v shkolakh ugolovno nakazuema’, Russians in Ukraine website, <http://www.rus.in.ua/news/1928.html> [accessed 10 March 2011] (7 October 2009) ‘Protestuia protiv narusheniia prav cheloveka v Ukraine nachnut bastovat’ shkoly’, Russians in Ukraine website, <http://www.rus.in.ua/news/1937. html> [accessed 10 March 2011] (7 October 2009) ‘“Ia skazala: Molchat’!” — tak otnositsia Pravitel’stvo Timoshenko k pravu russkikh Ukrainy govorit’ na rodnom iazyke’, Russians in Ukraine website, <http://www.rus.in.ua/news/1929.html> [accessed 10 March 2011] (15 October 2009) ‘Predprinimateli imeiut konstitutsionnoe pravo na russkoiazychnye vyvetski’, Russians in Ukraine website, <http://www.rus.in.ua/news/1985.html> [accessed 10 March 2011] (17 October 2009) ‘Pravitel’stvo zapretilo govorit’ na russkom iazyke v shkolakh!’, Priazovskij Worker website, <http://www.pr.ua/news.php?new=8027> [accessed 04 June 2011] (27 October 2009) ‘Zachem Kabmin “nastupaet na iazyk”’, Russians in Ukraine website, <http://www.rus.in.ua/news/2049.html> [accessed 10 March 2011] (22 December 2009) ‘Ianukovich i iazyk’, Today website, <http://www.segodnya.ua/ blogs/igorguzhvablog/14103326.html> [accessed 9 March 2011] (25 May 2010) ‘Russkii iazyk v Ukraine: slovo i delo’, Today website, <http://www. segodnya.ua/news/14138722.html> [accessed 9 March 2011] (27 May 2010) ‘Russkii iazyk stal regional’nym v Krymu’, Today website, <http:// www.segodnya.ua/news/14139558.html> [accessed 9 March 2011] (30 June 2010) ‘Odesskii gubernator khochet sdelat‘ russkii iazyk vtorym gosudarstvennym’, Today website, <http://www.segodnya.ua/news/14149306.html> [accessed 9 March 2011]

Notes on contributor Ágúst Már Ágússtson is a recent graduate from the Double Degree International Masters Programme in Russian, Central and East European Studies of the University of Glasgow and Corvinus University of Budapest. The nationalities question in Central and Eastern Europe is among the author’s research interests. Correspondence to: agustmar@gmail.com.


slovo, Vol. 23 No. 2, Autumn, 2011, 95–113

In a Crevice Between Gender and Nation: Croatian and Serbian Women in 1990s Anti-War Activism Bojan Bilic´ School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

This paper draws upon a variety of empirical sources to trace the dynamics of women’s anti-war engagement in Serbia and Croatia from the earliest instances of mother protesting to the feminist organizations still surviving in these two countries. It contributes to the ever-expanding corpus of sociological scholarship attempting to recover (post-)Yugoslav anti-war and pacifist contention that has been largely neglected in recent studies of the wars of Yugoslav succession. Rather than expounding on the ontogenesis of individual civic enterprises, this paper looks at the complex geometry of social, political and emotional co-operations and resistances reflective of long term trends of women’s civic organizing in the (post-)Yugoslav space. It argues that in spite of their sustained efforts to maintain communication throughout the armed conflict, Serbian and Croatian women activists could not entirely evade the detrimental force of the broader social trajectories of intolerance, exclusion and separation.

... We walk across the earth Out of lines When we see each other We know we are together When we think of each other Miles far from together Remembering our dreams and goals The wholeness Despite lines and sides Senseless war We are not alone Imagine Out of lines

© School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 2011


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These are the last verses of the poem ‘Crossing the Lines’ (‘Prelazeći liniju’) written by the Croatian sociologist and prominent pacifist activist Biljana Kašić in 1994, during a watch at the Anti-War Campaign of Croatia.1 If taken out of the immediate historical context of its production, this poem carries a universally applicable message of the human desire to resist the senselessness of war, bridge artificially created boundaries, and alleviate feelings of isolation and fear. However, at the moment of their creation these lines had a very concrete recipient; they were supposed to travel across the severed telephone channels and over the destroyed cities of Croatia and Bosnia to reach Biljana’s friends in Belgrade at the other side of the frontline. They were a testimony to the need of these women to step out of the suffocating atmosphere of their newly created nation-states and prevent further unravelling of that intricate social tissue that had connected them for decades. In contrast to the myopic policies of their patriarchal national leaderships, these women knew that their subdued instances of communication were a pledge of normal co-existence in the post-war period. This paper draws upon a variety of empirical sources (in-depth interviews, dissertations, radio programme transcripts, newspaper articles) to trace the history of women’s anti-war engagement in Serbia and Croatia from the earliest instances of mother protesting to the feminist organizations that still survive in these two countries.2 It contributes to the constantly expanding corpus of sociological scholarship that is attempting to recover (post-)Yugoslav anti-war and pacifist contention; an area that has largely been neglected in recent studies of the wars of Yugoslav succession.3 Western social science research on the Yugoslav conflicts has been rather slowly moving beyond the limits of the pervasive nationalism paradigm. Nationalism as the principal explanation for the region’s long-term political and social ills has left little space for a sustained academic engagement with anti-nationalist, anti-war and pacifist enterprises. Therefore, an illumination of Yugoslav anti-war activism diversifies the Yugoslav political scene and creates a crack in the monolith of various (post-)Yugoslav nationalisms. It refines the nationalism argument by pointing to the fact that nationalisms do not develop in isolation, but exist in a discursive transnational field of tensions and mutually perpetuating forces. I depart from the premise that (post-)Yugoslav civic contention cannot be properly theorized within a nationstate framework that does not appreciate important legacies of Yugoslav socialism. Even anti-nationalistically oriented activists and scholars have rarely (if ever) moved away from the strictly nationally-bounded spheres which cannot do justice to a plethora of civic interactions in the (post-)Yugoslav space.4 1 2 3

4

Lina Vušković and Zorica Trifunović, The Women’s Side of War (Belgrade: Žene u crnom, 2008), p. 389. If not otherwise indicated, all translations from the Serbo-Croatian and Italian are mine. Ana Dević, ‘Anti-War Initiatives and the Un-making of Civic Identities in the Former Yugoslav Republics’, Journal of Historical Sociology, 10 (1997), 127–156; Stef Jansen, Antinacionalizam: Etnografija otpora u Beogradu i Zagrebu (Belgrade: Biblioteka XX vek, 2003); Bojan Bilić, ‘Bourdieu and social movement theories: some preliminary remarks on a possible conceptual cross-fertilization in the context of Yugoslav anti-war activism’, Sociologija, 52 (2010), 377–398; Orli Fridman, ‘Alternative Voices: Serbia’s Anti-War Activism, 1991–2004’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, George Mason University, 2006); Srđan Dvornik, Akteri bez društva (Zagreb: Fraktura i Heinrich Boell Stiftung, 2009). For example, Donna Hughes, Lepa Mlađenović and Zorica Mršević, ‘Feminist resistance in Serbia’, European Journal of Women Studies, 2 (1995), 509–532; Marina Blagojević, Ka vidljivoj ženskoj istoriji: ženski pokret u Beogradu 90-ih, (Belgrade: Centar za ženske studije, 1998). See Maja Korać, Linking arms: War and women organizing in post-Yugoslav states (Uppsala: Life & Peace Institute, 1998) for an exception.


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This paper does not expound on the ontogenesis of individual civic enterprises or on their developmental pathways. Rather, it is interested in the broader geometry of social, political, and emotional cooperations and resistances reflective of long-term trends of women civic organizing in the (post-)Yugoslav space. Yugoslav feminist anti-war activists drew upon the long history of feminist organizing in Yugoslavia to articulate their anti-war attitudes as political choices. They firmly rejected the roles assigned to them by their re-patriarchalized societies whose political elites wanted to reverse the emancipatory achievements of Yugoslav socialist rule. Before discussing Serbian and Croatian feminist anti-war engagement, I take a closer look at the mothers’ movement, the first occurrence of anti-war protest, which unfolded at the very beginning of the Yugoslav armed conflict. This initiative demonstrates that women civic organizing during the wars of Yugoslav succession was often a painful and perplexing process which could not evade the detrimental force of the broader social trajectories of intolerance, exclusion, and separation. The hitherto unknown and hardly predictable circumstances in which Yugoslav women found themselves managed to destabilize the profound ideological and emotional linkages that had been forged for years across the Yugoslav space. The war and the differing positions of women in it threatened long-term friendships and introduced new divisive lines within the sphere of Yugoslav women’s organization, which also persisted in the post-war period.

The mothers’ protest The first open expression of anti-war sentiment on Yugoslav territory was a protest by the mothers of children who were serving in the Yugoslav People’s Army towards the beginning of the armed conflict. Drawing upon the emotive discourse of motherhood as a means of political participation has important precedents in Sri Lanka and South America, where women have mobilized against patriarchal regimes eager to sacrifice their citizens’ lives.5 The Belgrade demonstrations took place towards the end of June and in early July 1991 in the context of the unilateral declaration of independence that both Slovenia and Croatia announced on 25 June 1991. At the very beginning, these demonstrations were a spontaneous reaction of women to what was at that point still considered among many to be a ‘civil war’.6 The protestors requested the immediate termination of the armed conflict and the release from the Army of all the soldiers who had completed their military term. They claimed that recruits should stay in their own republics of residence,7 and that they should be sent to other Yugoslav republics only if the country were to be attacked by a foreign 5

6

7

Malathi de Alwis, ‘Motherhood as a space of protest: Women’s political participation in contemporary Sri Lanka’, in Appropriating Gender: Women’s Activism and the Politicization of Religion in South Asia, ed. by Amrita Basu and Patricia Jeffrey (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 185–202. Although the wars of Yugoslav succession are, especially within the human rights oriented extra-institutional circles, widely perceived as Serbian aggression towards Croatia and Bosnia, the conflicts did have some civil war elements. For example, the people of the so-called Srpska Krajina, a part of Croatia with a predominantly Serb population, were fighting against the Croatian state. See Silvano Bolčić, ‘Sociologija i “unutrašnji rat” u Jugoslaviji’, Sociološki pregled, 26 (1992), 9–25. It was a policy of the Yugoslav People’s Army to send recruits to a republic different from their republic of residence. By doing this, the Army was supposed to strengthen the soldiers’ Yugoslav identity.


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enemy. The mothers, coming to Belgrade from all over the former Yugoslavia, issued a statement in July 1991 in which they said: We refuse that our sons become the victims of senseless militarists. It is not clear what the goals are for which we should sacrifice our sons. Our sons have been deceived: they have to participate in a war for which they are not the least bit responsible, in a war that has not even been declared. That they should give their lives for imperialist purposes is the project of politicians. It is a disgrace to win a fratricidal war.8

The mothers’ protest reached its culmination on 2 July 1991, when hundreds of them broke into the Serbian Parliament while it was still in session. Addressing the members of the Parliament and the gathered parents, one of the most prominent, if controversial, protestors, Nena Kunijević, said: I am telling you this in my capacity as a mother of two sons who are at Vrhnica.9 It is for the sixth day now that I do not know whether they are alive or not. But I am telling you to calm down and to behave in a way that is appropriate for the parents who are suffering. Let us not react like a crowd, because that is not going to help our children. I have come here to ask for help for my children, whom I was proud to send to the Yugoslav People’s Army. I have come here to ask for help for the army, for the officers who are not allowed to fulfil their duties, who have been given an order to let our children act as clay pigeons. I have come to reproach the Prime Minister of this government for claiming foreign elements as culprits, for the fact that he considers Ante Marković a culprit. I am not interested in Ante Marković. Serbian children are children of this Parliament and this Parliament must take care of them. I do not want to criticize you because among you there are also people for whom I voted, but I am here to ask you to take the situation seriously and not to look for a culprit elsewhere, but to ask yourselves why you have not taken care of those children from 27th [June 1991] to today, 2nd [July 1991].10

Licht and Drakulić argue that in July 1991 the mothers’ movement was already heavily politically manipulated.11 They doubt that any group of citizens could storm the republic parliament without any official ‘support’ when the country was already at war. It is in any case certain that the mothers’ protest remained a spontaneous and unpoliticized gathering for a rather short period of time. The belligerent Belgrade officials quickly understood that the energy of the mothers’ demonstrations and their determination to protect their children could interfere with their political programmes. Soon after its emergence in Belgrade, the mothers’ movement started to spread across the country, but it also acquired a political dimension that triggered its fragmentation along national and ideological lines. Some Serbian mothers began to promote the idea that the Yugoslav People’s Army was the guarantor of peace and freedom on Yugoslav territory. These women carried banners saying ‘We are the Army as well’ (‘I mi smo armija’). Nena Kunijević became the leader of the so-called Movement of 8 9 10

11

Hughes et al., ‘Feminist resistance in Serbia’, p. 513. A Yugoslav People’s Army camp in Slovenia. Dušan Bauk and Jasna Janković. Radio interview with Nena Kunijević. <http://www.b92.net/emisije/ katarza/2001_0623.phtml> [accessed 2 May 2011]. Sonja Licht and Slobodan Drakulić, ‘When the Word for a Peacenik was Women: War and Gender in the Former Yugoslavia’ in Research on Russia and Eastern Europe: Women in Post-Communism, ed. by Barbara Wejnert, Metta Spencer and Slobodan Drakulić (New York: JAI Press, 1996), pp. 111–39.


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the mothers of Yugoslavia (‘Pokret majki Jugoslavije’), an organization that was informally known as the Bundesliga because its members appeared at public protests dressed in fur.12 As the above extract indicates, the activists who belonged to the group led by Kunijević were demonstrating against the Yugoslav federal government and its final President, Ante Marković, who resigned a few months after the mothers’ protest, on 20 December 1991, after his unsuccessful attempts to keep the federation together. They prompted the mothers to gather in front of the Federal Presidency rather than in front of the Ministry of Defence (Savezni sekretarijat narodne odbrane), which was in charge of the military operations in an atmosphere in which the Army practically did not have a civilian commander-in-chief. The Movement of the mothers of Yugoslavia had close links to the Serbian political regime as it was supposed to prepare the Serbian public for the retreat of the Yugoslav Army from Slovenia.13 However, the political agenda of some of the mothers from Serbia did not pass unnoticed. In September 1991, the Belgrade-based Centre for Anti-War Actions issued a statement in which it warned anti-war activists that the authorities were heavily manipulating ‘motherly feelings’: A very important and among the media particularly popular exponent of these manipulations is the so called Initiative Council of a non-existent organization of the ‘Serbian mothers’ led by Nena Kunijević. In her appearances, she is trying to give an impression that the mothers in Serbia are unanimous in their judgement of the Yugoslav People’s Army’s role in the civil war. She is doing this with a latent tendency towards toppling the supreme command of the armed forces, that is, its president Stjepan Mesić. [. . .] Many mothers of Serbian soldiers are coming to the Centre for Anti-War Actions because they do not want to be manipulated and they do not acknowledge Nena Kunijević as their legitimate representative. They go on with their request that the armed conflict must be unconditionally terminated.14

On the other hand, mothers from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia were protesting against the Yugoslav Army and requesting their sons’ immediate release from the Army’s camps. On 29 August 1991, another big gathering of Yugoslav mothers took place in Belgrade under the name Rampart of Love (Bedem ljubavi). The mothers arrived in buses from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia, and initially planned to protest in front of the Ministry of Defence, but the officials of the Army and the police prevented them from entering the city centre. The protestors were diverted towards the soldier barracks in Topčider (a Belgrade municipality) where they were joined by the activists of the Belgrade Centre for Anti-War Actions who did not know that mothers were not allowed to reach the Ministry. The Croat peace activist Zoran Oštrić, who attended the Rampart of Love gathering reported in ARKzin that the group of mothers around Nena Kunijević gave a TV and radio statement the day before in which they criticized the gathering and supported the Yugoslav 12 13

14

Bunda is a Serbo-Croatian word for a fur coat. The political connections of the movement with the regime were also evident in the case of Stanislava Buba Morina. A prominent member of the Movement of the mothers of Yugoslavia, she later became a government official in charge of refugees coming from Croatia and Bosnia. ‘Against the Manipulation of Mothers’, a statement of the Centre for Anti-War Actions, in Women for Peace (Belgrade: Žene u crnom, 1993), p. 14.


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People’s Army.15 In spite of this announcement, which was repeatedly aired on Belgrade TV and radio stations, this group was also present at the Topčider barracks. Among the Belgrade-based independent anti-war activists, however, there was a sentiment that the mothers from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were not trying to prevent their children from joining republic military forces that were at that time extant in these ex-republics. In Croatia, the newly established government gave the mothers more than twenty buses with which they visited Strasbourg, Brussels, and other European cities, where they repeated their requests towards the Yugoslav People’s Army. When these women came to Belgrade towards the end of summer 1991, they wanted to see the Yugoslav Army Generals Kadijević and Adžić (they were eventually addressed by General Marko Njegovanović). They did not express any wish to establish contacts with Serbian anti-war activists. Croatian, Bosnian and Macedonian mothers in Belgrade even formed a Council with their common requests. The lack of willingness to cooperate was not so favourably received by the Belgrade (independent) activists who supported the women. This is how Lepa Mlađenović, a well-known pacifist and feminist activist who was at the mothers’ gathering in Topčider remembers the event in question: I was very excited. The first night, the auditorium of the soldiers’ barracks in Belgrade was packed with women. It was amazing. Never before in this male space had there been such a scene. At the front of the auditorium, on the podium, were the ‘fathers’ — the army officers. The women were sitting everywhere, talking and eating. At one point women from villages in Croatia stopped listening to the men and started to softly sing a tender old Croat song. In contrast to the fathers in uniform with their hard strict military culture, the women’s voices were from another world. On the other hand, at that time if more than twenty women got together, I had to wonder how it happened. It usually meant that some larger political thought or organization stood behind the event.16

The mothers who gathered at the Topčider military camp were exposed to physical exhaustion and psychological strain. They were hardly given any food, there was no ventilation, and those parents and activists who left the building were not allowed to return. Anti-war activists from other parts of Yugoslavia were denied entrance, which was reserved only for regime-oriented journalists. Pavluško Imširović, a Belgrade civic activist who was supporting the women with his wife Jelka, was beaten and arrested. Around noon on the following day, the Army officials started to release the buses with women, after managing to separate those from Croatia from those from Bosnia-Herzegovina. The mothers’ protests to a considerable extent operated against their proclaimed objectives to stop the war and safeguard human lives. In spite of the good intentions of the majority, the mothers soon came under the influence of the nationalistic republic authorities, who became afraid of the women’s potential to challenge ethnocratic agendas. Along with more open instances of repression (arrests, threats, exhaustion, barricades, organized counter-meetings in favour of the Army (in Serbia), etc.), the fragmentation and eventual dispersion of the mothers’ demonstrations was a clear consequence of what would subsequently become a widely popular republic 15 16

ARKzin was a magazine of the Anti-War Campaign of Croatia. ARKzin, 1 (1991), p. 6. Hughes et al., ‘Feminist resistance in Serbia’, p. 520.


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governments’ strategy of involvement, which I call ‘grievance hijacking’. Grievance hijacking is a mechanism through which a nationalistic elite attempts to weaken an authentic social movement or initiative by appropriating some of its members and strategic choices, or surreptitiously inserting its own people into the protesting collective. Such ‘activists’, operating on behalf of the authorities, retain the main objective of the movement (in this case — the return of children from the army) while pairing it with a specific political goal which cannot be shared within the original group. This mechanism promotes confusion and distrust among the activists. It disables the feelings of solidarity by creating at least two groups who are ostensibly arguing for the same cause while having fundamentally different aims. Thus, instead of pacifying the situation and strengthening cooperation, the mothers’ movement actually incited ethnic tensions. Through constant internal dissonance, the mothers also ‘hijacked’ the Yugoslav peace movement. They drew a lot of public and media attention by exploiting ‘motherly feelings’, which were more easily understandable than the intricacies of the Yugoslav political realities. They did this at the expense of a true pacifist contention, which remained marginalized and unknown.17 In a complete perversion of the original objective of the movement, these women strengthened the patriarchal stereotype of the ‘mother of the nation’ proud to have a son fighting for his country. They also gave the impression that an authentically Yugoslav anti-war option was implausible because they did not manage to maintain communication or agree on their common goals. The failure of the mothers’ movement at the very beginning of the wars of Yugoslav succession had important implications for the nature of trans-Yugoslav women’s relations because it contributed to the instauration of ethnicity as the primary criterion of social life. Thus, the impact of the movement was contrary to the decades-long efforts of Yugoslav feminists to promote women’s solidarity and carve out a political position that afforded gender-related concerns precedence over national affiliations.

Yugoslav feminism and the wars of Yugoslav succession Belgrade feminist activists from very early on supported the mothers’ movement, although they understood that the initiative was prone to manipulation. Among the women who were particularly vocal at the beginning of the wars of Yugoslav succession were the members of the Belgrade Women’s Lobby (Beogradski ženski lobi). From September 1990, when the Lobby announced its Minimal programme of women requests (Minimalni program ženskih zahteva) until its last public statement in August 1998, the ‘lobbyists’ criticized state actions recognized as patriarchal, discriminatory and belligerent. All the declarations of the Lobby were intended to affirm women’s rights and promote the protection of women as the most numerous social group undergoing marginalization. Nadežda Ćetković, one of the founding members of the Lobby, reminisces: The Lobby has never been officially registered with the police. It does not have a stamp. It does not have a president, secretary, formal members or rules. It does not have financial means or a treasurer. It does not have materially supported projects or administration. 17

Korać, Linking arms, unpaginated.


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The members of the Lobby do not need that. All written texts, demonstrations or gatherings are a product of the members’ voluntary work. The cohesive force of the Lobby resides in the convictions of its members. Even when they had personal misunderstandings, the women agreed quickly on the Lobby’s actions.18

The emergence and operation of autonomous, anti-war feminist groups on Yugoslav territory cannot be understood without appreciating the long-term trajectories of Yugoslav feminist organization, which can be traced back to the second half of the nineteenth century. This engagement was from its very beginning coloured by a socialist ideology.19 In 1919, Croat and Serbian women founded the Secretariat of Women Socialists (Sekretarijat žena socijalista) which operated within the Socialist Workers’ Party (Socijalistička radnička partija). They could, thus, rather quickly establish ideological linkages with young communists and anti-fascists, who in 1941 initiated the People’s Liberation War (Narodno-oslobodilačka borba). Although Yugoslav partisans mostly counted on women’s material and logistic support (collection and distribution of food, finding accommodation for refugees and children etc.), many Yugoslav women were active fighters and a few of them were also declared national heroes by the post-war Tito regime. The political involvement of women intensified towards the end of the war and in the immediate post-war period. Women from all Yugoslav republics (except from Macedonia — they could not reach Bosanski Petrovac because of the as-yet-un liberated territories) established the Antifascist Women’s Front (Antifašistički front žena) whose principal tasks were the liberation of the country, the improvement of women’s social and educational standing, and the struggle for the equality between women and men. Once the war was over, the Front represented Yugoslav women in the international women’s movement, and was one of the founding members of the International Democratic Women Federation. Yugoslavia’s progressive legislature equalized the legal status of men and women in all spheres of life, and incorporated all international conventions pertaining to women’s rights.20 Yugoslav women voted for the Constitutional Assembly as early as 1945, and abortions were legalized in 1951. These sweeping emancipatory measures — unprecedented in the history of the Yugoslav people — never really succeeded in destabilizing deeply entrenched patriarchal values. Given that the Front was numerically more powerful than the Communist Party itself, the Party authorities started to consider it a potentially threatening organization. Faced with political pressure, the Front disbanded in 1953 and decided to join the Union of the Socialist Working People. The argument of the regime was that socialism as an ideology already incorporated the necessity of equalizing the status of men and women, and that feminism as such was no longer needed. This was an important point of bifurcation, the result of which was that any feminist engagement would be perceived as non-authentic and bourgeois. The abolition of the Antifascist Women’s Front was a serious blow for the emancipation 18

19 20

Nadežda Ćetković, Ženska politička perspektiva — 77 apela, zahteva, protesta, informacija, parola Beogradskog ženskog lobija (Belgrade: Beogradski ženski lobi, 1998), p. 9. Svetlana Slapšak, ‘Rat i žene u bivšoj Jugoslaviji’, Republika, 145–146. Slobodanka Nedović, Savremeni feminizam: Položaj i uloga žena u društvu (Belgrade: CESID, 2005).


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of women although their social standing continued to improve along with the economic development of the country.21 In spite of many positive trends, Yugoslavia still witnessed appreciable differences between regions and between republics, as well as serious gender-related urban-rural imbalances. For many women there was a painful discrepancy between the proclaimed equality policies of the communist regime and their everyday social reality, which was coloured by male dominance, sexism and discrimination. In the wake of the global 1968 student demonstrations, there were groups of highly educated women in Yugoslav urban centres, mostly Zagreb and Belgrade, who were dissatisfied by the position of women in Yugoslav society. They were at the same time well-informed about the contemporary feminist tendencies in the Western world. As a result of this, feminist ideas became ever more present in the Yugoslav public space, especially in Croatia, where a feminist agenda developed within the Croatian Sociological Society (Hrvatsko sociološko društvo) as early as the first half of the 1970s. Yugoslav intellectual feminism reached its culmination with the conference Comrade Woman. The Woman Question: A New Approach? (Drug-ca žena. Žensko pitanje. Novi pristup?), which took place in 1978.22 This conference was an important event as it marked the penetration of the ‘second wave of feminism’ into the realm of Eastern Europe. It also connected Yugoslav feminists both synchronically and diachronically: on the one hand, Yugoslav feminists started recovering their obscured (pre-war and war) traditions and, on the other, they forged linkages between Yugoslav republics and the world. Jasmina Tešanović, one of the organizers of the conference, says: Everything did not start in 1978 . . . there is some kind of continuity, we are preserving something that has been going on for centuries . . . so, that [the Conference] was the first feminist gathering in South-East Europe; it took place away from the Party establishment and it did not ask for the Party’s approval. The three of us [with Dunja Blažević and Žarana Papić] were doing everything alone. That was not some kind of ‘partisan’ feminism, there were girls and women from all over the world, among them there were also stars of the feminist movement [. . .] when the conference was over, the press started attacking us in an organized fashion. We were ‘terrorists’, we were destroying society, we were superficial, bourgeois, we were importing a foreign ideology into our fantastic country.23

The 1978 Belgrade conference highlighted a major characteristic of the new Yugoslav feminism. Although the feminists’ critique was directed towards the authorities, their engagement was not anti-socialist. The conference took place at the Belgrade Student Cultural Centre (Studentski kulturni centar) which, although a hotbed of critical social energy, was financed by the state. The activists had a strong Yugoslav and leftist orientation, critical of the hypocrisy of the communist rulers. This is nicely captured by Dragan Klaić, a male conference participant: 21

22

23

For a detailed analysis of the Yugoslav Antifascist Women’s Front see Lydia Sklevicky, Žene, konji, ratovi (Zagreb: Ženska infoteka, 1996), chapters 2 and 3. Blagojević, ‘Ka vidljivoj ženskoj istoriji’; Chiara Bonfiglioli, Belgrade 1978: Remembering the conference Drug-ca žena. Žensko pitanje — novi pristup? (2010) <http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl> [accessed on 2 May 2011]. As cited in Žene za mir, ed. by Staša Zajović (Belgrade: Žene u crnom, 2007), p. 14.


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You have to understand that we were not criticizing Yugoslav self-management socialism as such. We were criticizing the sexist elements of the Yugoslav system with which we generally identified. In that sense, it was not a radical critique of Yugoslav socialism . . . These were progressive, leftist intellectuals, but anti-dogmatic, critical, especially of the official Yugoslav ideology and the ideological jargon and the ideological facade, but not anti-socialist . . . and with a steady critical analysis of capitalism, as well.24

In the wake of the conference, two groups called Women and Society were established, first in Zagreb and then in Belgrade. In 1986, the Belgrade group defined itself as feminist and operated without any state financial or institutional support. Although it faced much resistance from governmental organizations devoted to women, feminist engagement led to a proliferation of workshops and public discussions visited by feminists from across Yugoslavia. Yugoslav feminists also organized three pan-Yugoslav gatherings, the last of which took place in Ljubljana in 1991. In such an atmosphere, some women felt that the moment was ripe for direct interventions in women’s lives. They decided to establish SOS hotlines for women and children who were victims of violence and to give them spaces for talking about their experiences. The first SOS hotline was opened in Zagreb in 1988, the second in Ljubljana (1989), and the third in Belgrade (1990). The establishment of these hotlines underlined the second major characteristic of Yugoslav (and world) feminism to have important political implications. As Yugoslav feminism developed, there was an ever deeper division between theorists one the one hand and practitioners / activists on the other. These two groups accused each other of not doing enough for the women’s cause. The Yugoslav feminists of the 1970s were without exception highly educated, upper-class women occupying university posts or possessing other professional affiliations which were mostly intellectual or theoretical in nature. Positioned in the more or less secure social context of Yugoslav socialism, these women did not have a political agenda which would have been fundamentally at odds with the ruling regime. As it was the case with some other (non-feminist) civic activists in Belgrade, many of these women could embrace feminism as a certain kind of (intellectual) lifestyle because they were children of well-established party functionaries, Yugoslav People’s Army generals, ambassadors or other public figures.25 Many of them grew up in politically-orientated environments that provided them access to informal networks of power and knowledge. As members of a supra-national, trans-European urban class, these women had at their disposal both intellectual and social tools that made it possible for them to engage in non-radically transformative civic activism. However, as republic nationalisms became omnipresent throughout Yugoslavia, some feminists felt that they brought with them sweeping militarization and patriarchy that threatened to undo the women-oriented legacies of Yugoslav socialism. With the deterioration of the political situation in Yugoslavia, feminist work acquired a more political dimension. In the Serbian context, it tried to clearly distance itself from the rising nationalist sentiment. That is why some of the Belgrade SOS hotline activists — who were not hitherto politically engaged — decided that they could not do without more politically-orientated actions. They established the above-mentioned 24 25

Bonfiglioli, p. 100. In Belgrade, for example, Daša Duhaček, Jasmina Tešanović, Biljana Kovačević-Vučo, Borka Pavićević etc.


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Belgrade Women’s Lobby which issued around twenty anti-war public statements and organized anti-war gatherings. These activities could not have been particularly effective as the organizers remained invisible to the wider public and only had access to already anti-war orientated media. The symbiosis of the theoretical and the practical was never as successful as it was in the Belgrade-based Women in Black (Žene u crnom), a feminist pacifist organization founded in October 1991. Staša Zajović, the key figure of the organization, was active in the group Women and Society and was also a co-founder of the SOS hotline and the Belgrade Women’s Lobby. Soon after the establishment of the Centre for Anti-War Actions, some women grew increasingly dissatisfied with its operation because of the way it perpetuated gender inequalities. Staša Zajović reminiscences: My engagement at the Centre for Anti-War Actions was a logical continuation of my antimilitarist attitude. Mostly women worked at the Centre, so it looked to me that peace activism had to do with only one sex, as if it were a part of our traditional women’s role: caring for others, consolation, hiding, support giving. That it was an invisible, hidden, unacknowledged women’s work. As a feminist I know that it was a continuation of our house work. It was something that had a therapeutic effect, but it did not have a transformative character. It was important for me to establish a women’s pacifist group, so that women’s work would not remain invisible and unacknowledged, because that would have been unjust. Our engagement for peace is not our natural role, it is not our motherly duty, it is our political choice (author’s emphasis) and our cultural stance.26

The Belgrade-based Women in Black have articulated a radical anti-nationalist attitude. In doing so, they have assumed a particularly marginal and precarious position on the Serbian political scene which does not appreciate the complexity of mutually perpetuating, antithetical forces operating within the (post-)Yugoslav political arena. Arguing in favour of the plurality of personal accounts and state histories, anti-war orientated Belgrade feminists faced a serious dilemma as the dissolution of Yugoslavia became imminent. On the one hand, they could not easily abandon their Yugoslav attitude, which was a matter of personal, political and geographical orientation articulated during the most prosperous decades in post-Second World War Yugoslavia. On the other hand, it was impossible for them to argue against the separation of other Yugoslav republics as that might have implied that they were in favour of the military means used by the Serbian regime to secure the integrity of the country. As one Belgrade anti-war feminist activist says: The whole world is my country. I want to work for values that are more open than nationalism. When Slovenia and Croatia wanted independence, I supported unity, but that meant I supported the war. I wanted to support unity, but I needed to respect their choice for independence and I could not support crimes. I had political doubts about the motivations of some people who wanted separate states. Because populations in the republics are so mixed, I knew that separating Yugoslavia would be very difficult and risky. I am not happy with the nationalistic state and their patterns of domination.27 26 27

Zajović et al., pp. 16–17. Hughes et al., ‘Feminist resistance in Serbia’, p. 522.


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By waging wars in other Yugoslav republics ‘on behalf of’ Yugoslavia, the Milošević regime permanently hijacked Yugoslavism. Many women anti-war activists in Serbia realized that the new state of affairs would not allow them to identify as Yugoslav. Although a number of them were ethnically Serb, many found it impossible to embrace such a ‘constricted’ national identity. In a letter sent to a friend in Zagreb and published in ARKzin, Lepa Mlađenović, a prominent Belgrade anti-war activist, writes: We the feminists [in Serbia] are currently in a crevice, without a national identity. We were Yugoslavs [Jugoslovenke], but that concept no longer comprises everything that it used to — it is now reserved for Yugo-Serbs and we are not Yugoslavs anymore. And to be Serbs [Srpkinje] now looks like siding with the ruling politics. And that is impossible. Well, in any case, I am a woman, feminist, lesbian and I do not care about not having a national identity, because all of these are important to me and all of them I feel fully.28

The Milošević regime not only usurped the idea of Yugoslavism for its myopic nationalist goals, but successfully capitalized on the legacy and popular support of the Yugoslav Communist Party. After the introduction of political pluralism in Yugoslavia and immediately prior to the country’s disintegration, the regime continued to operate within the framework of a ‘socialist’ party (Socialist Party of Serbia). This coupling of nationalistic rhetoric with the illusory ‘socialist policies’ of the corrupted authorities contaminated the idea of the left in the Serbian/ (post-)Yugoslav political space. Such unusual linkages provided a fertile ground for an ideological confusion that forced many anti-war feminist activists to opt for a ‘lesser evil’ and side with political actors who would not — under normal circumstances — be considered their allies. Thus, some anti-war feminists found themselves among protesters against the regime who disliked the regime not so much because of its belligerent character, but because of its communist legacy. This peculiar co-habitation of divergent political options is an important feature of civic engagement in Serbia in the 1990s, which existed up to the overthrow of Milošević’s rule. This is illustrated by the following extract: Some of us believed in some of the socialist ideas that were legitimated by former Communist governments; relative social equality, free education, free health care and access to abortion, inexpensive housing and cultural events. [. . .] But we are facing the fact that the realisation of our beliefs has come to an end. So for those of us who are not Serbians yet, who are not Yugoslavs anymore and feel the loss of women’s rights with the fall of Communism, there is a lot of identity work to be done. [. . .] We know that to overthrow the present government we have to vote for another one that will be against us, and we must take that responsibility; we know that if we are to manifest our disobedience towards the war and be noticed, we have to stand in the opposition’s street-crowds and feel awful among sexist, royalist speeches and songs; we know that if we stand on the streets as small women’s groups against war we expose ourselves to insults, but we still do that and feel brave [. . .] we know that if we are to say aloud who we are and what we want there will be no historically accepted political patterns for our experience of our language. And yet here we are.29 28 29

Lepa Mlađenović, ‘Draga Nataša’, ARKzin, 4 (1992), p. 16. Lepa Mlađenović and Vera Litričin, ‘Belgrade Feminists 1992: Separation, guilt and identity crisis’, Feminist Review, 45 (1993), 113–19, (p. 119).


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Moreover, the beginning of the war on Yugoslav territory impacted powerfully on the nature of relationships between feminists in Belgrade and Zagreb. The most important feminist initiative in Croatia was the Centre for Women Victims of War (Centar za žene žrtve rata), founded in Zagreb in November 1992. Similarly to the Belgrade-based Women in Black, the activists of the Centre were harsh critics of the Croatian nationalist regime and the Croatian Catholic Church that supported its policies. The operation of the Centre was based on the principle that assistance would be offered to all women in need of help, regardless of their ethnic origin, nationality or religion. It represented a shelter for thousands of women refugees coming from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Although the majority of Yugoslav feminist activists were interested in maintaining contact after the initiation of armed conflict, opportunities for communication gradually diminished in number. This was primarily due to severed telephone lines and the cessation of postal services, but ideological-emotional tensions also appeared. Women were forced to meet at feminist gatherings outside their republics of residence. Vesna Kesić, a well-known Yugoslav journalist and co-founder of the Centre for Women Victims of War, herself organized one of these meetings: Communication was always there . . . exchange of information and some kind of loyalty, but joint actions were impossible . . . apart from that, our situations were appreciably different as well as our perceptions of . . . how Serbia looked in Croatia and how Croatia looked in Serbia, these were different things . . . we had our first women’s pacifist meeting in 1993 and I myself organized one in Geneva where we also brought women from Bosnia . . . there were attempts at multilateral gatherings from the very beginning, but all of us had our own priorities . . . then, we all gathered in 1995 in Beijing for a conference on women . . . we were together all the time, everyone was coming to us saying: ‘hmm, these Balkan women know how to have fun’, so they wanted to be with us . . . and then, we would all sing Yugoslav songs . . .30

While such gatherings obviously had a certain emotional relevance for the women participating, they were not always favourably looked upon by other members of the anti-war community. ‘Having fun’ far away from home and ‘singing Yugoslav songs’ in Geneva or Beijing would have been impossible for the vast majority of Yugoslav people in the first half of the 1990s. The fact that many anti-war activists — thanks to donations (especially in Croatia) and previously-acquired social and symbolic capital — were able to travel while their countries were under international sanctions (Serbia) or in a full-fledged military conflict (Croatia and Bosnia), lent some of them the ominous label of anti-war profiteers. This label signified that some activists acquired privileges and positions to which they probably would not have access in normal circumstances. This aspect of anti-war engagement would become particularly relevant in the post-war period. It would be, however, erroneous to think that the international gatherings of Yugoslav feminists were always pleasant encounters. Whereas the core of the Belgrade feminists assumed an anti-national orientation from very early on, the initiation of the armed conflict marked an important fissure within the Croatian feminist 30

Interview with Vesna Kesić, journalist, Zagreb, 10/01/2010.


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circles. Some Croat feminists began to support their nationalist regime in a way which made them attribute the responsibility for the war to all members of the Serbian nation. They imposed a clear-cut division between the aggressors (Serbs) on the one hand, and the victims (Croats and Muslims) on the other. This divisive line was particularly relevant in relation to the issue of rapes during the war and the question of whether the raped women were victims as women or as members (and even personifications) of their nation.31 At the same time, nationalist feminist activists began to promote themselves as the representatives of all Croatian women. This position was criticized as illegitimate by other feminists in Croatia who maintained their authentic anti-national and socialist stance. In her editorial for the first issue of the feminist magazine Kruh i ruže (Bread and roses), which she founded in Zagreb along with the ‘women’s archive’ and publishing house Women’s Directory (Ženska infoteka), Ðurđa Knežević, a well-known feminist and anti-war activist, notes: If the public space for women in the former regime [Tito’s regime] was narrow, after the 1990s election and especially towards the beginning of the war, it was facing complete extinction. In those conditions, the acceptance of nationalism among such groups [of Croatian feminists] represented only a possibility of having a much wider activist space which also brings sweeping social acclaim. But they do not ask themselves what is the quality of that society and — even more importantly — what is their role in that society. However, it is evident that such a ticket for entering into the political arena is wrong. [. . .] the nationalistically orientated feminists and feminist groups used this occasion to yet again play the role which was given to them in the male-dominated political sphere. They are appearing as advocates of transcendental collectivities of Croats or Muslims (or of Serbs in Serbia) by repeating their old roles of wives, mothers, sisters, care-givers . . .32

These tensions became apparent, for example, during a ‘third country’ meeting organized by Italian feminists in Venice in 1992. In the spirit of feminist solidarity, the organizers wanted to create a platform for the exchange of painful experiences which women had at both sides of the frontline. Such an enterprise turned out to be much more challenging than had initially been expected. Nadežda Ćetković, a Belgrade feminist and co-founder of the Belgrade Women’s Lobby took part in this gathering. She reminisces: The Italian women were mediators, but communication was very hard, almost impossible. I felt that the discussion was, in a way, the imposition of guilt upon us [feminists from Serbia]. We had already been protesting on the street here [in Belgrade], and had been exposing our bodies against the regime. That wasn’t naive, because we were approached by people who were spitting at us, pushing us, pulling our hair out, shouting that we are traitors; however, all that somehow hadn’t been recognized as sufficient, and I couldn’t figure out what we were supposed to do — to go to Zagreb and let the bombs

31

32

See Mass Rape: The War Against Women in Bosnia-Herzegovina, ed. by Alexandra Stiglmayer (Lincoln, NE University of Nebraska Press, 1994) for a controversial position of the American feminist and lawyer Catherine MacKinnon on the rapes in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the reactions of Yugoslav feminists such as Slapšak, ‘Rat i žene’. See also Maja Korać, ‘Ethnic conflict, rape and feminism: the case of Yugoslavia’, in Drakulić et al. (eds.), pp. 247–265. Ðurđa Knežević, ‘“Mi” nasuprot “ja” ili problem političkog identiteta u feminističkom odnosno ženskom “pokretu” u Hrvatskoj’, Kruh i ruže, 1 (1994).


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fall onto our heads?! The frustration was enormous, and I did try to understand, but my feelings were hurt.33

Deep scars to the relationship between Belgrade and Zagreb, the two principal centres of Yugoslav feminism, did not appear only because some women decided to actively embrace their national identity in radically changed political circumstances. In a highly volatile political climate characterized by ethnic nationalism and a lack of communication, even those sites of social life which would claim to be alternative and counter-hegemonic find themselves threatened by the process of ethnicization. National identity is not only ‘naturally’ rediscovered as an important dimension of the self, but it tends to be automatically attributed also to those who cannot personally identify with such an affiliation. This is particularly evident in environments that are less familiar with the complexities of the original social and political context. In one of the first ‘third country’ meetings in 1991, three pacifist feminist activists from Zagreb and three from Belgrade toured Germany within the framework of the manifestation ‘Week of Peace’ organized by a group of pacifists from Mainz. The activists were invited to express their views on the Yugoslav crisis and inform the audience about their own civic engagement in cities across Germany. It was also an opportunity for these women to meet after several months of severed communication channels. As their tour unfolded, they realized that there were politico-emotional issues on which the two groups could not agree. One of the activists from Croatia who took part in the tour remembers: The problem was that we did not have a closed space in which we could talk, but we had to perform, we had to play our roles and we did play our roles of Serbian and Croat women wanting to cooperate. That is a very funny thing — you actually become your own stereotype and you go on playing the role, you cannot resist it. When you begin, you are introduced as someone from Zagreb, the other one is introduced as someone from Belgrade, you are immediately categorized. [. . .] We [women from Croatia] were talking about what we were doing, what kind of projects we were working on . . . they [women from Serbia] had a more political approach which was very effective there because the German pacifist circles were very left-orientated . . . we were saying that those republics which wanted to separate should be allowed to do so, whereas they argued that Yugoslavia should remain united . . . but when I think about that today, I realise that we were saying things on the basis of the context from which we were coming . . .34

More than anything, however, these women pacifists had personal war-related experiences that were emotionally charged and therefore went beyond the level of rational understanding and argumentation. They were coming from fundamentally different political and social realities: the activists from Croatia were experiencing war in their own hometowns and were afraid for their loved ones in a purely existential sense. The women from Serbia did not have a first-hand experience of war and they, at least at the beginning of the conflict, could afford a much more political approach to their engagement. The above-cited activist continues: I know that I lost my temper so many times there . . . we were such easy prey to our own stereotypes . . . for example, Biljana’s [Biljana Kašić, a member of the group] children 33 34

Korać, 1998, unpaginated. Interview with AB, peace activist, Zagreb, 20/06/2010.


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were still small at that time and they were living close to a Yugoslav People’s Army camp, so she was constantly in touch with her husband . . . and the women from Belgrade both understand and at the same time do not fully understand, because they somehow did not believe, they could not believe what was going on . . . for example, my grandmother lived in Dalmatia in a village which was occupied and when I said that the village was occupied, that she could not move, a women from Belgrade said: ‘you are seeing it all in terms of territories’. And I was not interested in any territories, those were some kind of facts, they could not move and some other people could move . . . it was very difficult to explain . . .35

As the armed conflict unfolded, the asymmetries of power and the differing social realities of the sides involved in it were becoming ever more evident in everyday life. The harsh actuality of war pushed the capacities of understanding and empathy to their very limits. Although many Belgrade activists were far away from either financial or existential serenity, their position could not be compared to those who were in the midst of military destruction. Such differences stimulated fundamental concerns among Serbian anti-war feminist activists regarding their political agency and the purposefulness of their civic engagement. While an emotional mixture of guilt and shame was rejected by women at the ‘extremes’ of the political spectrum — anarchists and nationalists — others experienced it as members of the nation on behalf of which serious war crimes were committed. Some women started to wonder about possible dialogic platforms which would enable communication and allow for an exchange of painful but radically different experiences. After the end of their nationally-orientated regimes in 2000, both Serbia and Croatia opted for the painful process of becoming members of the European Union. This meant that the legal and social status of women became an issue of state concern, yet another item on a long list of legal and political measures that the ascending countries would need to undertake before they could assume their place in the community of European nations. Such a development ‘united’ state bureaucrats and feminist activists in their goal of improving women’s social conditions. On the other hand, it put the subversive character of women’s engagement at stake and reduced the space for autonomous women organizing. In the post-war regroupings on the civic scene, some of these women managed to firmly position themselves within the new system of power relations in which state institutions, which have recovered their influence and legitimacy, are in need of ‘expert knowledge’. This is how Nadežda Radović, a long-term Yugoslav feminist activist, evaluates recent trends in the sphere of women’s organizing: [. . .] We do not need courses in which one all of a sudden becomes an expert (ekspertkinja), but a patient articulation of a media and institutional space for the recognition, support and affirmation of women’s need and requests . . . [. . .] some women found the right arrangement, they have formed a network, they have assumed positions which bring them both financial and social benefits (‘i mast i čast’) . . . they travel, visit international conferences and gatherings without any obligation to write something, to articulate something, they have well paid projects . . . those who do not notice this have lost touch with reality [. . .] these are, however, quasi-women networks, they are actually networks of 35

Ibid.


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power [. . .] but the question remains as to the extent to which such networking excludes all other women, all of those who are neither daughters, nor mistresses, nor friends of the rich women . . .36

In such circumstances, some Belgrade feminists without a substantive activist experience benefited from the appreciable amount of intellectual capital accrued throughout the previous two decades within the framework of Yugoslav feminism. This is particularly evident in the case of the Belgrade Centre for Women’s Studies (Centar za ženske studije) which was founded in 1991 by the afore-mentioned feminist group Woman and Society. The Centre acted both as an educational institution offering programmes in the field of feminist and gender theory, and as an independent women’s activist group. It represented an important place of women’s gathering, both socially and intellectually. However, the Centre has recently decided to be incorporated into the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Belgrade, where its former leaders appear in the capacity of associate and full professors. A general lack of political subversiveness among feminist activists in the postwar Yugoslav space is a consequence of the fusion of externally propagated (and internally poorly attenuated) neo-liberal political and economic tendencies, on the one hand, and a long-term orientation of the (post-)Yugoslav civic spheres towards human rights on the other. The insistence on human rights at the expense of the social and political rights of women, workers and the youth, for example, is the legacy of the civic engagement in the socialist context in which, contrary to the current trend, social rights were promoted at the expense of human rights. Thus, while engaging with instances of gender discrimination, feminist organizations in the post-war period, while continuing the tradition of feminist anti-war organizing in the newly created national frameworks, generally are not interested in destabilizing the political paradigm that might be the cause of such discrimination. Feminism in the (post-) Yugoslav context has, in general, lost its critical stance towards the state apparatus. It has succumbed to the process by which the state delegates to women’s organizations a portion of its own responsibility to care for the social welfare of its (women) citizens. Thus, instead of positioning themselves in a critical relationship to the state, the post-war feminists in the Yugoslav space have become a part of a ‘meso-level civil society’ which acts as an intermediary between the legislators and the citizens. These tend to be well-paid posts which are not conducive to authentic political transformations.

Conclusion Any interpretation of the wars of Yugoslav succession and the grass-roots efforts made to obstruct them is deficient if it neglects their very important gender dimension. Women’s anti-war and pacifist activism, which started unfolding already in the early 1990s, initiated a cycle of contention that was a reaction to the rapid degradation of the political circumstances in the former Yugoslavia. The civic engagement of Yugoslav women in relation to the Yugoslav wars constitutes a concise illustration 36

Nadežda Radović, ‘Pevanje i plakanje’, Vreme, 622 (2002). <http://www.vreme.com/cms/view.php?id=328708> [accessed 15 April 2011].


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of the conceptual differentiation between anti-war activism on the one hand, and pacifist activism on the other. Whereas many Yugoslav mothers protested against the Yugoslav People’s Army and their sons’ involvement in it (anti-war engagement), they did not manage to articulate a broader political platform that would have established peace and non-violence as values which supersede political, ethnic and religious boundaries (pacifist engagement). The rapid suppression of the mothers’ movement is a consequence of their inability to forge stronger links with the extant instances of women’s political organizing in the Yugoslav space. A biologically-based motive may be a powerful driving force behind civic engagement, but it must undergo a process of politicization if it is to be employed as a basis for a sustained social campaign. Staying at the level of parental concern or acting on the basis of party instructions, these women could not generate an authentically pacifist resistance to the politics of nationalism and the sweeping militarization of their societies. The failure of the mothers’ anti-war movement is also reflective of an important feature of Yugoslav feminist engagement, which intensified in the 1970s and continued throughout the wars of Yugoslav succession. However internally divergent and theoretically advanced it might have been, this engagement could not have been articulated as a structural intervention into the Yugoslav social reality that would have established gender as a politically relevant category. Yugoslav feminist activism was practiced by an upper-class intellectual establishment that had socialism as an ideological undercurrent. Such theory-orientated initiatives could not have an appreciable political charge given that they were not specifically addressing the state as the legislation provider. The goals of the feminist organizations were, to a considerable extent, already embedded in the political agenda of the regime. These women were, then, assuming an anti-political stance criticizing a hypocritical political culture in which the actual status of women was not substantively improved. In such circumstances, they remained distant from the centres of political decision-making. With the ascendency of ethnic nationalism, however, Yugoslav feminism parted company with the state ideology and thus excluded itself even more from official political life. The main — inevitably male — political figures in the post-Yugoslav space were often legitimized by diverse international powers. This, in turn, further weakened and marginalized women’s anti-national political voice. The patriarchal/ ethno-nationalistic backlash which stimulated the rapid (anti-)politicization of Yugoslav feminism concurrently contributed to its fragmentation, both geographically and ideologically. As communication channels became increasingly precarious, there were ever fewer opportunities for an exchange of painful experiences and divergent interpretations of reality. Thus, many participants in the mothers’ movement practically stepped into a political void in which they could not establish linkages with the traditions of Yugoslav feminist organizations. Such a state of affairs made them prone to nationalistic manipulations and led to the eventual disintegration of their initiatives. The (anti-)politicization of the Yugoslav feminist engagement, which manifested itself as a further distancing away from the centres of political power, can be seen as a social appropriation of the already existing pan-Yugoslav feminist networks for an anti-war cause.37 Feminist activists were the principal organizers of and participants 37

Doug McAdam, Sid Tarrow, and Charles Tilly, Dynamics of Contention (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).


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in the peace engagement in Serbia and Croatia because they could draw upon the extant traditions of women’s political organizing in the Yugoslav space.38 Feminist anti-war activists realized that, however dissatisfied they might have been with the status of women during communist rule, their position would be much worse in the largely re-patriarchalized and re-clericalized post-Yugoslav environments. Therefore, the process of political mobilization and pacifist actor-constitution was more than anything else an effort to resist the powerful nationalizing discourse and preserve inter-republic communication. The need to maintain contact as an investment into a peaceful future coexistence was the central engine behind the pacifist enterprises organized by (post-)Yugoslav feminists. Finally, the political potential of Yugoslav feminism dissipated along with the disintegration of the political space in which it developed. Yugoslavia as a supranational community of culturally and linguistically proximate people only in its entirety constituted the right framework for feminist organizing which should be at variance with the nation-state. The post-war period, characterized by the unobstructed reproduction of the former elites, along with sweeping economic degradation of the population and rising social inequality, deepened the already existing cleavages among women activists, and created new ones. Those feminist activists who have adopted the deleterious neo-liberal political strategy, both as a means of physical survival and career advancement, in the post-Yugoslav territory, have incorporated their engagement into the process of normalizing and legitimizing the newly created nation-states. By doing so, they have also contributed to the decay of the legacies of Yugoslav feminism, which could not have endured the aggressive patriarchal backlash. They have, thus, closed a cycle of politico-civic engagement that has not only failed to appreciably improve the status and political agency of women, but has actually left many of them in a worse position in the geographically, politically and socially fragmented, and both economically and intellectually impoverished post-Yugoslav space.

Notes on contributor Bojan Bilić is a PhD candidate in Political Sociology at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, where he is working on a thesis on (post-)Yugoslav anti-war engagement. Correspondence to: bojan.bilic.09@ucl.ac.uk.

38

Given a lack of longer-standing civic traditions, Sarajevo did not witness as intense a feminist engagement as Belgrade and Zagreb, but women did self-organize on the Bosnian territory both during the war and in the post-war period (although not necessarily on feminist principles). Nada Ler Sofronić, a professor at the University of Sarajevo, was one of the organizers of the 1978 feminist conference in Belgrade. For a discussion of post-war women’s engagement in Bosnia-Herzegovina, see, for example e.g., Elissa Helms, ‘East and West Kiss: Gender, Orientalism and Balkanism in Muslim-Majority Bosnia-Herzegovina’, Slavic Review, 67 (2008), 88–119.


slovo, Vol. 23 No. 2, Autumn, 2011, 114–31

Radical Right Culture and the Youth: The Development of Contemporary Hungarian Political Culture Erin Saltman School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

This paper addresses the rise in support for radical-right parties and organizations in Hungary and its relation to the post-communist development of civil society. Unlike the primarily liberal democratic political youth movements in the first years after Hungarian transformation, the current youth population is showing higher tendencies towards support of traditionalism and of radical-right organizations. Rejuvenated by the radical-right political party Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik) and its related radical civic programs and organizations, the radical-right is creating a strong social network for young Hungarians, building cultural, historical and community structures and having an affect on everything from music and fashion to value formation. The aim of this paper is two-fold. First it is necessary to track the structural political developments that opened the door for radicalism in Hungarian political culture, solidifying strong networks of symbolic politics and value orientation over economic and structural platforms to gain electoral support. The secondary analysis looks at how the contemporary radical-right networks have rejuvenated their support base with modern political mechanisms in order to become less marginalized and more intertwined with political culture and civil society compared with previous radical-right movements in Hungary.

Introduction Is liberal democracy at death’s door in Central and East Europe? This question was posed by Ivan Krastev in an article in 2007 looking at the array of developing forms of extreme nationalism, populism, corruption and manipulation scattered within the post-communist political system. Hungary was listed among the countries of potential liberal backsliders, depicted as a nation in a ‘cold civil war’ caught between a shrewd post-communist Socialist government that had admitted to lying to win the 2006 elections, and a populist anti-communist opposition that left a door © School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 2011


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open to radicalism.1 This depiction of Hungary is different to the one given in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the country was seen as providing the best hope for post-communist liberalism, leading dissident movements and market reforms even before the official end of Socialism.2 However, much has changed in recent years and a strong sociopolitical network for radical-right politics and organizations has emerged.3 Support for the radical-right more than doubled between 2003 and 2009 from 10 per cent to 21 per cent.4,5 This support was solidified in the 2010 National Elections when the radical-right party Jobbik (Movement for a Better Hungary) won 16.67 per cent, making them the third largest party in Hungary and the strongest radical-right party in the Central and East European region.6 A key factor in Jobbik’s success has also been their popularity among the youth. Hungarian polling agent Médian reported that up to a quarter of Jobbik’s electoral support came from first time youth voters.7 The purpose of this paper is to address the rise in support for the radical-right party Jobbik and its related organizations, particularly among the youth, in relation to the post-communist development of strong political bipolarity and weak civil society. After large decentralization efforts post-1989, few civic institutions or organizations existed, while Hungary was reforming parts of its identity and culture. This article argues that where liberal and left-wing political groups have failed to cultivate a vibrant sociopolitical civil society, radical-right networks are developing a new sense of political culture and a community environment on local and national levels. The modern social networks used to create this alternative civil society are especially attractive to youth cohorts. This paper is divided into two parts. The first part looks at the political party structure as it has developed since 1989 and the shifts that have occurred, creating an opportunity for radical-right platforms as they are seen today. This section focuses on the process of polarization in the Hungarian electorate, largely attributed to the right-wing Fidesz party, as well as the fracturing 1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Ivan Krastev, ‘The strange death of the liberal consensus’, Journal of Democracy, 18, 4 (2007), 56–63 (p. 56). Jan-Werner Müller, ‘The Hungarian Tragedy’, Dissent Magazine, (Spring 2011), <www.dissentmagazine.org/ article/?article=3906>. I define ‘radical-right’ here using outlines put forth by Cas Mudde, wherein a party is classified as radical-right if it portrays a combination of nativism, authoritarianism and anti-democratic rhetoric as well as showing opposition to key features of liberal democracy and the protection of minority groups. By this definition the previous party MIÉP and the current party Jobbik are the only two Hungarian parties to fall under this category. See Cas Mudde, Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). Michael J Jordan, ‘The Roots of Hate’, World Policy Journal, (2010), 99–111, at <http://www.mitpressjournals. org/doi/pdf/10.1162/wopj.2010.27.3.99>. Think tanks and media outlets have also linked this support to negative trends of anti-semitism, homophobia and anti-foreigner sentiments. Anti-foreigner sentiment has risen from 37 per cent in 2003 to 55 per cent in 2007 (surveys done by the Budapest based think tank Political Capital as reported in Jordon (2010)). This is also confirmed by the DEREX Index showing steady growth of Hungarian predispositions to radical-right sentiments since around 2003. Looking at the Bulgarian Ataka, Serbian Radical Party, Greater Romanian Party and Liberal Democratic Party in Russia, Jobbik is currently considered the strongest radical-right party within the region, considering electoral success and structural organization. Miroslav Mareš, ‘Transnational Activism of Extreme Right Youth in East Central Europe’, Paper for the International Conference: Far right networks in Northern and Eastern Europe, (Uppsala University, 25–27 March, 2010). ‘Political Opinion in Hungary — Medián and Tárki’, The Hungarian Spectrum (24 June 2009).


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and eventual fall of the liberal-left camp. The second part of the paper analyses the rise of the radical-right in Hungary, starting with its early identity within the marginalized party MIÉP and leading up to the successful Jobbik. The strengthening of a distinct radical-right identity has gone beyond purely electoral support, developing grassroots organizations and movements attached to Jobbik to help create a rejuvenated radical-right culture in Hungary.

The political party spectrum post-1989 Hungary began its first years as a democracy eager to make changes based on a Western political model, immersing itself in international organizations.8 Since all the parties had similar economic goals of liberalization, privatization and deregulation, early right and left political divides were based less on standard socioeconomic platforms and more on ideological platforms. New democratic parties were intent on discarding communist policies and embracing a new free market democracy.9 Hungary initially developed three political camps: the left, liberals and the Christian conservatives. The left was rhetorically linked with the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party (MSZMP) rebranding themselves as the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP).10 The original liberal camp, campaigning for quick and drastic economic reforms and transformations, made up of the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) and the radical liberal youth-group-turned-political-party led by Viktor Orbán, the Alliance of Young Democrats (Fidesz).11 Preferring a more gradual approach to economic transformation, the Christian conservative camp consisted of the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF), the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) and the Smallholders’ Party (FKGP). The first elections in 1990 were won by the MDF, considered a victory for nationalism and Christian values over the old communist regime.

The early years of the radical-right: fragmented and marginalized Although there were examples of radical-right activity in the early transitional years, they were mostly marginalized and fractured. Among the youth, small skinhead movements were visible on the periphery of society, and the Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIÉP) developed out of a more radical-right fraction group from the MDF in 1993, supported mainly by older nationalists; this is discussed further in later sections).12 In autumn 1992, there was a mobilization of the ‘new right’, mixing radical populism, anti-semitism and anti-communist sentiments. Organized by István Csurka, vice-president of the MDF at the time, protests assembled against the ‘still communist’ mass media.13 This is one of the few examples of mingling between the 8 9

10 11 12

13

Hungary entered NATO in 1999 and had become a member state of the European Union by 2004. George Schöpflin, ‘From Communism to Democracy in Hungary’, in Post-Communist Transition: Emerging Pluralism in Hungary, ed. by András Bozóki, András Körösényi, George Schöpflin (London and New York: Pinter Publishers and St Martin’s Press, 1992); András Körösényi, Government and Politics in Hungary (Budapest: Akaprint, 1999). Körösényi, Government and Politics in Hungary. Fidesz originally had a membership age limit of 35 and younger. This was abolished in 1993. The MIÉP failed to break the electoral threshold to get into parliament at every election, except once in 1998, gaining 5.47 per cent. Máté Szabó, ‘Mobilization and protest strategy of the Fidesz-MPP within and after the electoral campaign in Hungary 2002’, Paper given at the European Consortium for Political Research Conference (Marburg, 2003), <http://www.essex.ac.uk/ecpr/events/generalconference/marburg/papers/10/9/SZABO.pdf>.


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early 1990’s skinhead culture of ‘national-democratic youths’ and older radicalnationalists. While younger radical groups were drawn towards the deviancy of the Nazi-punk music scene, radical-right political supporters focused on the opposition between ‘rural-oriented Hungarians’ and the ‘westward-looking intellectuals’.14 The seeds of early Hungarian paramilitary sects were sown during transitional times as early as 1990 within radical-right magazines and journals, such as Hunnia and Szent Korona.15 Made up mainly of poems and essays, narratives focused on the devastating loss of territory and population from the Treaty of Trianon, and harked back to the 1956 Revolution, frequently linking Hungarian oppression to international Zionist conspiracy.16 Although numbers of subscribers to such media outlets were just a few thousand in the early 1990s, they perhaps laid the groundwork for later radical-right rhetoric and value-creation. Similar themes of discontent remain strong in radical-right rhetoric. Although these groups were marginalized, early political researchers feared and predicted the possible development of mainstream networks for the radical-right, seeing undercurrents of xenophobia and nationalism present, as well as the early use of symbolic politics.17

Bipolar opposition and the rise of the right Following the strengthening of the right, the radical-right was able to gain access to the political mainstream more easily, using oppositional rhetoric and nationalist symbols similar to those already utilized by right-wing predecessors such as the MDF and Fidesz. The Hungarian Civic Union Party (Fidesz-MPP) is the most successful case of post-communist centre-right party concentration, as the largest and best-organized centre-right party in Central East Europe, with one of the oldest foundations.18,19 Although Fidesz was founded as a radical liberal youth party, marked for its critique of Christian conservative nationalist and tradition-based platforms,20 the party quickly realized the general public’s preferred interest in cultural identity issues.21 While maintaining a large core of its founders, and its undisputed leader Viktor Orbán, 14

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16 17

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19

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Paul Hockenos, Free to Hate: The Rise of the Right in Post-Communist Eastern Europe (New York: Routledge, 1993). László Molnár, ‘Antisemitism in Hungary’, The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism (16 November 2010), at <antisemitism.org>. Hockenos, Free to Hate. Erzsébet Szalai, ‘The Power Structure in Hungary After the Political Transition’, in The New Great Transformation?: Change and Continuity in East-Central Europe, ed. by Christopher G.A. Bryant and Edmund Mokrzycki (London and New York: Routledge, 1994), pp. 120–143; András Kovács, ‘Anti-Semitism and the young élite in Hungary after 1990’, in The Periodical of The Federation to Maintain Jewish Culture in Hungary (1996), at <http://www.szombat.com/archivum/regi/e9807e.htm>; Eva Kovács, From the Turul Bird to the Image of the Finance Minister: The Role of Myths in the Post-Communist Transition, Hungary 1988– 1996 (Brest, Centre of the Study of Nationalism, 1998); András Bozóki, ‘Rhetoric of Action: The Language of Regime Change in Hungary’, in Intellectuals and Politics in Central Europe, ed. by András Bozóki (Budapest: Central European University Press, 1999), pp. 263–284. Brigid Fowler, ‘Concentrated Orange: Fidesz and the Remaking of the Hungarian Centre-Right, 1994–2002’, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 20 (3) (2004), 80–113. Concentration is defined here as a process by which one party gains a larger share of votes continuously over a period of time while the votes towards other parties decrease, sometimes to the point of party collapse. See ibid. Umut Korkut, Gauging the Boundaries of Religion, Europeanization and Nationalism: ‘EU pragmatism’ and Fidesz in Hungary, Working paper (Dublin: University College Dublin 2009). Zsolt Enyedi, ‘The role of agency in cleavage formation’, European Journal of Political Research, 44, 5 (2005), 697–710.


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Fidesz shifted its political alliances to the right after poor results in the 1990 and 1994 national elections.22,23 By the 1998 National Elections Fidesz had become the largest right-wing force in Hungary,24 abandoning their original stereotype as young, rebellious, blue-jean-wearing liberals and creating a stark bipolar voting arena between left and right.25 In trying to broaden their support network Fidesz has utilized vague ‘selfOther’ rhetoric about ‘traitors’ to Hungary, and continued the nationalist dialogue over dual-citizenship for ethnic Magyars. Considering the creation of a more radicalright satellite party attached to the coalition at one point,26 Fidesz has tended to leave the door open to more extreme parties like the MIÉP, and more recently Jobbik, without fully endorsing them.27,28 Both the MDF and Fidesz used successful campaigning strategies to reach the people by creating civic and community events.29 Sparked by its defeat in 2002, Fidesz created a network of negative media, mass rallies and protests contesting election results initiated primarily by ‘Civic Circles’ with up to 100,000 members.30 The black and white political polarization between right and left, communist and anti-communist, urban and rural, was created by the political parties as a tool to maintain power. This polarization has now been utilized by the radical-right. The nationalist, symbolic and antagonistic rhetoric of Fidesz was still not strong enough for political voices like the MIÉP’s István Csurka, or Jobbik’s Gábor Vona, who have critiqued Fidesz for being the domestic puppet to foreign interests and a party of the privileged middle class.31 22

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Fowler, ‘Concentrated Orange’; Sean Hanley, Aleks Szczerbiak, Tim Haughton and Brigid Fowler, ‘Sticking Together: Explaining Comparative Centre-Right Party Success in Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe’, Party Politics, 14, 4 (2008), 407–434; Enyedi, ‘The role of agency’. Fidesz won only 8.95 per cent in 1990 and 7.02 per cent in 1994. The reformed Socialist party MSZP won the 1994 national elections. This victory, along with the death of MDF leader József Antall, left the political right fractioned. Fidesz used this opportunity to re-align itself by its 1995 Civic Alliance and 1997 political bloc (see Fowler, ‘Concentrated Orange’; Enyedi, ‘The role of agency’; Jordon, ‘The Roots of Hate’). By 1997 Fidesz had developed a Civic Alliance (Polgári Szövetség) with the MDF and a political bloc with the Christian Democrats (KDNP). László Kürti, Youth And the State in Hungary: Capitalism, communism and class (London: Pluto Press, 2002); Korkut, Gauging the Boundaries of Religion. After their alliance with KDNP in 1997, Fidesz renamed itself the Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Party (Fidesz-MPP); Korkut, Gauging the Boundaries of Religion. Reportedly, Fidesz circles had discussed the inclusion of a satellite party that could collect votes for supporters of more nationalist-right sentiments, while allowing Fidesz to remain a ‘centre-right’ party but Csurka was seen as too extreme with his anti-semitic rhetoric for MIÉP to fill this role (Szerző, ‘“Third way” platform’, HVG Online (17 October 2005)). Fowler, ‘Concentrated Orange’; Korkut, Gauging the Boundaries of Religion; Jordon, ‘The Roots of Hate’. The nationalist conservative dialogue is very popular in Hungary. In a poll taken by the Publicus Research Institute in 2009, mapping Hungarian political views, results showed that 88 per cent of the population prefers a paternalistic state and 68 per cent are defined socially and culturally as conservative (poll done by the Publicus Research Institute on behalf of the Progressive Institute 2009). Fidesz has been successful in creating Polgári Körök (Civil Circles) arranging spaces for picnics and meetings for all ages. The MDF was renowned for creating weekend markets where cheap produce could be bought and political discussions could be heard. These ‘MDF Markets’, as they are still called, remain intact and are held in different areas around Budapest every Saturday, even though the MDF is no longer a parliamentary party. Szabó, ‘Mobilization and protest’; Enyedi, ‘The role of agency’. See András Bozóki and Kriza Borbála, ‘The Hungarian Semi-loyal Parties and their Impact on Democratic Consolidation’, in Political Transformation and Changing Identities in Central and Eastern Europe, 36, ed. by Andrew Blasko and Diana Januđauskienë (Washington D.C.: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2008), pp. 215–242; Emilia Palonen, ‘Political Polarisation and Populism in Contemporary Hungary’, Parliamentary Affairs, 62 (2) (2009), 318–334.


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The downfall of the liberal-left Despite its strong political showing in post-communist elections, winning three of the six democratic elections, and being seen as the only true opposition to Fidesz, the liberal-left has been unsuccessful in counteracting right-wing and radical-right success in the last few years. In the 2010 elections, the MSZP gained only 19.3 per cent. The shift of Fidesz from the liberal camp to the Christian conservative camp in 1994 left the SZDSZ without a coalition partner. With the victory of the reformed Socialist Party MSZP in 1994, the SZDSZ accepted terms to form a partnered coalition. Although this was a way for SZDSZ to gain parliamentary power they also alienated a large part of their anti-communist support network, losing credibility among many followers and leading to internal fractioning.32 Between 1994 and 1998, while Fidesz was concentrating the right, the MSZP-SZDSZ coalition solidified and continued in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 elections.33 These two shifting alliances and political blocks helped to create the distinctive bi-party system that continued until the recent 2010 elections.34 Fidesz in opposition was keen to point out corruption and scandal apparent among left-wing politicians through media outlets, but the perceived moral character of the left was damaged greatly by the events of 2006 and 2007. Perhaps the largest defamation to the MSZP’s character was the infamous ‘Öszöd Speech’. In September 2006, a large scale scandal erupted when a tape was leaked with the Socialist Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsány, saying to members of the National Assembly of Hungary that his party had lied about economic and political factors ‘morning, noon and night’. Numbers of protesters demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation grew quickly, with some estimations as high as forty thousand.35 Youth support for the MSZP was also damaged directly when the young Socialist MP János Zuschlag, head of the MSZP youth organization ‘Young Leftists’ (Fiatal Baloldal- FIB), was arrested in 2007 for embezzling up to 75 million forints (about 300,000 Euros).36 By 2010, damaged by scandals, the MSZP lacked a strong charismatic face to challenge Orbán. The ability of Fidesz to play up the corruption of the Left was displayed visibly in their 2010 campaign. Posters displaying a line up of the ‘shining stars’ of the Socialist Party included images of the Prime Minister Gyurcsány, the youth MP Zuschlag and two district mayors that had been convicted of financial scandals all linked together wearing handcuffs. Playing off of a previous Socialist Party campaign “We do what we need to get done” the side of the Fidesz poster reads “Resign! Do

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Mark Pittaway, ‘Hungary’, in Developments in Central and East European Politics 3, ed. by Stephen White and Paul G. Lewis (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 57–73. Hanley et al., ‘Sticking Together’; Korkut, Gauging the Boundaries of Religion. See Figure 1 for a visual of party shifting and support change. The leaked tape is now referred to as the ‘Öszöd “Speech” and was leaked on Magyar Rádió (a right-wing news broadcast). Excerpts: Hungarian “Lies” Speech’, BBC News, 19 September 2006, at <http://news.bbc. co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/5359546.stm> [accessed October 2008]. Finances were reportedly attached to the ‘Third Millennium Foundation’ and other FIB youth organization planning. The liberal-left has since been linked to numerous financial scandals, some speculative and some convicted, and the right and radical-right have been quick to utilize them in their political oppositions. Reports from fn.hu and politics.hu.


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what you need to do!”. The MSZP-SZDSZ coalition was broken and the SZDSZ failed to break the electoral threshold to enter parliament. The structural downfall of the liberal-left camp, paralleling the strengthening of aggressive opposition campaigns on the right, changed the socio-political culture in Hungary, enabling the rise of alternative political forces.37

The rise of the radical-right Pre-war nationalist symbols have become monopolized by radical-right political parties and organizations in Hungary. The Hungarian radical-right originated within the anti-communist national conservative movement during the period of symbolic politics in the early-mid 1990s.38 Politics developed prioritizing national identity, cultural revitalization and ideological divisions of the past according to political platforms, rather than pragmatic problem-solving focused on the present or future,39 using pre-communist events and symbols to delegitimize old power structures and legitimize themselves.40 Although symbolic politics were initially used by the Christian Conservative Party (MDF) in the first democratic elections in 1990,41 more extreme nationalist supporters broke away in 1993 to form the first radical-right party, the Hungarian Justice and Life Party (Magyar Igazság és Élet Pártja — MIÉP). Led by Hungarian playwright-turned-politician István Csurka the MIÉP politicized historical myths tied to nationalism and targeted historical symbols to define the ‘true Hungarian’, also bringing ethnically-based politics into the Hungarian political mainstream.42

MIÉP: father of the contemporary radical-right in Hungary Making his radical-right debut while still a member of the MDF, István Csurka published an article in 1992 telling of the national deceit and treason committed by liberals, Jews and non-Hungarians, and calling for a return to ethnic purity.43 The MIÉP developed the basic archetype for radical-right symbology and political platforms. Taking imagery from inter-war literary protest movements, such as the

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See Wouter van der Brug, Meindert Fennema and Jean Tillie, ‘Anti-Immigrant Parties in Europe: Ideological or Protest Vote?’, European Journal of Political Research, 3 (2000), 77–102; Herbert Kitschelt, The radical right in Western Europe (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1995). On this see Cas Mudde, ‘Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe Redux’, Political Studies Review, 7 (3) (2009), 330–337. András Bozóki, ‘Rhetoric of Action: The Language of Regime Change in Hungary’, in Intellectuals and Politics in Central Europe, ed. by András Bozóki (Budapest: Central European University Press, 1999), pp. 263–284; Bozóki and Borbála, pp. 215–242. Kovács, ‘Anti-Semitism’. The first post-communist Prime Minister of Hungary, József Antall of the MDF, used symbolic politics in his first speech as Prime Minister, mentioning that he was in fact the Prime Minister of fifteen million Hungarians. This comment referred to the inclusion of the external five million Hungarians living in neighboring countries, alluding to the injustice of the Treaty of Trianon which redistributed significant portions of Hungarian land and population. See Kovács, ‘Anti-Semitism’. Andrew Arato, ‘Revolution and Restoration: On the origins of right-wing radical ideology in Hungary’, in The New Great Transformation? Change and continuity in East-Central Europe, ed. by Christopher Bryant and Edmund Mokrzycki, (London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 99–119; Bozóki and Borbála. Csurka published ‘A Few Thoughts in Conjunction with the Two Years Since the System Change and with the New Magyar Democratic Forum Program’ in the MDF magazine Magyar Forum (20 August 1992).


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Népi (Folk) movement, radical-right supporters immersed themselves in traditional Hungarian culture and nationalism.44 Targeting extant cleavages dividing the nation, such as the religious-secular, political class-nomenklatura, and urban-rural divides,45 the radical right has created a distinct identity by monopolizing historical symbols and national events. Five main historical symbols have been consistently utilized by the radical-right, giving their platforms historical and cultural relevance:46 1) The Ethnogenesis of Hungary: thereby proving Hungary is over a thousand years old. This story links Hungary to Attila the Hun, with the legend of the Turul Bird depicting Magyars as a strong, warrior-like people. 2) The myth of Saint Steven (Szent Istvan): this story shows that Hungary has always been a European country with Christian origins. Szent Istvan’s crown is often depicted in radical-right imagery to show the Christian nationalist foundations of the radical-right. 3) & 4) The 1848 revolution of Hungary against Habsburg rule and the 1956 revolution against Soviet oppression. These are both seen as dates of remembrance, used by the radical-right as a symbol of Hungary’s constant fight against the oppression of its nation by foreign forces. 5) The 1920 Treaty of Trianon and the loss of ‘Greater Hungary’. This is still seen as a devastating historical loss in Hungary. Many Hungarians still feel a great loss when looking at this historical event. Radical-right parties in particular have politicized this loss, emphasizing that the original boundaries of Hungary should be restored. Symbolic politics have influenced domestic and foreign policy, with heavy policy support for Hungarians abroad and protectionist policies for Hungarian traditions.47 These policies also imply support for ‘real’ Hungarians and distaste for alien minorities, implicitly or explicitly targeting the ‘Other’, whether they be globalized forces, foreign investors, Jews or the Roma population. Although the MIÉP developed the foundations of radical-right politics in Hungary, it has remained a marginalized entity with its aging support network.48

Jobbik: rejuvenation of the radical-right Jobbik began as a youth group called the Right-Wing Youth Association (Jobboldali Ifjúsági Közösség — JOBBIK). The association was founded by a group of Catholic

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The Népi movement was an a-political movement in the 1930s, calling for a ‘Third Way’ between socialism and capitalism. This movement was centered on the idea that Hungary’s true soul could be found not in city centres, but out of traditional peasantry and small farming communities. See Hockenos, ‘Free to Hate’. When the MIÉP joined forces with Jobbik their coalition was called the ‘Third Way’, harking back to the Népi movement. Körösényi, Government and Politics in Hungary. Kovács, From the Turul Bird. See Miklós Zeidler, ‘Irredentism in Everyday Life in Hungary During the Interwar Period’, Regio: Minorities, Politics, Society, 2 (1) (2002), 71–88; György Ligeti and Tamás Nyeste, ‘Right-Wing Extremism in Hungary’, in Prevention of Right-Wing Extremism, Xenophobia and Racism in European Perspective, ed. by Peter Rieker, Michaela Glaser, and Silke Schuster (Franckeplatz: Deutsches Jugendinstitute, 2006), pp. 96–112. The MIÉP only managed to break the electoral threshold once in 1998, with 5.47 per cent, but failed to maintain votes in the next three elections, ending with a disappointing 0.03 per cent in the 2010 national elections. National electoral data comes from the Hungarian National Election Office <www.valasztas.hu>.


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and Protestant university students, developing into an official political party in October 2003, whose targets were the ‘forces’ deteriorating Hungary, and disappointed with the ‘soft’ tactics of Fidesz that still catered to European forces and neglected ‘real’ issues at home.49 Rather than catering to traditional politicians and older MIÉP supporters, Jobbik focused their efforts on recruiting charismatic leaders and university students, appealing quickly to young educated males between the ages of 20 and 35.50 Focusing less on the ‘old’, primarily anti-semitic rhetoric of the MIÉP, Jobbik seemed to be more organized and targeted tangible issues, while maintaining the deeply embedded symbols and historical usages put forth by their predecessors.51 Jobbik has been particularly successful in constructing a sense of belonging among young people, and increasingly other cohorts, reducing identity and ‘in-group’ to ‘true Hungarians’.52 Jobbik ran in the 2006 national elections allied with the MIÉP, offering a ‘Third Way’ within Hungarian bi-polar politics. After managing only 2.2 per cent Jobbik broke their alliance and waited for the right opportunity to break into mainstream politics and media. The Socialist Prime Minister’s scandal in 2006 served as the perfect opportunity to radicalize the protesters in unity against the government.53 Jobbik became a visible political entity among the protestors, emerging with large red- and white-striped Árpád flags, symbolic of the past heroic Hungarian figure, but also controversially linked to the flag of the Arrow Cross during the Nazi occupation of Hungary.54 The events of 2006 decreased the tensions caused by polarization within the political sphere, which Jobbik used to its advantage.55 Jobbik worked hard to depict itself as the only political party addressing the concerns of ‘real Hungarians’, with outright criticisms of untrustworthy mainstream politicians and the sensitive issue of ‘Gypsy crime’ (cigánybűnözés), while advocating ‘Christian ethics’.56 Old allusions to the ‘Other’ remained, keeping the Jewish question and global conspiracy dialogue of the MIÉP salient, but elitist politicians and the Roma proved to be much more popular targets.57 The populist stance of the party also capitalized on Hungary’s failing economy,58 and gave Jobbik the momentum to win 14.8 per cent in the 2009 European Parliamentary elections. Supported by many first-time voters, Jobbik amassed 16.67 per cent in the 2010 national elections running as their own party, without the MIÉP Third Way Alliance.59 Exit polls showed that one in four young 49

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Miért alakult meg a Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom-párt (Why was the Movement for a Better Hungary founded?), zuglo.jobbik.hu (Hungarian) [accessed 6 January 2008]. Szilvia Varró, Journalist, interview with author, 2009, in Katalin Halasz, ‘The Rise of the Radical Right in Europe and the Case of Hungary: ‘Gypsy crime’ defines national identity?’, Development, 52 (4) (2009), 490–494 Piero Ignazi states that radical-right support may increase with the arrival of a ‘new’ party with seemingly more moderate views than the ‘old’ radical-right party. This might be the case looking at the MIÉP’s declined support and the rapid growth of Jobbik. See Piero Ignazi, Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). Halasz, ‘The Rise’. Many consider the happening of 2006 as the event that radicalized the youth (EUobserver, April 2010). Halasz, ‘The Rise’. Ignazi’s theory looks at the potential for de-polarization within a political spectrum leading to an increase in the potential success of populist radical-right parties. ‘FACTBOX: Hungary’s parties and platforms’, Politics.hu (9 April 2010). Halasz, ‘The Rise’. Peter Magyari, ‘Erosen balos part a Jobbik’, Index, (15 June, 2009). Jordon, ‘The Roots of Hate’.


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voters between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine supported Jobbik. Hungarian polling agent Medián reported statistics that 24 per cent of the Jobbik voters polled had been too young to vote in the 2006 elections and were first-time voters.60

Radical youth: embracing modern political participation Many liberal-left and foreign observers were shocked at the young demographic of Jobbik support. The EU Observer noted: One of the most disturbing aspects of the Jobbik phenomenon is how young and educated many of its supporters are. Far-right supporters elsewhere are thought of as the rural uneducated or, in the urban context, to use an old term, ‘lumpenproletarian’. But in Hungary so many of them are the Bright Young Things. They believe they are the radical ones, with a burning fire of injustice.

Jobbik support is especially high among 18 to 24 year old voters.61 Looking at socialization theory and the disillusionment of the youth, however, it makes sense that Jobbik’s tactics quickly became attractive to a younger audience. The radicalright is one the few outlets initiating non-traditional political participation, targeting the youth directly, and providing a space for them within Hungarian politics and culture.62,63 Cultural theories partially explain Jobbik’s youth appeal, emphasizing that political values, beliefs and trust result to a large extent from one’s political socialization experiences.64 The political experiences of the youth in Hungary were formed in an atmosphere of opposition, bipolar antagonism, and media focus on the scandals of politicians. Distrusting traditional politicians and organizations, many young people across Europe are looking for ways to interact with the state and society through nontraditional forms of participation.65 Much research has been based on the belief that the development of civic society and support of democracy are key for safe-guarding against the instigation of non-democratic values and regimes.66 In the late 1980s and 60 61 62 63

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‘Political Opinion in Hungary — Medián and Tárki’, The Hungarian Spectrum, (24 June 2009). Polls taken by Foresense before the 2010 elections (foresense.hu). Mareš, ‘Transnational Activism’. Ibid. points out Jobbik as the strongest extreme-right wing political party in Central Eastern Europe drawing in youth supporters electorally. Jobbik is unique in its youth appeal and organizational management as a radical-right party. Although not discussed in this paper it should also be noted that the recently developed, politically undefined, youth-based party Politics Can Be Different (Lehet Más a Politika- LMP) also passed the parliamentary threshold, gaining over 5 per cent in the 2010 national elections. Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963); David Easton, ‘A Re-assessment of the Concept of Political Support’, in British Journal of Political Science, 5 (1975), 435–57; Harry Eckstein, Division and Cohesion in Democracy, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1966); Ronald Inglehart, Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Democracies, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990); William Mishler and Richard Rose, ‘Trust, Distrust and Skepticism: Popular Evaluations of Civil and Political Institutions in Post-Communist Societies’, The Journal of Politics, 59 (2) (1997), 418–451. Here I define voting and party membership as ‘traditional participation’ and more alternative ways of expressing political support, such as protests, online forums and non-membership based groups as ‘non-traditional’. Richard Rose, William Mishler and Christian Haerpfer, Democracy and its Alternatives: Understanding Post-Communist Societies, (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1998); Sivka Kovacheva, ‘Will youth rejuvenate the patterns of political participation?’, in Revisiting Youth Political Participation: Challenges for research and democratic practice in Europe, ed. by Joerg Forbig and (Council of Europe Publishing, 2005), pp. 19–28.


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early 1990s, Hungary seemed to be developing youth involvement in political communities, subcultures and ecological movements;67 however, community involvement and participation in volunteer organizations are still quite low.68 Although the formal youth groups and organizations of the communist system were created to directly socialize the youth with a communist agenda, they also provided space and resources for young people to involve themselves within the community.69 After transition, there were few mechanisms in place to actively involve the youth in politics, culture and community. Many young people continue to feel that they have little influence in their economic and political situations and are disillusioned by the political process.70 Radical-right organizations and institutions have developed a distinct culture and relationship with civil society in Hungary. Politically active young Hungarians are using alternative forms of political and societal participation such as the internet, shifting away from conventional interest groups towards new anti-system methods.71 Distributing leaflets, designing graffiti art, utilizing internet sites, forums and online groups have all broadened the radical-right spectrum by creating a sense of community that is more inclusive than previous skinhead or traditional paramilitary groups. This networking has developed a new relationship between radical-right politics and the militant youth scene.72 Jobbik’s success can be partially attributed to its ‘web-savvy’ use of YouTube, Facebook, IWIW (a Hungarian version of Facebook) and other free online media and networking sites appealing to ‘Hungary’s disaffected and disillusioned young voters’.73,74 Short opposition videos critiquing the MSZP and Fidesz were made easily available on YouTube during the 2010 campaigns. Some still question whether or not political support for a radical-right party, like Jobbik, is based on ideological support or acted out as a protest vote against other mainstream political parties for their failings.75 Although not a traditional mechanism of quantifying support, it is at least interesting to see the support given to political parties, 67

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Máté Szabó, ‘New Factors in the Political Socialization of Youth in Hungary: The Alternative Social Movements and Subcultures’, PRAXIS International, 8 (1) (1988), 26–33. In Western democracies the average level of the population involved in volunteering is 35 per cent. This is much higher than Central and Eastern European averages, for example: Hungary 15 per cent, Ukraine 13 per cent, Poland 14 per cent, Bulgaria 17 per cent, Romania 16 per cent. Ivan Volgyes, ‘Political Socialization in Eastern Europe: A Conceptual Framework’, in Political Socialization in Eastern Europe, ed. by Ivan Volgyes, (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1975), pp. 1–37. Alain Touraine, Comment sortir du néolibéralisme? (Paris: Fayard, 1999); Geoffrey Pleyers, ‘Young people and alter-globalisation: from disillusionmant to a new culture of political participation’ in Revisiting Youth Political Participation: Challenges for research and democratic practice in Europe, ed. by Joerg Forbig (Council of Europe Publishing, 2005), pp. 133–143; Sivka Korvacheva ‘Will youth rejuvenate the patterns of political participation?’, in ibid., pp. 19–28. Norris, Pipa, Democratic Pheonix: Reinventing Political Activism, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002). Mareš, ‘Transnational Activism’. Michael Jordon, ‘The Rise of the Hungarian Right’, Foreign Policy (13 July 2010), <www.foreignpolicy.com>. In a comparison of traditional media (television, radio, weekly news magazines and daily newspapers) young Hungarians have similar levels (within 5 per cent range of difference) of use compared to older cohorts. Only in internet use for retrieving media is there a large cohort difference. Whereas 25.3 per cent of older cohorts, above the age of 29, access the internet for media news, 47.4 per cent of younger cohorts, 18 to 29, utilize online news for information (2008 National Statistics from the Magyar Választáskutatási Panel). Jean Tillie, Party Utility and Voting Behavior (Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis, 1995). See also van der Brug et al. (eds.).


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and their youth factions, on primarily youth-based internet social groups such as Facebook.76 Taking a quick glance at non-traditional social support it is clear that support for the right and radical-right is much higher than support for the left among the youth. It should also be noted that while electoral results showed a landslide victory for the centre-right party Fidesz, support and membership via online forums and social groups, such as Facebook, show almost equal support for the centre-right and radical-right. Jobbik’s political representatives have also kept in trend with the developing radical-right culture by openly embracing their populist stance in the way they represent themselves in the Hungarian National Parliament as well as the European Parliament. Gábor Vona and Krisztina Morvai, the main faces of Jobbik, have made bold statements by making public appearances in controversial radical-right outfits. Gábor Vona, as promised in his campaign speech, wore the Hungarian Guard black vest with Árpád flag insignia at his debut as a member of the Hungarian Parliament. He has since repeated the act, despite the fact that wearing of the vest has been declared a criminal offence, since it constitutes support for a group that has been legally dissolved as a far-right militia by the Hungarian courts.77 Even beyond Hungarian borders, Jobbik MEP Csanád Szegedi wore the Hungarian Guard uniform at his first attendance as a member of the European Parliament. The female face of Jobbik, Krisztina Morvai, has also made her nationalist sentiments known through her attire. Although unseen in the Hungarian Guard uniform, Morvai is known for wearing jackets and suits in the old ‘Bocskai’ style, harking back to historical-national Hungarian trends, popular among radical-right supporters.78 Visual acts of nationalism and defiance against traditional political establishments have helped the party maintain youth support and depict Jobbik as a party of the people.

Radical-right culture: embracing civil society Jobbik has surpassed its radical-right forefather, the MIÉP, in its ability to enter mainstream politics and has even gone beyond traditional political party networks by creating strong civil organizations. Often these organizations are unofficially attached or created by Jobbik but maintain a separate leadership and constitution. Radicalright civil organizations are numerous and growing in Hungary, but I would like to draw attention to the two most active and powerful groups. The first is the wellknown paramilitary group, the Hungarian Guard (Magyar Gárda) and the second is the very active Sixty-Four County Youth Movement (Hatvannégy Vármegye Ifjúsági Mozgalom — HVIM). These groups have helped draw attention and support to the radical-right by means of grassroots nationalism.

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Figures 2 and 3 at the end of this paper show the four political parties currently in power and their associated youth organizations in relation to Facebook support. ‘Deputy speaker convenes committee in response to Jobbik chairman wearing banned uniform’, Politics, <www.politics hu> [accessed 15 February 2011]. The ‘Bocskai’ style is named after István Bocskai (1557–1606) who was a Transylvanian prince. This style of clothing became popular again during the inter-war period, used for the basis of Hungarian school uniforms and popular among the middle class nationalist circles. Although this style was traditionally made for men, with the rise in demand in recent years female styles have been developed and popularized in Hungary (‘The First Two Days: Hungarian Extremists in the European Parliament’, Hungarian Spectrum, 16 July 2009).


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The Hungarian guard The Hungarian Guard was created by Jobbik’s party chairman, Gábor Vona, soon after the 2006 protests. It was developed as a cultural organization with a paramilitary gendarmerie subdivision (Csendőrség) to ‘prepare youth spiritually and physically for extraordinary situations when it might be necessary to mobilize the people’.79 The mission of the Hungarian Guard is to protect Hungarian culture and tradition, vowing to defend rural Hungarians that are victims of ‘gypsy crime’ (cigánybűnözés).80 With its vague but undeniable links to Jobbik,81 the Hungarian Guard has given the radical-right party a grassroots element, acting as a wellorganized volunteer-based militia created to work for the ‘Hungarian cause’.82 The Hungarian Guard’s uniform and presence is distinct and unmistakable. Members wear black military boots, white shirts and black caps, and a vest with the red and white striped Árpád Flag emblem while marching through provincial villages, attending official meetings and participating in Jobbik’s political rallies.83 Although it is difficult to estimate exact membership, or the number of supporters, it is generally accepted that the Hungarian Guard is the largest and most well-known radical-right paramilitary organization in Hungary. In May 2009, the controversial nature of the Hungarian Guard led to the Hungarian court ruling that the organization was illegal on the grounds of its engagment in racist and unconstitutional activities.84 Romani leaders attending the 2009 preliminary hearings handed the courts a petition against the Guard with 70,000 signatures, asking for the group to be disbanded.85 In reaction to court rulings to ban the Hungarian Guard, a group of up to 800 members demonstrated in Budapest on 4 July 2009, resulting in 127 arrests, including that of Jobbik chairman Gábor Vona.86 The Hungarian Guard has since reformed their ranks under altered names with unaltered intentions of serving the ‘Hungarian cause’. Although media outlets have been quick to portray the Guardsmen as violent fascists, Guardsmen have also involved themselves in localized emergencies and causes. Although not covered by mainstream media, radical-right media paint a very different picture of the organization and its civil-service involvement. Radical-right news feeds from Barikád, Kuruc and Hungarian Ambiance report on the Guard’s involvement in charity work linked to Jobbik, distributing food to the homeless in Central Budapest.87 The Hungarian 79

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As defined by Jobbik in their registration of the Magyar Gárda in June 2007 (‘Appeals court reaffirms ban on Magyar Gárda’, Politics, www.politics.hu, (3 July 2009) [accessed 31 July 2009]. Michael J. Jordon, ‘Hungary: On Guard’, Transitions Online, (21 March 2008). Jobbik MEP Csanád Szegedi wore a Hungarian Guard uniform for his first attendance as a member of the European Parliament in 2009 (‘The First Two Days: Hungarian Extremists in the European Parliament’, Hungarian Spectrum, (16 July 2009)). Halasz, ‘The Rise’. Jordon, ‘Hungary: On Guard’. Although never proved, the group has been linked with violence in Roma villages and over a dozen murders. See Markus Salzmann, ‘Hungary: Socialist Party established right-wing militias’, World Socialist Web Site, 14 July 2009, <http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/jul2009/hung-j14.shtml> [accessed October 2009]. Jordon, ‘Hungary: On Guard’. ‘The Hungarian Guard Demonstrates in Budapest’, The Hungarian Spectrum, (4 July 2009), <http://esbalogh. typepad.com/hungarianspectrum/2009/> [accessed October 2009]. In Kuruc and Hungarian Ambiance reports of the Hungarian National Guard distributing food to the homeless the Winter (2010–2011) were not uncommon. The Guard worked alongside Jobbik distributing sandwiches, hot tea, warm clothing and blankets (Barikad.hu, Kuruc.info, Hungarianambiance.com; news from 28 December 2010 and 10 January 2011).


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Guard was also present during recent floods and the toxic waste spill in Hungary, seen assisting with sandbags and helping Hungarians protect their homes. These news streams show the dedication of the Hungarian National Guard to memorializing historical national events and people, paying tribute to the heroes of the 1848 and 1956 revolutions and remembering heroes of past uprisings against the Treaty of Trianon. The Hungarian Guard, made-up primarily of young Hungarian males, has immersed itself in culture and civil society, winning over portions of the population, particularly in the countryside, with national efforts.88 Although controversial, the organization’s presence is seen by some as having a positive impact on security and stability, trusted more than officially-recognized government agencies.89 The Sixty-Four County Youth Movement It is often difficult to know official membership numbers for radical-right associations, and hard to calculate the real impact of these groups on society. Although Jobbik and the Hungarian Guard are the most visible and well-known radical-right entities in Hungary, depicted often in national and international media, radical-right networks are numerous and multi-faceted. The diverse social networking of the radical-right is arguably the largest draw for youth support, with the increasing link of popular culture to radical-right trends and events. At the helm of radical-right youth events, programmes and trends is the Sixty-Four County Youth Movement (HVIM). The Hungarian music and culture festival Magyar Sziget (Hungarian Island) was created in 2001 by the HVIM. Established in opposition to the ‘liberal’, ‘non-Hungarian’ Sziget Feszt (Island Fest), Magyar Sziget has grown into one of the largest annual radical-right festivals in Hungary.90 The week-long, family-friendly festival offers concerts, conferences, presentations about Hungarian history and conservative resistance, as well as folk-dance, hand-craft, cavalry, infantry and archery lessons, and demonstrations. Magyar Sziget’s website declares that it is the most important patriotic event in Hungary; the chief organizer György Gy. Zagyva explains that one of the festival’s main roles is ‘to serve mental ammunition for those who require this, and supporting those who are still at the stage of finding their own life path’.91 What is most interesting about a festival of this nature is not its existence but the matrix of radical-right networks behind it.

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Salzmann, ‘Hungary’. In villages with Hungarian Guard strongholds (mostly within rural and North-Eastern regions) there is a number you can call if you are in need of help, usually concerning ‘Gypsy Crime’, and the Guardsmen will arrive quickly to give aid. A local paper Somogyi Hírlap, asked its reader on 3 July 2009 who they trusted more for their security between the Hungarian police force or the Hungarian National Guard. 80 per cent reported that they trusted the Hungarian National Guard. Beginning as a smaller student event in 1993, Sziget Feszt (Island Fest) is a week-long festival that has transformed into one of the larger music and culture festivals in Europe. Held in Budapest on the Old-Buda Island (Óbudai-sziget) the website boasts that ‘[t]his Sziget is the island of friendship, the island of love, the island of joyful self-abandon, the island of freedom, the island of cultural diversity’ (<www.sziget.hu>). This kind of non-Christian, anti-Magyar festival has been a target of criticism for Christian-nationalists and radical-right traditionalists. <www.magyarsziget.hu>.


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The organization HVIM is named in reference to the counties of Greater Hungary.92 The HVIM, created with hopes of restoring Hungary’s original borders in resistance to the Trianon Treaty, is immersed in the radical-right network. Protesting alongside the Hungarian Guard and Jobbik, they have developed institutions to create social and community spaces for Hungarians of all ages. A summer camp for children (Nemzeti Gyerektábor) was developed in June 2010 as an indoctrination camp to fight against modern cultural decay, since the ‘liberal culture mafia makes it impossible for the youth to go outside with healthy nationalism’.93 Other institutional involvements of the HVIM include a Hungarian Resistance Academy (Magyar Ellenállás Akadémia) and a movement to restore houses that have been left by Hungarians to ensure they are bought and maintained by Hungarians, rather than falling into non-Hungarian hands. The HVIM has also helped develop Klub64, a club in the heart of Budapest with three bars, one serving only 100 per cent Magyar alcohol.94 Beyond its efforts to create spaces for Hungarians of all ages, they have also intertwined themselves with a network of other radical-right organizations. Websites of radical-right supporting institutions and organizations are intrinsically linked. Radical right media are attainable with links from one site to another connected to bi-weekly newspaper Magyar Jelen, Kuruc magazine, and Szent Korona Rádió, reporting on the movements and challenges of the Hungarian Guard and other radical-right groups as well as giving one access to Nemzeti Rock (National Rock), listing concerts and events. Even Rovat Magazine is among these interlinking websites, mostly interested in Hungarian runic script and archaeological finds linking Hungary to its ancient past. Radical-right media outlets are expanding. In May 2011, N1TV (National 1 TV) was established as an online-based news television site.95 Readership for radical right media is significant.96,97 Beyond just print media, sites link to other outlets where photographs can be stored on the Hungarian site Nemzeti Foto (National Photo), with photo categories including struggle and peace, concert photos, pictures of expatriate Hungarian areas, history, and others (‘weapons’ and ‘folk traditions’ are categories listed within this category).98 Listed on the sides of sites are also numerous online clothing outlets such as TurulBolt.hu and MagyarHarcos.hu, providing a range of items from t-shirts with the Greater Hungary map and other radical-right symbols (available in many cases for children), as well as more traditional Bocskai ensembles. Whether online or in person at festivals and rallies, the 92

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In 1876, when Hungary was at its largest, there was a county system dividing Hungary into seven circles each with between five and fifteen counties making up a total of 64. See Steed, H. Wickham, Walter Alison Phillips and David Hannay, A Short History of Austria-Hungary and Poland, (London: Encyclopedia Britannica Company Ltd., 1914). Children are taught about culture and the history of Hungary. Activities include wood, metal, bone and leather crafts as well as learning the original Hungarian alphabet (rovásirás) and lessons in archery and horseback riding, <http://www.hvim.hu/nemzeti-gyerektabor>. <http://klub64.com>. <http://nemzeti1.hu>. Molnár, ‘Antisemitism in Hungary’. Readership of weekly news magazine Barikád, linked with Jobbik, is between 10,000–11,000 and readership numbers of Magyar Fórum, linked to the MIÉP, are between 20,000 and 40,000. See Molnár, ‘Antisemitism in Hungary’. All of these organizations and websites are linked to each other as partner organizations to the HVIM and other radical-right sites.


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radical-right media, music, clothing, community areas, social clubs and political organizations have created a unique socio-political community in Hungary.

Conclusion Changing alliances and structural changes within the mainstream Hungarian political arena have provided a space susceptible to radical-nationalist dialogue and anti-system political tactics. The events of 2006 changed the bipolar nature of party opposition and gave Jobbik the opportunity it needed to make itself known to the masses. As a rejuvenated radical-right party, Jobbik and its associated organizations took advantage of the scandal and disillusionment with antagonistic platforms and the fracturing of the liberal-left political camp. By using modern, non-traditional forms

ďŹ gure 1 Stacked Column Chart of Political Party Representation in the Hungarian Parliament: 1990â&#x20AC;&#x201C;201099 * The stacked column shows the shifts in parliamentary representation from a mixed conservative government in 1990 into a seemingly bipolar political system between Christian conservatives (Fidesz-MPP coalition) and the liberal-left (MSZP-SZDSZ) in 1998, 2002 and 2006. By 2010 this model shifts drastically favoring the right and radical right more than ever before. ** In the most recent 2010 elections a drastic shift to the right is apparent with Fidesz winning a two-thirds majority in parliament and radical-right party Jobbik becoming the third largest political party in Hungary, behind left-wing MSZP.

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Parliamentary representation data comes from the Hungarian National Election Office, <www.valasztas.hu>.


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figure 2 Facebook Support for the Four Primary Political Parties Currently in Power. * The above bars show Facebook support from individuals towards the four main political parties currently in power: Left-wing Socialist Party - MSZP (1,688 likes), centre-right Hungarian Civic Union — Fidesz (24,599 likes), radical-right Movement for a Better Hungary — Jobbik (18,053 likes) and undefined Politics Can Be Different — LMP (7,372 likes)

figure 3 Facebook Support for the Youth Organizations Attached to the Primary Political Parties. * The above bars show Facebook support of youth organizations attached to the main political parties: Societas — MSZP (519 likes), Fidelitas — Fidesz (1,713 likes), Ifjúsági Tagozat — Fidesz (909), Ifjúsági Tagozat — Jobbik (1,840) ** Fidesz has two youth organizations attached to it. The original one is Fidelitas. Members can be between the ages of 16 and 35. The Ifjúsági Tagozat (Youth Group) attached to Fidesz was created in 2005 as a more strict working youth group. Members must be under 30 and be official party members to join.100 100

Information from both charts came from Facebook, last checked for numerical data on 28 February 2011.


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of distributing information through the internet, and creating active civil organizations the radical-right has increased participation and support. Jobbik and its grassroots counterparts have drawn in a large support network, particularly among the youth population in Hungary. Hungary has developed a distinct radical-right civil society and culture, with festivals, media outlets, social groups, style trends and facilities to enhance its own sense of community. The future of the radical-right in Hungary is uncertain, depending in part on the maintained popularity of Fidesz and the ability of the liberal-left to restructure, but if the youth of today is socialized towards strong radical-right ideologies then we can assume that the Hungary of tomorrow will not soon forget Jobbikâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s legacy.

Notes on contributor Erin Marie Saltman is a PhD research student at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies University College London. Her research focus is on the contemporary process of youth political socialization in Hungary, conducting interviews and focus groups with politically active young Hungarians across the political spectrum, tracking trends and influences. Correspondence to: e.saltman@ucl.ac.uk.


slovo, Vol. 23 No. 2, Autumn, 2011, 132–55

Voting Behaviour in Macedonia: Explaining the Centre-Right’s Success Ilina Mangova London School of Economics

This paper analyzes voting behaviour in Macedonia by exploring the possible causes that have led to successive electoral victories for the centre-right party between 2006 and 2009. The research is based on an online survey conducted in April 2010. Contemporary theories of voting behaviour, presidentialization of elections, issue voting, and retrospective voting-government performance are then tested in the Macedonian context. The paper argues that issue voting and retrospective voting can explain the appeal of the centre-right to the electorate. The research also acknowledges leader effects, however finds they do not have sole explanatory power. The paper aims to contribute to the existing literature on voting behaviour by testing the applicability of Western-based theories of voting behaviour to the context of a new democracy burdened by the legacies of Communism. It also enriches the literature on party politics in post-communist societies, which has been more focused on left-wing parties.

Introduction and context Macedonia presents an interesting case study for research into voting behaviour. It is an ethnically diverse country1 where party politics, electoral standards, and voting behaviour differ within different ethnic groups. As such, it can serve as a test case for an examination of how, despite functioning within the same political system, different ethnic groups function with distinctive political dynamics. In the twenty years the country has functioned as a democracy, it has experienced many political changes and electoral reforms. A majoritarian electoral system was in place for the first eight years after independence, succeeded by a mixed majoritarian and proportional system in 1998.2 A proportional system with closed party lists has 1

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64.17% of the population are ethnic Macedonians, 25.17% are ethnic Albanians and 10.66% belong to other ethnic communities; State Statistical Office, Book III, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Macedonia 2002 (2005), <http://www.stat.gov.mk/glavna. asp?br=18> [accessed 15 February 2010]. Tanja Karakamisheva, Elections and Electoral Systems (Skopje: Kultura, 2004), p. 271.

© School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 2011


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been in place since the 2002 elections.3 It is now established as a parliamentary democracy with presidential elements, where most of the power lies with the government. The Macedonian political scene mirrors the longstanding ideological and ethnic diversity of the country: four political parties organized within two main blocs, Macedonian and Albanian, dominate the political space. The other ethnic communities — Turkish, Roma, Serbian and Vlach — are usually attached to the leading Macedonian political party. With minor exceptions, parties strictly address members of their own community, and ethnic belonging is a strong determinant of party choice.4 In government and in election campaigns, the political parties organize themselves into coalitions. Two major pre-election coalitions are formed in the Macedonian block. The reformed successor of the communist party, the centre-left Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (Socijaldemokratski sojuz na Makedonija) (SDSM) leads a coalition that includes other small left-leaning parties. The coalition is ethnically diverse, including small Macedonian, Turkish, Vlach, Roma and Serbian parties. The situation is similar for the centre-right. The major centre-right party, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization — Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (Vnatreshno makedonska revolucionerna organizacija — Demokratska partija za makedonsko nacionalno edinstvo) (VMRO-DPMNE) runs a pre-election coalition that also includes small right-leaning parties that have Macedonian, Roma, Turkish, Serbian, and Vlach ethnic composition. An Albanian party has always been a partner in the government. Since the 2002 election, those two parties have been the centre-left Democratic Union for Integration (Demokratska unija za integracija) (DUI), and the centre-right Democratic Party of Albanians (Demokratska partija na Albancite) (DPA). Until the 2006 elections, every incumbent government had been voted out of office. It can easily be argued that the electorate had until this point always punished the governing party. This situation changed when in the 2008 early parliamentary elections, the VMRO-DPMNE-led coalition won a second mandate. In the Macedonian elections between 2006 and 2009, the centre-right VMRO-DPMNE achieved continuous and stable electoral success, and in this period, the electorate of this party grew steadily. In the 2006 general elections, the coalition ‘For a Better Macedonia’, led by the VMRO-DPMNE, won 32.50% of the votes cast, while the then incumbent ‘For Macedonia Together’ coalition, led by the SDSM, won 23.31% DIK, Drzavna izborna komisija, Parlamentarni izbori 2006 Soopshtenie za konecni zborni rezultati od glasanjeto 2006, <http://www.sec.mk/arhiva/2006_parlamentarni/Koneci_rezultati_ drzava_zbirno.pdf> [accessed 25 July 2006]. In early April 2008, a few days after Macedonia failed in a bid to join NATO, the VMRO-DPMNE decided to support the DUI’s proposal for early parliamentary elections. VMRO-DPMNE argued that in view of the situation, early parliamentary elections were the best solution, as they would 3 4

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Karakamisheva, p. 279. Svetomir Škarić, Democratic Elections in Macedonia, 1990–2002: Analyses, Documents and Data (Berlin: Sigma, 2005), p. 129. Maja Jovanovska, ‘VMRO ke glasa za raspushtanje na Sobranieto’, A1 TV, 9 April 2008, <http://www.a1.com. mk/vesti/default.aspx?VestID=91646> [accessed 9 April 2008].


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bring a new, more efficient parliament with a greater capacity for decisive action and the carrying out of reforms.5 The early election significantly increased the VMRODPMNE’s representation in Parliament. Its coalition won 48.78% of the vote and the SDSM coalition won 23.64%6 In the local elections in March 2009, ‘For Better Macedonia’ won 64.70% of the mayoral seats.7 By comparison, the rival SDSM won 8.23% of the seats in the same elections. In the presidential elections of 2009, despite putting forward an unknown candidate with no previous public and political profile, among seven candidates in the first round, the VMRO-DPMNE won 35.06% of the vote. This pattern of electoral support for the governing party was unprecedented among the Macedonian electorate.8 This paper investigates voting behaviour in Macedonia by focusing on support for the VMRO-DPMNE in the period between 2006 and 2010, and is based on empirical research in the form of an online survey conducted in April 2010. It explores what it is about the VMRO-DPMNE that can explain the voting behaviour of the Macedonian electorate in this period. To that purpose, it first examines the existing literature and the existing theories of voting behaviour. It then presents hypotheses about factors that could explain the voting behaviour. The fourth part presents the method that has been adopted for the purposes of the research — an online survey — and explains the process of designing it. The fifth section presents the results of the survey and an analysis of them. The final section concludes that the ability of the VMRO-DPMNE to change fundamentally the way party and electoral politics is run in Macedonia, in combination with the effects of its leader, but particularly its ability to address what voters regard as the most salient issue, the economy, are all significant factors driving electoral support for the governing party among the Macedonian electorate.

Literature review Established democracies around the world have witnessed declining rates of electoral participation and a diminution of the significance of long-term factors in explaining voting behaviour.9 Socio-economic features, such as class and religion, are becoming less significant, and they can no longer be considered reliable predictors of an individual’s support for a particular party. Theories such as the Michigan model can no longer explain voting behaviour.10 Changes in social structure, increased levels of education, and direct access to political information have been identified as causes 6

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DIK, Drzavna izborna komisija. Lokalni izbori — konecni rezultati: <http://www.sek.mk/arhiva/2009_pretse datelskeIlokalni/2009/fajlovi/rezultati2/konecni/Gradonacalnici_vkupno_po_partii_so_vkupno_glasovi_-_bez_ Dolneni.pdf> [accessed 5 May 2006] The percentage is calculated by the author based on the official data published by the State Election Commission. Aggregate voting percentages for local elections are not calculated by the State Electoral Commission. The denomination ‘Macedonian electorate’ is used here to refer to the ethnic Macedonian electorate only. A voting pattern of rewarding the DUI with successive terms in office is present among the Albanian electorate; however, that is not the focus of this research. Rafael López Pintor and Maria Gratschew, Voter Turnout Since 1945: A Global Report (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), pp. 77; 2002), <http://www.idea.int/publications/vt/upload/VT_screenopt_2002.pdf> [accessed 12 April 2010]; Martin P. Wattenberg, Where Have All the Voters Gone? (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002). Angus Campbell, Philip Converse, Warren Miller, and Donald Stokes, The American Voter (New York: John Wiley, 1960).


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of dealignment, a decline in voters’ identification with and loyalty towards political parties.11 Parallel to the decreasing importance of long-term effects, contemporary theories have placed different emphases on different short-term effects as motivating forces of electoral behaviour. Within the framework of rational choice theory, authors have argued that voters base voting decisions on the performance of the government in office; on an the evaluation of the policies the parties propose concerning the issue that matters the most to the voters; and on evaluations of candidates. In 1981, Fiorina conceptualized the theory of retrospective voting, which proposes that a voter’s choice on election day is guided by a retrospective evaluation of the government’s performance.12 He does not completely dismiss the notion of party identification, yet he incorporates it into a model where the individual refers continuously to an internalized framework in order to evaluate the electoral ‘offer’. Other authors build upon Fiorina’s framework and find that a government’s performance on issues that matter most to the voters is the strongest factor in determining voters’ electoral choices.13 The literature also explores the relevance of issue voting. Butler and Stokes explain that issue voting takes place when the voter demonstrates awareness of, and has positions regarding a certain issue, can differentiate the parties’ strategies and abilities to handle that issue, and rationally chooses the party with whose position he can identify.14 Similarly, Borre suggests that in elections, voters are motivated and influenced by the issues on which parties campaign, and so the issues are the strongest determinants of the electoral outcome in contemporary democracies.15 A large number of other authors have pointed out the importance that political leaders have on the election process, developing the concept of presidentialization or personalization of politics.16 The concept of personalization of politics is based on the underlying premise that parliamentary democracies today are experiencing changes, leading them to resemble presidential systems. Namely, presidential and semi-presidential systems, where the main political battle is fought between presidential candidates, and where the president derives his power directly from the citizens, create a framework in which leader effects are highly significant.17 In parliamentary

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Martin Harrop and William L. Miller, Elections and Voters: A Comparative Introduction (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1987), pp. 101–129; Russell J. Dalton, Scott C. Flanagan, and Paul Allen Beck, Electoral Change in Advanced Industrial Democracies: Realignment or Dealignment (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984); Russell J. Dalton, ‘The Decline of Party Identifications’, in Parties Without Partisans: Political Change in Advanced Industrial Democracies, ed. by Russell J. Dalton and Martin Wattenberg (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 19–37; Russell J. Dalton, Ian McAllister, and Martin Wattenberg, ‘The Consequences of Partisan Dealignment’, in Dalton and Wattenberg (eds.), pp. 37–63. Morris P. Fiorina, Retrospective Voting in American National Elections (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981). Patrick Fournier and others, ‘Issue Importance and Performance Voting’, Political Behavior, 25 (2003), 51–67. David Butler and Donald Stokes, Political Change in Britain: The Evolution of Electoral Choice, 2nd edn (London: Macmillan, 1974), pp. 276–95. Ole Borre, Issue Voting: An Introduction (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2001). Anthony Mughan, Media and the Presidentialization of Parliamentary Elections (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2000); Thomas Poguntke and Paul Webb, The Presidentialization of Politics: A Comparative Study of Modern Democracies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).


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systems, on the other hand, potential prime ministers are not directly elected by the whole of the electorate; under both proportional and majority systems, each candidate faces only a certain constituency. However, the term presidentialization of politics does not imply systemic or institutional changes. It implies ‘a personalization of electoral politics that on the one hand occurs within the parameters of an unchanging parliamentary constitution and on the other persists over time, albeit that the actual impact of the party leaders on mass political behaviour and election outcomes can vary in magnitude from one contest to the next’.18 It means that the effect of the leader is the most decisive factor in the electoral outcome, notwithstanding the impact of other factors. Theories of voting behaviour are heavily based on research focusing on industrial and Western democracies. Macedonia, however, is a new democracy, closer in its political dynamic to the southern European and post-communist types. Therefore, in order to understand the character and the success of the centre-right in Macedonia, this study has turned to the literature on political parties in countries belonging to the ‘third wave’ of democratization. Research on party politics in post-communist Europe has been primarily concentrated on left-wing parties and communist successor parties, while largely neglecting the development of the centre-right. Lewis estimates that agency, understood as effective leadership and political choice, in association with historical–structural determinants, is the strongest explanatory factor for centre-right success in post-communist countries.19 In post-communist countries, the political transition to pluralist societies preceded the economic transformation to capitalism, and hence social and class-based cleavages emerged after the political division of left and right.20 In that context, the distinction between left and right was more a division between emerging nationalist forces and the reformed communist elites, with any objective definition of parties on ideological grounds ‘delayed’ by this post-communist context. Bosco and Morlino find patterns in party behaviour in countries in southern Europe that can also be identified in political parties in Macedonia, and their study can serve as a framework for understanding the contexts and the consequences of these political characteristics.21 Their research finds that personalization of politics dominates in southern Europe, where parties are instruments that serve the will of powerful leaders. This is a result of cynicism, passivity and clientelism. Moreover, the personalization of politics in these countries is stimulated by institutional factors, which create a situation in which ‘party leaders and top executives are the most important decision makers in the parties’.22 17

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Mauro Barisione, ‘So, What Difference Do Leaders Make? Candidates’ Images and the “Conditionality” of Leader Effects on Voting’, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties, 19 (2009), 473–500. Mughan, p. 9, italics in original. Paul G. Lewis, ‘What is the Right Way in East-Central Europe? Concluding Remarks’, in Centre-Right Parties in Post-Communist East-Central Europe, ed. by Aleks Szczerbiak and Sean Hanley (New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. 133–149 (p. 136). Sean Hanley, ‘Getting the Right Right: Redefining the Centre-Right in Post-Communist Europe’, in ibid., pp. 9–28 (p. 16). Anna Bosco and Leonardo Morlino, ‘What Changes in South European Parties? A Comparative Introduction’, in Party Change in Southern Europe, ed. by Anna Bosco and Leonardo Morlino (New York. Routledge, 2007), pp. 1–28. Ibid., p. 19.


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Voting behaviour in Macedonia has previously been researched in the context of the 2002 parliamentary elections. Analysis of an exit poll of the 2002 elections found that different factors determined electoral support depending on the ethnic political bloc.23 Skaric finds that the effect of the party leader as an explanatory variable decreases the likelihood of voting for the VMRO-DPMNE/LPM (Liberal Party of Macedonia/Liberna partija na Makedonija) and SDSM/LDPM (Liberal-democratic Party of Macedonia/Liberalno-demokratska partija na Makedonija) coalitions, but increases the likelihood of voting for the Albanian parties, the DUI and DPA. He detects issue voting as the main explanatory factor for electoral support for the SDSM/LDPM coalition,24 however, he fails to identify what is the strongest factor leading to support for the VMRO-DPMNE.25 This research takes into consideration the conclusions of Skaric’s study and aims to provide novel findings within the changed institutional and political context.

Research design Methodology This research takes as a starting point the premise that political parties in Macedonia target only voters within their ethnic groups and thus that voting is ethnically based.26 Taking this into consideration, the research limits itself to an exploration of attitudes towards (ethnic) Macedonian parties and leaders, since including all parties and leaders would be beyond the scope of this study.27 It surveys voting behaviour in Macedonia by focusing on electoral support for the governing party, the VMRO-DPMNE. The conceptual framework is based on theories of voting behaviour. The effect on Macedonian politics of the appearance of Nikola Gruevski — who was leader of the VMRO-DPMNE and Prime Minister during the period under study — can be explained by reference to the concept of presidentialization or personalization of politics and elections. Since Nikola Gruevski became president of the VMRO-DPMNE in May 2003, the party has undergone changes in its policies, structure and leadership. The Prime Minister, who was the bearer of this success, achieved the highest popularity rating ever held by a Macedonian politician.28 As the party suffered a major split in 2004 and most of its prominent officials left the VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski 23 24 25 26

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Škarić. The coalitions have since changed. Škarić, p. 119–133. Jakub Sedo, ‘The Party System of Macedonia’, in Party Politics in the Western Balkans, ed. by Vera Stojarova and Peter Emerson, (New York: Routledge, 2010), pp. 167–180; The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Presidential and Municipal Elections, 22 March and 5 April 2009: OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report (30 June 2009) <http://www.osce.org/odihr-elections/36960.html> [accessed 7 February 2010]; Škarić, p. 131. Surveys among the Albanian community in Macedonia are conducted in Albanian. This research made an effort to survey the opinion of the Albanian electorate by simultaneously posting the survey on an Albanian website, however a very small sample (6 respondents) of Albanians responded. Institute for Democracy Societas Civilis (Skopje), IDSCS Istrazuvanje na Mediumi_Anketa Rejting Mart 2009 (2009), <http://www.idscs.org.mk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=74&Itemid=76&lang=mk> [accessed 7 January 2010], p. 3.


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became the sole representative figure of the party. He was the new image of the party. Electoral campaigns were centred on him, and this continued once the party entered government. Consecutive public opinion polls rated his popularity higher than that of the party.29 Additionally, he presented himself in public as a downto-earth politician with whom voters could identify. Ever since he took over leadership of the party, the VMRO-DPMNE has been successful at the polls. It can be argued that the party’s success is a result of his leadership and that without it, such success could not have been achieved. This would suggest that voters’ support for the party is driven by support for the party leader. Therefore it can be assumed: H1. Support for the VMRO-DPMNE is driven by people’s support for its president, Nikola Gruevski. Without his leadership support for the party would decrease significantly.

However, at the same time, the party has changed the way it functioned and the manner in which it addressed voters. In the years prior to the 2006 elections, parties usually entered elections with vague political programmes. The economy, poverty and the low standard of living had long been identified as the most serious issues faced by citizens.30 The VMRO-DPMNE entered the 2006 elections focusing on issues identified by citizens and offering concrete policies based on those issues and specific deadlines for their completion. VMRO-DPMNE was the first party to enter the 2006 electoral campaign focusing on a valence issue, the economy. Its campaign programme was the first programme by a major political party to offer concrete policy proposals and set deadlines for fulfilling electoral promises.31 It was the first major party to address citizens’ concerns and to develop a campaign programme based on the economy. The party has continued to function in this way, while the other parties, especially its only other relevant rival, the SDSM, have lagged in doing the same. It can be argued that by doing this, the VMRO-DPMNE introduced issue voting to Macedonia. It can be hypothesized that: H2. The support for the VMRO-DPMNE is driven by the ability of the party to speak of the issues that matter to citizens. Voters see the VMRO-DPMNE as the only party capable of handling these issues and continue to support the party.

On the other hand, the way the party performed once it came into government also differentiates it from the other parties. The government under the VMRO-DPMNE undertook a different style of governing and communicating with the public. This meant it regularly reported on how it was performing on its electoral promises and frequently informed the public about the policies it was undertaking and its work. To do so, it initiated advertizing campaigns that promoted its programmes and celebrated its reforms. In its 2008 election programme, the party reported on what it had accomplished in the two-year period in government.32 However, the party had also been accused of populist behaviour and of telling people what they wanted to 29 30

31 32

Ibid. Williams and Associates survey for USAID and the International Republican Institute, ‘Macedonia Political Poll, December 2009’, USAID Macedonia Press Releases, <http://macedonia.usaid.gov/en/Documents.html> [accessed 7 January 2010], 8; TNS Opinion & Social, Eurobarometer, ‘Standard Eurobarometer 72/Autumn 2009, National Report Summary Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’, <http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/ archives/eb/eb72/eb72_fyrom_en_exec.pdf> [accessed 7 January 2010], p. 10. VMRO-DPMNE. Programa na VMRO-DPMNE za prerodba 2006–2010. Skopje: VMRO-DPMNE, 2006. VMRO-DPMNE. Program of VMRO-DPMNE for rebirth 2008–2012. Skopje: VMRO-DPMNE, 2008.


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hear.33 Taking all of this into consideration, it can be argued that the electorate was appreciative of the government’s performance and rewarded it in elections. This suggests that the support for the centre-right in the last several elections is not based on the issues it tackles, or on the effects of the leader, but an overall change of attitude by the government led by the VMRO-DPMNE. This would mean that retrospective voting has taken place in Macedonia and that citizens are rewarding the party for its performance. This leads to the third hypothesis: H3. The government of the VMRO-DPMNE has been delivering on its promises and the citizens assess its performance positively. This has led the voters to continuously reward the VMRO-DPMNE in elections.

Methodology Internet survey An internet survey was constructed to test the postulated hypotheses and examine voters’ preferences. The dependent variable was defined as voting for the VMRODPMNE. It tested the hypotheses by asking a variety of questions organized into three groups of variables: leader effects, issue voting and government performance. This research investigates the extent to which each model independently explains voting for the VMRO-DPMNE, without straightforwardly questioning why voters vote for a specific party. The internet survey was selected as the most convenient and efficient method. The author found no evidence that an online survey for a wider research of political attitudes has previously been administered in Macedonia. Therefore, no previously developed representative sample of the population that could be accessed electronically was available. Having taken this into consideration, it was decided to use a web page-based survey advertized on a website.34 It was decided that the survey would be posted on one of the popular Macedonian news websites, <http://www.time.mk>. Time.mk was selected because it is an independently owned and administered news portal, which synthesizes all the news published on all Macedonian media websites without any editing or commenting. As such, it is an unbiased, wealthy and timely news source. In order to attract time.mk’s visitors to fill in the survey, an animated banner with two sides was designed. The message of the banner was ‘Survey — What motivates voting preferences?’ and ‘Survey — Say what you think’. The survey was posted in April 2010.

The advantages and disadvantages of internet surveys As internet usage is rapidly spreading around the world, commercial companies and academic researchers are starting to rely on internet surveys in their work. The main advantages of internet surveys are their significantly lower administration costs, the elimination of interviewer bias, the ability to provide more detailed information (including visual presentation), less cognitive demand through visibility of the 33

34

Ermira Mehmeti, ‘Populistickiot diskurs na VMRO-DPMNE’. Utrinski vesnik, 22 March 2007, <http://www. utrinski.com.mk/?ItemID=A726FD58065E0049B8FE9CB64B91158F> [accessed 22 March, 2007]. David de Vaus, Surveys in Social Research, (London: Routledge, 2002), p. 77.


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response options, and fast collection of responses.35 Additionally, Internet surveys provide anonymity to the respondents, which can contribute to greater sincerity on their part, and therefore more accurate responses. However, they have limitations, which have to be identified well in advance. Due to the impossibility of obtaining a representative and random sample of respondents, internet surveys face the problem of coverage error.36 The research was conducted with an awareness of the shortcomings of the method. The latest reports state that internet penetration in Macedonia is around 40%; 41.8% of households in Macedonia have access to Internet, not taking into account those who access the internet from their workplaces.37 Thus, from the beginning, the survey’s representativeness was constrained at two levels; by the lack of wide internet penetration in Macedonia, and by the limitation of respondents to the visitors of the website. While the first deficiency could not be addressed, the nature of Time.mk as a popular, unbiased source of news was expected to at least partially ameliorate the second constraint.

The questionnaire The questionnaire was constructed on the premises of social exchange theory, according to which ‘actions of individuals are motivated by the return these actions are expected to bring and, in fact, usually do bring, from others’.38 Therefore, in order for a given action to be justified, a confluence of three factors is required: the promise of reward, a guarantee of return on investment, and grounds for motivation. In order to motivate people to complete the survey, respondents were offered the chance to enter a small prize draw by providing their email address. Respondents were assured that the survey was anonymous and that providing their email addresses did not disclose their identity. Also, they were informed that taking the survey would not be time-consuming, and would take only seven minutes. This was also assured by placing the survey questions on only two pages so that it would appear to be short. The creation of the questionnaire followed questionnaire construction standards. Questions were ordered in such way that responding to them would not be monotonous and to avoid the consistency effect.39 Closed-ended formatting was selected for all question responses. This kind of formatting was chosen for several reasons. Closed-ended questions give the respondents direction and provide guidance as to where they should focus their thoughts.40 This helps to ensure that answers are clear and facilitates the determination of the 35

36

37

38 39

40

Don A. Dilman, Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007), p. 355; Dan Farrell and James C. Petersen. ‘The Growth of Internet Research Methods and the Reluctant Sociologist’, Sociological Inquiry, 80 (2010), 114–125 (p. 118); Robert P. Berrens and others, ‘The Advent of Internet Surveys for Political Research: A Comparison of Telephone and Internet Samples’, Political Analysis, 11 (2003), p. 2. Dilman, p. 355; Mick P. Couper, Arie Kapteyn, Matthias Schonlau, and Joachim Winter, ‘Noncoverage and Nonresponse in an Internet Survey’, Social Science Research, 36, 1 (2007), 131–148. State Statistical Office of Republic of Macedonia (SSO), Information Society News Release Year XLVII, No: 8.1.9.23 2009, pp. 26–10, <http://www.stat.gov.mk/statistiki.asp?ss=14.04&rbs=1> [accessed 18 March 2010]. Dilman, p. 14. Vaus; Seymour Sudman and Norman M. Bradburn, Asking Questions, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1983). Vaus, p. 100.


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weight of the variables that are the focus of the research. Additionally, closed-ended questions are less time consuming, they are quicker to answer and avoid the potential problem of incorrect coding of answers that might arise with open-ended questions.41 Some research finds that when respondents are provided with a list of answers, they give more reliable answers than in open-ended questions.42 However, closed-ended questions may confuse the respondent unless they offer mutually exclusive answers and exhaust all possible alternatives. Additionally, this type of question may be ambiguous if it addresses two or more issues.43 Three of the questions were adopted from other surveys.44 Finally, a pilot version was sent to seven individuals of different ages, with different educational backgrounds, political preferences and voting or non-voting records. The testers of the survey were asked questions about the time needed to complete the survey, the clarity of the questions and instructions, the order and the flow of the questions, and for any additional comments they might have. All of the respondents found the questions and the instructions clear and understandable. There were two comments on some of the questions, which resulted in modifications to those questions; the instructions for questions 8 and 9 were made more specific. Also, the Likert scale used in measuring government performance in questions 4 and 5 was modified from approve/disapprove to somewhat approve/somewhat disapprove. In this way, the proposed answers were able to absorb the opinion of those who are partially satisfied with the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s performance.

Results and data analysis The sample â&#x20AC;&#x201D; demographic characteristics The demographic characteristics of the sample are not representative of the population of Macedonia, and therefore the research does not aim to draw general conclusions on voting behaviour in Macedonia. Instead, the conclusions will focus on the social and demographic groups that were substantially represented among the respondents. Therefore, the analysis of the results was based on unweighted data. The survey was completed by 278 respondents. There is a drastic discrepancy between the number of male and the number of female respondents; 70.9% are male and 29.1% are female. As there is no information on the type of visitors to the website, this discrepancy could mean either that men in Macedonia are much more interested in following the news than women, or that men are much more interested in expressing their opinions on political issues. Macedonian respondents make up 92.8% of the sample, while only 7.2% belong to the other ethnic communities (Q20). Since Macedonian parties only appeal to Macedonian (ethnic) voters, the ethnic composition of the sample gives ground for an analysis of this voting group. The majority of them, 67.3%, live in Skopje; 30.6% live in other towns in Macedonia, while only 2.2% are from rural areas (Q21). The sample consists predominantly of those aged 18 to 24 (26.3%) and those aged 25 to 39 (60.4%), with most of the 41 42

43 44

Ibid., p. 100. Giuseppe Iarossi, The Power of Survey Design, (Washington, D.C.: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank, 2006), p. 74. Ibid., p. 42. Williams & Associates, p. 8; Institute for Democracy Societas Civilis, p. 3.


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remainder (9.4%) being middle-age, 40 to 54 (Q16). 77.7% have higher education while 15.8% have high school-level education (Q18). A majority — 58% — of the respondents are employed (most of them in the private sector and in public administration), while 20.1% are students and 12.2% are unemployed (Q19). The VMRO-DPMNE supporters within the sample are predominantly male, 89%, and only 11% female; 26 % of them are students, 19.2% are employed in the public sector, 16.4% are employed in the private sector and only 9.6% are unemployed. The largest group by occupation of the apathetic population, namely those who do not vote, however, are employed in the private sector (31%), followed by students (24.1%), those employed in the public administration (8.6%), and those in managerial positions or experts (10.3%). Most SDSM supporters are employed in the private sector (20.6%), are students (20.6%), or are unemployed (19.1%). Male voters prevail among the SDSM voters as well (61.8%), making up a similar proportion of the non-voters (60.3%), and of the undecided group (70%). However, this is probably because of the predominance of male respondents within the sample. The limitations the study faced due to the discrepancy in gender representation point toward some potential conclusions and new areas for research. The strikingly lower number of female respondents could be due to the website having far fewer female visitors, or because female visitors to the website are not interested in expressing their opinions on political issues. Either way, it can be assumed that women in Macedonia show and express far less interest in news and politics. The respondents consider the economy, poverty and unemployment as the most important problem Macedonia is facing, grading it at 4.40, followed by corruption at 3.72, the name issue45 at 3.21, EU and NATO integration at 2.87, and interethnic relations at the bottom at 2.80 (see Table 1). The table clearly indicates that the economy is the most salient issue for the electorate.

The validity of the leader effects hypothesis What it is about Gruevski that makes him a good leader? How do the respondents see him? The results clearly show that Nikola Gruevski is the most favoured politician in Macedonia. 24.8% of the respondents say he is the politician in whom they have the greatest confidence, followed by 13.7% who say the same about Branko Crvenkovski and 11.5% for Radmila Šekerinska (Q7).46 The popularity gap hypothesis, which proposes that the bigger the popularity gap among the political leaders, the more likely it is that the most popular leader will have a decisive influence on individuals’ voting choices, suggests a straightforward explanation for the VMRODPMNE’s success.47 However, the survey results show that there are other factors contributing to this success. 45

46

47

Since independence, Macedonia has been in a bilateral dispute with Greece concerning the name of the country. Greece claims ownership of the word ‘Macedonia’ and opposes the use of it by its neighbor. Macedonia also claims ownership of the name and does not want to change its name as Greece demands. The VMRO-DPMNE maintains a hard stance on this issue. The result for Radmila Šekerinska is rather surprising relative to other public opinion research in Macedonia. IDSCS’s surveys, whose format for this question this research followed, continuously registers Šekerinska’s rating at around 0.5%. This big difference can be explained by the survey method and by the fact that internet survey respondents feel less restrained in expressing their thoughts. Butler and Stokes, pp. 367–368.


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TABLE 1 VALENCE OF ISSUES Q1. According to you, which is the most serious problem Macedonia is facing today? Rank by importance. 1 — least serious, 5 — the most serious Mean

Std. Deviation

Economy, poverty, unemployment

4.40

1.099

Corruption

3.72

1.303

The name issue

3.21

1.390

Interethnic relations

2.80

1.175

EU and NATO integration

2.87

1.410

In order to understand the popularity of Gruevski, one needs to examine the qualities of his leadership and those of his rival. What is it about his personality that distinguishes him from the less popular leader of the centre-left, Branko Crvenkovski? Dewan and Myatt claim that a leader’s influence depends on his ability to communicate clearly and to provide a sense of direction.48 Almost half of the respondents (45.7%) stated an awareness of the solutions he offers, compared to 38.1% who said the same about Crvenkovski (Q10, Q11). On the sense of direction, the survey asked respondents whether they knew where Nikola Gruevski is leading the country, to which half of them (52.1%) answered that they did; however, only 31.3% think that he is leading the country in the right direction. Asked the same questions about his opponent, slightly less than half (45%) stated that they knew in which direction he would lead the country, whilst the percentage of those who thought that Crvenkovski would lead the country on the right path is smaller still (28.1%). Additionally, there is strong agreement among VMRO-DPMNE voters that Nikola Gruevski offers good solutions for the country (98.6%), with 95.9% saying that he unites, 93.2% seeing him as being close to the people, and 90.4% as someone who understands the real problems of the people, while a somewhat smaller proportion (87.7%) see him as decisive. They assess him negatively only on one characteristic, his democratic capability, with only 43.8% considering him a democrat. This, however, does not negatively influence his popularity, and this can be understood when looking at the attitude question that asks people whether their opinion is closer to the position that a democratic government or a strong leader with a strong hand can solve the country’s problems (Q13). The cross tabulation of this question shows that VMRO-DPMNE supporters prefer a strong leader to a democratic government. Among all respondents, 57.2% believe that Gruevski is close to the people, 49.3% consider him decisive, 39.6% that he offers good solutions for the country, 39.2% that he understands the real problems of the people, 36.3% that he unites; yet only 18% think he is a democrat. It can be seen that among the population as a whole, there is only one question on which there is a majority consensus regarding Gruevski’s character, and that is his closeness to the people. 48

Torun Dewan and David P. Myatt, ‘The Qualities of Leadership: Direction, Communication, and Obfuscation’, American Political Science Review, 102 (2008), 351–368.


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TABLE 2 CORRELATIONS49 Government Approval Government Approval

Pearson Correlation N

Party Capability on Economy

1

N

271 .654**

271

Leader effects of Nikola Gruevski Pearson Correlation

.617** 277

1

.798**

272 .617**

277

Leader effects of Nikola Gruevski

.654**

277

Pearson Correlation N

Party Capability on Economy

272 .798**

272

1 278

Testing the hypotheses In order to test the strength of the hypotheses, a logistic regression was performed. The following independent variables were selected to prove the validity of the hypotheses. For the first hypothesis (H1), which postulated the importance of leader effects, the question on confidence in politicians was selected. This question measures the effects of Nikola Gruevski as a leader compared to all other political leaders in Macedonia. Respondents who expressed confidence in Gruevski were coded as 1 and those who expressed confidence in other politicians were coded as 0 (all independent variables were coded in the same way). Gruevski’s popularity among the electorate is evident and all other politicians lag behind him. His rival, Branko Crvenkovski, does not match him within the opposition electorate, considered as those who vote for the SDSM. To test the second hypothesis (H2), the independent variable was defined as Government approval (Q4). This would include all those who give a positive evaluation of the work of the government from 2006 onwards and it would indicate their inclination to continue to support the governing party. Finally, the third hypothesis (H3) was tested with the question on the party’s ability to address the issue of most salience to the electorate, the economy (Q2a). If the validity of this model were verified, this would mean that the VMRO-DPMNE has gained the support of the electorate by addressing the issue of greatest concern to the Macedonian people. However, as it was expected that the independent variables would be correlated, this was tested initially. The testing showed that they are highly correlated, so that including all of them in one model would introduce multicollinearity. Multicollinearity 49

For tables 2 and 3, the following legend applies: *Dependent variable VMRO-DPMNE voters Method: Logistic regression Statistical odds ratios are shown with stars: p< 0.05 = * p < 0.01 ** p < 0.001*** The first number reported in the Wald coefficient and the number reported in brackets is the Exp(B). Model 0: VMRO-DPMNE voters with socio-demographic variables Model 1: VMRO-DPMNE voters with confidence in Nikola Gruevski as a politician Model 2: VMRO-DPMNE voters assured of the party’s ability to handle the economy Model 3: VMRO-DPMNE voters with Government approval rating


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in logistic regression comes as a result of high correlation between the independent variables, which can cause difficulty in interpreting the value of the independent variables. Therefore, a test model, not including any of the independent variables, and three separate models based on each one of the independent variables, were performed. Table 3 presents the results of four logistic regressions that were performed with voting for the VMRO-DPMNE as the dependent variable (Q14). All of the models confirmed the premise of the research, that voting is ethnically based; however, none of the models estimated this to be a statistically significant variable, since merely being a Macedonian does not automatically mean support for the party of interest. Model 0 presents gender as a highly significant variable and shows that it is very unlikely for women to vote for the VMRO-DPMNE. Interestingly, while the probablility that women vote for this party stayed highly negative in the other models, this variable was only significant in the third model. Young people, aged 18 to 24, are very likely to support the VMRO-DPMNE, and this variable remains significant in all models, again being most significant in the third model. The government has undertaken many positive policies and measures targeted towards the young population and it can even be inferred that this is drawing this section of the electorate to support the governing party and its leader. Turning to the issues and the importance accorded to them, it can be seen from the first model that three issues are statistically significant and that only one of them is positively correlated with the dependent variable. Namely, people who consider the name issue as a serious problem are much more likely to vote for the VMRO-DPMNE. On the other hand, people who consider the economy, poverty and unemployment a salient issue, along with those who consider the interethnic relations as a relevant problem are almost as equally unlikely to vote for the VMRO-DPMNE. In this model, regarding the economy as a problem is the most significant variable, followed by the gender variable, interethnic relations, and then the name issue. The position that the economy is the most serious problem Macedonia is facing today is a view supported by the whole sample. All those not in favour of the VMRO-DPMNE evidently disagree with the way the party handles this issue. On an individual level, the only significant variable in the second model is the young population, aged 18 to 24. However, even though the others are not estimated as significant, this model shows that the group aged between 25 and 39 is also more inclined to support the VMRO-DPMNE, along with those who consider the name issue a salient issue. Out of the three separate models that tested the postulated hypotheses, all three were shown to be highly robust and statistically significant. This means that support for the party remains strong. However, it can be seen from the R2 values that the third model is the strongest, and is the one most likely to ensure that any future estimations based upon these calculations will be correctly interpreted.

Conclusion This research examined existing theories of voting behaviour in order to explain the unprecedented success of the VMRO-DPMNE in Macedonia since it came to power. It was hypothesized that its success could be due to the three substantial changes the party had undergone since Nikola Gruevski became its chair. In order to test the


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TABLE 3 LOGISTIC REGRESSION ANALYSIS OF VMRO-DPMNE VOTERS VERSUS VOTERS FOR OTHER PARTIES Model 0

Model 1 Nikola Gruevski

Model 2 Party

Model 3 Govt Approval

Gender (Ref=Male) Female (1)

11.690(.176)***

1.268 (0.437)

1.928 (0.264)

5.601 (0.212)*

.006 (.965)

2.292 (0.341)

1.162 (0.44)

.000 (1.006)

Education (Ref=University) High school (1) Ethnicity (Ref=Other) Macedonian (1)

.000 (6.635)

.000 (5.26x107)

.000 (2.97x107)

.000 (1.38x107)

Age (Ref=over 40) 18 to 24 (1)

5.859 (8.631)*

5.045 (22.504)*

4.27 (29.993)*

6.889 (16.805)**

25 to 39 (2)

3.059 (3.829)

2.287 (5.723)

2.898 (7.893)

1.872 (3.237)

Bigger (1)

.468 (.651)

1.883 (0.247)

1.883 (0.247)

0.514 (0.56)

Skopje (2)

.003 (1.030)

2.526 (0.257)

2.526 (0.257)

0.14 (0.764) 0.153 (1.465)

Place (Ref= Small)

Occupation (Ref=Unemployed) Manager; Private Owner (1) Other (2) Employed in private sector (3) Public Admin (4) Student (5) Problem Economy, Poverty, Unemployment

.092 (.805)

.001 (1.036)

2.366 (0.118)

1.469 (.394)

0.119 (1.492)

0.963 (0.213)

1.019 (0.344)

.021 (.908)

0.416 (0.499)

0.643 (0.386)

0.011 (0.913)

1.076 (2.127)

0.028 (1.232)

0.07 (0.68)

0.459 (1.923)

.111 (.772)

0.211 (0.553)

1.46 (0.143)

0.591 (0.445)

18.909 (.475)***

5.224 (0.576)

3.215 (0.588)

6.934 (0.572)**

Corruption

3.441 (.779)

0.003 (1.013)

1.781 (0.72)

1.929 (0.779)

Problem Name

6.934 (1.440)**

0.34 (1.128)

0.269 (1.13)

4.206 (1.392)*

Interethnic relations

9.392 (.605)**

8.97 (0.449)**

EU & NATO integration

.999 (.880)

0.004 (0.987)

NG confidence

PartySection 1 s ability to handle the economy

Government approval

0.454

0.779

0.828

2

Nagelkerke R

52.571 (187.482)***

11.431 (0.334)** 0.1 (1.075) —

4.444 (0.63)* 0.198 (1.075) —

45.664 (376.991)*** — 22.22 (159.363)*** 0.695

hypotheses an online survey was constructed. The research was novel in its approach, as the author found no evidence that an internet survey of this type has previously been conducted in Macedonia. The data that was gathered suggested that confidence in the governing party had significantly declined since the 2008 parliamentary elections. Nevertheless, in order to determine the most convincing explanation for voting in favour of the governing party, a logistic regression was performed. The statistical testing of the hypotheses did not reject the validity of any of them. On the contrary, all of them were proven to be correct. However, this finding is still significant for understanding the manner in which the VMRO-DPMNE has been governing since it came to power in 2006. While the party is regarded negatively by


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the apathetic group and by opposition voters, it is also considered very able in its handling of the economy by the population that still supports it. Its ability fundamentally to change the essence of campaigning and its focus on the issue of greatest concern to citizens account for the party’s continued electoral success. As long as voters see the VMRO-DPMNE as the party most capable of addressing the economic sores of the country, it will continue to be unbeaten in the polls. More importantly, it can be concluded that the success of the VMRO-DPMNE is not the result of the independent impact of any of the variables. None of the models on its own can provide a credible explanation. The peculiarity of this party is that voters support it because of its leader, its ability to tackle the valence issues and because of the performance of the government so far. That this is not tautological becomes evident when comparing it to the case of the SDSM. Their leader does not match the party’s popularity rating. Additionally, the party has not gained any new supporters, even though it could have presented itself as a credible alternative on the issue of the economy and thus won the support of all those unsatisfied with the VMRO-DPMNE’s accomplishments in this area. It can be concluded that the VMRO-DPMNE’s electoral success can be understood through both concepts of issue voting and retrospective voting. The leader effects hypothesis was also confirmed, although it is not apparent in this case that the leader has a decisive influence on elections, as the concept of the presidentialization of politics would imply. Personalization of politics is apparent in this case; however, it is not the sole factor impacting upon voters’ choices. The survey collated extensive data, and much of it could not be addressed in this paper. The data can be analyzed in further research to gain a deeper understanding of electoral behaviour in Macedonia. For the purposes of this research, the analysis has focused on one particular question and has gathered valuable evidence in understanding what has differentiated the VMRO-DPMNE, and especially its term in office since 2006, from any other party and political structure in government.

Notes on contributor Ilina Mangova holds a Masters degree in Comparative Politics (Democracy) from the London School of Economics. She has performed research in the area of political attitudes, political ideology, and discrimination. She has published in Macedonian journals exploring the influence of civil society on national policies, non-discrimination, and the equality of religious communities. Correspondence to: bul. Jane Sandanski 87/2/8, 1000 Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Appendix 1: survey questionnaire Welcome This survey about voting behaviour in Macedonia forms part of an academic research project at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The aim of the research is to find out how voters make their choices. The survey consists of a few short sections on six pages (including this one) and it is not possible to return to a page once it has been completed. Therefore, please think carefully before responding so that your views are accurately represented.


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Once you click Continue you will be directed to the first section of the survey. Data protection All data collected in this survey is highly confidential and will be held securely. The survey is anonymous. Should you wish, in the 5th section you can provide your email address to enter a prize draw for 50 euros. The email addresses is NOT linked to the survey responses, which remain anonymous. It will take you 7 minutes to complete the survey. Yours respectfully, Ilina Mangova Graduate student at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Q1. According to you, which is the most serious problem Macedonia is facing today? Rank them by importance, where 5 is the most serious and 1 is least serious. 1 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; least serious, 5 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the most serious 1

2

3

4

5

a. Economy, poverty, unemployment

l

l

l

l

l

b. Corruption

l

l

l

l

l

c. The name issue

l

l

l

l

l

d. Interethnic relations

l

l

l

l

l

e. EU and NATO integration

l

l

l

l

l

Q2. Which party do you think:

a. . . . is most capable of dealing with the economy, poverty and unemployment?

b. . . . is most capable of dealing with corruption?

c. . . . is most capable of dealing with the name issue?

d. . . . is most capable of managing interethnic relations?

e. . . . is most capable of realizing the process of EU and NATO integration?


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Q3. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements about some of the political leaders in Macedonia? Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t I I I I completely somewhat somewhat completely know disagree disagree agree agree a. Nikola Gruevski is the politician most capable of dealing with the economy, poverty and unemployment.

l

l

l

l

l

b. Branko Crvenkovski is the politician most capable of dealing with the economy, poverty and unemployment

l

l

l

l

l

c. Nikola Gruevski is the politician most capable of dealing with corruption

l

l

l

l

l

d. Branko Crvenkovski is the politician most capable of dealing with corruption

l

l

l

l

l

e. Nikola Gruevski is the politician most capable of managing interethnic relations

l

l

l

l

l

f. Branko Crvenkovski is the politician most capable of managing interethnic relations

l

l

l

l

l

g. Nikola Gruevski is the politician most capable of solving the name issue

l

l

l

l

l

h. Branko Crvenkovski is the politician most capable of solving the name issue

l

l

l

l

l

i. Nikola Gruevski is the politician most capable of taking Macedonia into the EU and NATO

l

l

l

l

l

j. Branko Crvenkovski is the politician most capable of taking Macedonia into the EU and NATO

l

l

l

l

l


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Q4. Do you approve or disapprove of the work of the Government from 2006 to present? I I I I I

completely approve somewhat approve somewhat disapprove completely approve do not know

Q5. How do you or your family feel about the measures that the Government has taken from 2006 to the present? Very positive Somewhat positive Somewhat negative Very negative I have not felt them at all I do not know Q6. No matter what your personal experience is, according to you, how have the measures that the Government has taken from 2006 to the present affected the people and your surroundings? Very positive Somewhat positive Somewhat negative Very negative Have not affected in any way I do not know Q7. In which politician do you have most confidence? Zoran Zaev Nikola Gruevski Ali Ahmeti Menduh Tachi Tito Petkovski Liljana Popovska Gjorgji Orovchanec Vlado Buckovski Zoran Stavrevski Jovan Manasijevski Ljubco Georievski Branko Crvenkovski Arben Xhaferi Imer Selmani Radmila Ĺ ekerinska


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Ljube Boškovski Gordana Jankulovska Stevce Jakimovski Rufi Osmani None Other Don’t know Q8. How would you describe the President of the VMRO-DPMNE Nikola Gruevski? Choose one option for each of the following characteristics.

Indecisive

Understands the real problems of the people

Doesn’t understand the real problems of the people

Authoritarian

Democratic

Unites

Divides

Offers good solutions for the country

Offers bad solutions for the country

6. Offer of policy solutions

Decisive

4. Democracy 5. Unity

Detached from the people

a. Nikola Gruevski

2. Decisiveness 3. Understanding of the problems of the people

Close to the people

1. Closeness to the people

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

Q9. How would you describe the President of the SDSM Branko Crvenkovski? Choose one option for each of the following characteristics.

Indecisive

Understands the real problems of the people

Doesn’t understand the real problems of the people

Authoritarian

Democrat

Unites

Divides

Offers good solutions for the country

Offers bad solutions for the country

6. Offer of policy solutions

Decisive

4. Democracy 5. Unity

Detached from the people

a. Nikola Gruevski

2. Decisiveness 3. Understanding for the problems of the people

Close to the people

1. Closeness to the people

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l


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Q10. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements on Nikola Gruevski? Completely agree

Somewhat agree

Somewhat disagree

Completely disagree

Don’t know

a. I know what kind of solutions he offers on various issues

l

l

l

l

l

b. I know where he is leading the country

l

l

l

l

l

c. He is leading the country on the right path

l

l

l

l

l

Q11. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements on Branko Crvenkovski? Completely agree

Somewhat agree

Somewhat disagree

Completely disagree

Don’t know

a. I know what kind of solutions he offers on various issues

l

l

l

l

l

b. I know where he is leading the country

l

l

l

l

l

c. He would lead the country on the right path

l

l

l

l

l

Q12. With which one of these statements do you agree: I trust Prime Minister Gruevski, but I don’t trust the Government I trust Prime Minister Gruevski more than I trust the Government I trust the Government more than I trust Prime Minister Gruevski I trust the Government and Prime Minister Gruevski equally I trust the Government, but I don’t trust Prime Minister Gruevski I trust neither the Government nor Prime Minister Gruevski Don’t know Q13. Which comes closer to your own preference: a democratic form of government to solve our country’s problems, or a leader with a strong hand to solve our country’s problems? Democratic form of government to solve our country’s problems A leader with a strong hand to solve our country’s problems Don’t know


VOTING BEHAVIOUR IN MACEDONIA

Q14. If parliamentary elections were held today, which party would you vote for? Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) New Social-Democratic Party (NSDP) Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDSM) Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) VMRO-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMEN)) New Democracy (ND) Socialist Party of Macedonia (SPM) Democratic Renewal of Macedonia (DOM) Party for European Future (PEI) Democratic Union (DS) VMRO-Macedonian (VMRO-M) Democratic Party of the Serbs in Macedonia (DPSM) Democratic Party of the Turks in Macedonia (DPTM) Alliance of Roma (SRM) Party for Democratic Action in Macedonia (SDAM) Liberal Party of Macedonia (LPM) Other I don’t vote I don’t know Q15. Which party did you vote for in the parliamentary elections in 2008? Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) New Social-Democratic Party (NSDP) Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDSM) Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) VMRO-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMEN)) New Democracy (ND) Socialist Party of Macedonia (SPM) Democratic Renewal of Macedonia (DOM) Party for European Future (PEI) Democratic Union (DS) VMRO-Macedonian (VMRO-M) Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia (DPSM) Democratic Party of Turks in Macedonia (DPTM) Alliance of Roma (SRM) Party for Democratic Action in Macedonia (SDAM) Liberal Party of Macedonia (LPM) I didn’t vote Other

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Q16. Please choose your age group? Under 18 18 to 24 25 to 39 40 to 54 55 to 64 over 65 Q17. What is your gender? Female Male Q18. What level of education have you completed? Unfinished primary or primary Secondary Vocational College Q19. What is your current occupation? Blue-collar worker Student Public administration Agriculture Retired High-skilled worker/manager House chores Employed in private sector Unemployed Private business/self-employed Other Q20. What is your ethnicity? Macedonian Albanian Turkish Serbian Roma Vlach Bosnian Other


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Q21. Where do you live? Village Smaller town Bigger town Skopje Prize draw Should you wish, you can provide your email address to enter a prize draw for 50 euros. The email address is NOT connected to the answers to the survey, which remain anonymous. Top of Form

Q22. Email: Bottom of Form


slovo, Vol. 23 No. 2, Autumn, 2011, 156–62

Reviews The Chronicle of Prussia by Nicolaus von Jeroschin: A History of the Teutonic Knights in Prussia, 1190–1331. Translated by Mary Fischer. Pp. 306. Farnham: Ashgate. 2010. £60, (HB). ISBN: 9-780-75465-309-7 For the twentieth volume in Ashgate’s fine Crusade Texts in Translation series, Mary Fischer has produced a valuable translation of Nicolaus von Jeroschin’s Kronike von Pruzinlant. It is the first time that this particular narrative source has appeared in English, while the only other full edition of the chronicle remains that produced by Ernst Strehlke in the mid-nineteenth century.1 Jeroschin, our chronicler, appears to have been a chaplain in the Teutonic Order, having joined it under Gottfried von Heimberg. This suggests he joined the order somewhere between 1326 and 1329. This, along with virtually everything else we know about the author, is taken from his chronicle, thus in some ways it acts as an autobiographical text, although not necessarily an accurate one. The year of Jeroschin’s birth is not included in the chronicle and the best guess puts his birth at some point around 1290, but this is based merely on the fact that his eye-witness reports do not appear in the chronicle before 1311. Moreover, some scholars have suggested his background to be a humble one lacking in any sort of courtly education. As Jeroschin puts it: ‘I am lacking in intellect [. . .] and additionally do not know much German, other than what I learned from my mother’s milk’. (p. 28) However, as Fischer suggests in her introduction, it is entirely possible that this was a show of humility rather than accurate autobiographical detail. The chronicle’s content, which is divided into three books, is less about the author and more about the history of the Teutonic Order between 1190, when the order was founded, and 1331. It is not, however, all Jeroschin’s own work. After introducing the chronicle, including an explanation for writing it in the first place, Jeroschin simply translates into German the first book of Peter von Dusburg’s Chronicon Terrae Prussiae which tells the early history of the Order to 1230. Jeroschin’s second book can be split into two distinct sections. In the first part, the story of how the Teutonic Order came to be in Prussia is told. Duke Conrad of Masovia had seen the Sword Brothers make little progress in pacifying the heathens and, having taken good counsel, gave the Teutonic Order Kulm (Chełmno) and Löbau (Lubawa) ‘and in addition all the lands which they might conquer thereafter with the help of God and take from the control of heathens, with all the rights and uses which he and his family had possessed and handed down from the beginning of time’. (p. 47) The second part of book two is mostly concerned with justifying war in the name of the church. ‘God has instituted to tear down the gates of the enemy everywhere’ (p. 49), Jeroschin writes enthusiastically about a conflict in which spiritual and physical weapons were deployed against the heathens. In the third and final book of the chronicle Jeroschin again uses material from Dusburg’s Chronicon. However, here, Jeroschin does not simply translate the whole of Dusburg’s section, but instead uses selections to enhance his own work. The information Jeroschin takes from Dusburg is about events outside Prussia, while Jeroschin’s original contributions in book three depict the hostilities between the Teutonic Order and the Prussians and, later, the Lithuanians. 1

See Scriptores Rerum Prussicarum: Die Geschichtsquellen der preussischen Vorzeit, vol. 1, (Leipzig, 1861), pp. 291-624.

© School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 2011


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This handsome volume is occasionally let down (most notably in the introduction) by the footnotes, where the publisher is sometimes absent from references. Furthermore, the three accompanying maps are lacklustre. These are minor criticisms. Ultimately, Fischer has provided both students and researchers with a useful and readable edition of an important source for the study of the crusades and the history of the Teutonic Order. School of Slavonic and East European Studies University College London

Christopher Nicholson

Ballets Russes Style: Diaghilev’s Dancers and Paris Fashion. By Mary E. Davis. Pp. 256. London: Reaktion Books. 2010. £17.95, (PB). ISBN: 9-781-86189-757-2 Published to coincide with the wave of cultural events commemorating the Ballets Russes centenary in 2009, Davis’s book looks at Diaghilev’s much discussed enterprise from yet another angle: that of its influence on Paris fashion. Davis is right that the subject is worthy of more attention than it has received to date. It is almost as if the ‘Diaghilev effect’ upon the arena of style and couture has been seen as almost too obvious to merit any detailed discussion. In her preface, Davis discusses many well-known examples of the company’s enduring legacy for the century since its inception, highlighting various landmark events such as the large-scale exhibition staged by Richard Buckle in London in 1954 and Diana Vreeland’s Russian-themed fashion show of 1976. She brings this right up to date by noting that the ‘Paris-Moscou’ collection by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel in 2009 was not only a nod to the close relationship of Coco Chanel with the Ballets Russes, but also reworked ‘the broader and enveloping sensibilities of exoticism, eroticism and extravagance that were at the heart of the enterprise’ (p. 19). This phrase flags up one of the difficulties associated with writing about the Ballets Russes. Although Davis writes in a fluid, highly readable manner, using some sources not yet discussed in the existing literature, she necessarily revisits many facts and themes that are already second nature to Ballets Russes scholars. Chapters are helpfully organized according to sources of influence: ‘Paris’, ‘Russia’, ‘The East’, ‘The Ancient World’, and ‘The Modern World’; but they include familiar material such as retellings of ballet synopses and costume descriptions as well as discussions of the ways in which the troupe’s exoticism and ‘orientalist’ tendencies were manifested. In the interests of a good story, the author also includes anecdotes that seem rather peripheral to the overarching theme, for example, a lengthy account of Stravinsky’s affair with Coco Chanel. These digressions, plus the fact that the book contains scant references to the existing scholarly literature (nor is there a bibliography), suggest that the book is principally aimed at a general audience rather than an academic one. It is also a pity that the author has chosen to limit the chronological scope of her discussion to the period during which the Ballets Russes performed (1909–1929) and the geographical scope to Paris. This leads to a narrow approach in which she seeks to dissect the company’s output and link it to the prevailing fashion trends in the French capital. Nevertheless, a focus on this period can still provide many rich and unmined seams, and it is where Davis considers primary sources in more detail that the book comes to life. For example, her discussion in Chapter 1 of periodicals such as Comœdia Illustré and La Gazette du Bon Ton and her references throughout the book to newspaper reports, photographs, and memoirs of protagonists provide fascinating glimpses into how and why the company and its ideas infiltrated into Parisian culture quite so successfully. It would have been interesting to see more of this kind of factual evidence and her analysis of it in preference to the rehearsal of well-trodden material. This might also have allowed the author to devote more attention to other relevant questions such as how the reception of Diaghilev’s productions and the integration of ideas associated with them were influenced by the broader cultural milieu or the prior history of French engagement with Russian culture. Thus, although Davis can be applauded for illuminating a little-discussed aspect of the Ballet Russes, the reader is left with a sense that


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the historical analysis in this area remains incomplete. Indeed, the book lacks a conclusion, suggesting perhaps that the author has simply provided more colour to a version of events that has already been accepted as definitive, rather than seeking to challenge it. University of Cambridge

Louise Hardison

Adopting and Remembering Soviet Reality: Life Stories of Lithuanian Women, 1945–1970. By Dalia Leinarte. Pp. 242. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. 2010. $87.75, (PB). ISBN: 978-90-420-3062-6 After the Soviet Union’s annexation of Lithuania in 1940, Lithuanian women faced obstacles and opportunities as they negotiated their way through a changing landscape of social norms and expectations of participation in economic life. Women of all economic, educational and social levels engaged in establishing and recreating their roles as women, workers, wives and mothers. In doing so, they both resisted and incorporated Soviet values about those roles. In Adopting and Remembering Soviet Reality, historian Dalia Leinarte analyzes the ways in which Lithuanian women were influenced by Soviet propaganda about gender and family roles in the first 25 years of Soviet rule. Based on over 50 oral interviews with women in post-Soviet Lithuania, as well as extensive archival research on Soviet propaganda and family law, the book is comprised of three sections. In the first section, ‘Conducting Interviews in the Post-Soviet Space’, Leinarte reflects on the process of interviewing women in independent Lithuania about their lives during the Soviet period and the ways in which women remembered and responded to their remembered lives. Part II, ‘Women, Work and Family in Soviet Lithuania’, contains four analytical essays about gender roles and propaganda in the Soviet Union in general, and Soviet Lithuania in particular, from 1945 through 1960s. The final section, ‘Life Stories of Lithuanian Women’, presents ten oral histories of women interviewed as part of Leinarte’s research. Representing a diverse range of life experiences and social positions, the ten life stories are moving accounts of the ways in which women negotiated their lives in post-war Soviet Lithuania. In the ‘Introduction’, Leinarte states that the life stories in this book ‘prove that, despite diverse political beliefs and opinions about the Soviet regime, varying levels of education, and different experiences in pre-war Lithuania, the family lives of Lithuanian women were enormously affected by Soviet propaganda’. Indeed, the life stories included in Part III and Leinarte’s analysis in Part II demonstrate the ways in which these women adopted Soviet values about the role of women in society and the family. The book makes several important contributions to the study of Soviet and Lithuanian history. Firstly, the book provides an analysis of the ways in which non-Russian Soviet women adopted and participated in post-World War II Soviet society. A number of studies have analyzed the experiences of Russian women in the Soviet Union; yet few studies have looked at women in other Soviet republics. As Leinarte points out, Lithuanian women had not participated in the pre-war building of socialism and instead viewed the Soviet system as imposed by an occupying force. Nonetheless, these women’s private lives were strongly impacted by Soviet propaganda. As debates about resistance and collaboration continue in contemporary Lithuania, an analysis of the ways in which Lithuanians accommodated the Soviet system in everyday life is particularly important. Thirdly, the book addresses issues of remembering and forgetting through Leinarte’s discussion of conducting interviews about Soviet life at a time when most Lithuanians were attempting to distance themselves from the Soviet past. Finally, the book provides a much-needed examination of women’s everyday life experiences under communist rule. The reflective essays in Part I are understandably brief, serving to situate Leinarte’s work in the context of oral history practices and to address much-discussed issues of memory and forgetting. The essays in the second section, which address reconciling family life and work, gender roles in the family, and notions of romantic love and friendship, are surprisingly brief. A more extensive analysis of these topics using Leinarte’s fieldwork and archival


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research would have greatly strengthened the book. Despite its brevity, the book is a valuable contribution to gender studies, Soviet and post-Soviet studies, and oral history and memory studies. University of Washington

Amanda Swain

Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia. By Anna Geifman. Pp. 229. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Security International. 2010. $34.95, (HB). ISBN: 978-0-275-99752-6 Professor Geifman’s latest contribution to the study of terrorism seeks to break out of the author’s traditional arena of late Imperial Russia to introduce a global perspective on the topic. Comparing Russian terrorism between the late 1860s and the outbreak of war in 1914 to more contemporary instances, the book seeks wider understandings of political violence through the analysis of its multifarious forms. This analysis falls within the broader frameworks discussed in Professor Geifman’s 1993 work, Thou Shalt Kill,2 with Death Orders once again considering themes of common criminality, ideological incomprehension, and the self-corrupting tendency inherent in terrorism, viewed through the prism of what Geifman herself labels ‘psycho-history’. Her overall thesis is ambitious, namely that terrorism as a modern phenomenon emerged first in late-Imperial Russia, replicating itself throughout subsequent history to emerge, in similar forms, as far away as Palestine and the USA. It is an enticing thesis, and one well worth considering. Unfortunately, the book does nothing to demonstrate its validity. Replicating the virulent tone she pioneered in 1993, Professor Geifman variously dismisses terrorists as ‘[d]ull and primitively belligerent’ (p. 26), ‘maddened’ (p. 85), or simply ‘extremists’, a term — alongside ‘terrorism’ itself — repeated throughout the text without ever being seriously analyzed. This approach is a self-denoted antithesis to ‘diluted Marxist arguments’ which ‘render terrorism ‘explainable’, ‘logical’, and almost ‘normal’; it also ensures, by condemning ‘blindly accepted’, ‘soothing explanations’ (p. 3) to comprehend rational or legitimate bases for terrorism, the unsuitability of any deeper meanings in her analysis. In sections dealing with what the author suggests are the inherently criminal and irrational qualities of modern terrorism (in particular Chapters 4 and 5), this approach may have some logic; for more intriguing issues such as the symbolism and proliferation of violence, it is valueless, leading to indistinct generalizations: that, for example, ‘human life was cheapened’ by terrorism (p. 43). Throughout, the author’s insistence that terrorism as a tactic can be neither legitimized, rationalized, nor understood leads the work into a network of intellectual cul-de-sacs, ensuring a monochrome portrait of the terrorist the world over as a common criminal-cum uncomprehending delinquent. The ultimate result of this is the author’s diligent refusal to recognize individual incidents of violence as significant in their own right, particularly notable in her equation of supposed police-agent Gorinovich’s attempted murder in 1876, by comrades who did not yet consider themselves terrorists (p. 85), with subsequent, self-conscious acts of terror against ordinary civilians. This is all the more surprising, given the wealth of secondary literature on Russian terrorism the work cites, much of which provides considerably deeper insight into the mindset and impulses behind the emergence of modern terrorism. Since Geifman is incapable of, or unwilling to, adopt a systematic approach to the topic which would demand more thorough consideration of the sources used, readers are pounded with endless examples seeking to prove both the arbitrary brutality inherent in terrorism, and the similarities in practice between its manifestations in late Imperial Russia and the contemporary world. Neither indicates any serious understanding of the topic: they are merely explanatory. It frequently becomes difficult to discern whether Geifman’s overall thesis is really that radicals 2

Anna Geifman, Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1894-1917, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).


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in late Imperial Russia represented ‘the vanguard of modern terrorism’ of the subtitle, or simply that, in practice, the actions of modern-day terrorists ‘differ little’ (p. 69) from their earlier Russian counterparts (applying the latter logic, it could similarly be argued for Russia in the 1700s being a birthplace of modern European metrosexuality on the basis that Peter the Great shaved off nobles’ facial hair). If one were to apply the psychological approach, to which Professor Geifman claims she adheres, to the analysis of her work, it may be concluded that the author’s personal experience of terrorism — Geifman holds dual US-Israeli citizenship — has rendered her incapable of anything close to objective analysis of the subject. Readers may be excused for believing that modern terrorism since late Imperial Russia has existed only in the Middle East and Chechnia which, aside from token references to political violence amongst post-war Central European leftists, form the entire basis of Geifman’s claim to be analyzing modern terrorism as a global phenomenon. This is particularly disappointing when it comes to the consideration of terrorists as ‘State Leaders’, the most promising chapter of the book, which degenerates into juxtaposition of the various evils perpetrated by the Bolsheviks and Hamas; such a section could obviously be expanded to large sections of East Asia and post-Colonial Africa, not to mention the state of Israel, which was brought into existence through bloody campaigns against the British mandate and Palestinian villagers (the author’s persistent disavowal of any Israeli wrongdoing in relation to Palestine likely explains why this example was not considered). Most remarkable is not what Death Orders includes, but rather what it doesn’t: the larger part of the book is lifted, often word-for-word, from Thou Shalt Kill, interposed with occasional paragraphs on the Middle East. All told, the entirety of the material that can be considered ‘new’ would be unlikely to fill the pages of a small pamphlet. Furthermore, the closest Professor Geifman appears to have come to genuine primary research in this study is her use of such internet sources as Israeli government websites, YouTube and US blog, Jihadwatch. This is a great shame, given that the few areas in which Death Orders could be considered pioneering are topics which deserve considerable, and far more careful, attention. Professor Geifman’s study is ultimately self-defeating, seeking, as she does, to prove through academic study that terrorism need not be considered according to academic standards, though it is not clear whether, being the principle historian of Russian terrorism, she has done more damage to her cause or to her entire field. Failing to constitute a serious study of modern terrorism as a global phenomenon, Death Orders can only be compared to pre-existing literature on revolutionary terrorism in Russia. This includes excellent works by the likes of Venturi, Naimark, and Avrich;3 Death Orders cannot be considered in the same bracket. Students of Russian history may reasonably hope that the next time Professor Geifman discovers something she believes does not require explanation, she will decline to write about it. University of East Anglia

Alistair Dickens

De-Centring Western Sexualities: Central and Eastern European Perspectives. Edited by Robert Kulpa and Joanna MizieliŃska. Pp. 219. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing. 2011. £60, (HB). ISBN: 978-1-4094-0242-8 Most existing scholarship about sexuality has dealt with and come from the ‘West’.4 While attempts to bring ‘non-Western’ regions such as Asia and Africa into the academic discourse 3

4

Franco Venturi, Roots of Revolution: A History of the Populist and Socialist Movements in Nineteenth Century Russia, trans. by Francis Haskell (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1960); Norman Naimark, Terrorists and Social Democrats: The Russian Revolutionary Movement under Alexander III (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983); Paul Avrich, The Russian Anarchists (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967). The term ‘West’ is used in the book mainly to refer to the Anglo-American context. Anglo-American scholarship usually espouses the idea of a West/Non-West divide, assuming ‘Europe’ to be synonymous to ‘West’.


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seem to attain a degree of success, this collection draws attention to the problem of the seeming conflation of all European sexualities with a predominantly Western idea. Even as scholarly interest in the Central and Eastern European region has grown, this has mainly focused on the political and economic spheres, while most gender-related studies do little to tackle non-heterosexuality in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). In this sense, much CEE experience of sexuality can be placed well outside what is conceived within the idea of ‘Western sexualities’. As Western scholarship heavily relies on the notion that ‘Europe’ is homogenous, the emphasis on Central and Eastern European perspectives effectively problematizes the West/non-West dichotomy. The chapters of this new collection are framed by an introduction to the spatial and temporal contexts that have given rise to confusions and generalizations about the region, especially when defined in opposition to the ‘West’. The editors have opted for pluralistic perspectives of the region in an effort to expose and to break down the problem of distilling CEE and the West into one coherent entity. The book’s chosen case studies situate their subjects in relation to a global context, providing an idiosyncratic look into a particular nation’s social climate while keeping the notion of a transnational discourse on sexualities. Kulpa’s chapter Nations and Sexualities — ‘West’ and ‘East’ is one of the more productive forays into the topic, and one that clearly tries to heed the need for diversified views while also understanding the internal logic that makes it difficult for these perspectives to gain widespread acceptance. Its line of argument, that gender is always-already national, is a thread that runs throughout the collection. What is interesting is that by revealing this logic, it also provides one of the more feasible (and possibly, more hopeful) means of breaking through prevailing hetero-normative views and breaking away from hegemonic Anglo-American scholarship. Nations, as imagined communities, have boundaries that maintain the Self and ward off the Other. By not conforming to ‘national regimes’ of gender, non-heterosexuality becomes a case wherein the Other is trapped within the nation. Focusing on how these regimes came to be can show how hetero-normativity involves nuanced processes of imagining the nation into being, far different from Western European history. While there is a clear acknowledgment from the articles that Western scholarship cannot be wholly dismissed, they see the potential in the already flourishing socio-political studies on Central and Eastern Europe which can be used to negotiate gender norms and attitudes existent and entrenched in CEE nations. In the context of Central and Eastern Europe, integration into the European Union, whether as a political reality or an aim, is perhaps the most pertinent issue that has had and continues to have profound effects in the discussion and reception of non-heterosexuality. One of the precepts that come with being part of the EU is that of freedom and anti-discrimination. Integration can be a strong motive, as well as an overbearing prescription, for institutional change. Blagojević’s contribution, Between Walls provides Serbia’s anti-discrimination law as a compelling example of institutional change that not only failed to improve the status of LGBTQ communities and other minorities, but was effectively co-opted by the socio-political status quo. Imitating the Western path simply does not work; it is education that accounts for nuances that can produce the political will to implement change. The book does a good job in demonstrating the dangers of the predominance of Anglo-American perspectives. Discussion is narrowed down to formulas of Western experience, and the interpretation of non-heterosexuality is often made to fit extant theories from the West. Beyond a stunted development of theories, such harms are more felt in the practical treatment of sexualities. Campaigns for acceptance are often reliant on established Western perspectives, which mean that they are less effective in reaching out to their target audiences. Not only does it fail to address the particularities of homophobia in CEE societies, but LGBTQ communities are also short-changed, in the sense that presumed Western genealogy limits the tools they can use in defining their identities. It is interesting that even gender vocabulary participates in this reductive, teleological view, as it provides an essentialist framework to define collective identities with. Hence, there is a


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need to clarify the meanings of these terms in the coming years, accounting for their connotations and their own social etymology, and such a move might also be able to deal with the difficulty of setting apart gender studies from feminist literature of the region â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to gain more ground as its own field of study, not merely an offshoot or reconfiguration of feminism. De-Centring Western Sexualities seems self-aware of its purpose, and because of that, it succeeds in providing a clearer picture of the shortcomings of the current academic literature. Liberal Arts College of Berlin

April Matias

Slovo vol. 23.2  
Slovo vol. 23.2  
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