only search

About Ivan Krastev

Ivan Krastev is Visiting Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Programmes at The Graduate Institute and Geneva Permanent Fellow, Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna. He is also Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia. He is author of After Europe (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).

Articles by Ivan Krastev

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Russia haunts the western imagination

Krastev (1)_0.gifThe dividing line between authoritarian Russia and liberal democracies is growing ever thinner.



1914 versus 1938: how anniversaries make history

Drop into any of the big bookstores in London or Berlin and discover that they are literally occupied by books about the Great War. But how does this affect European attitudes to Russia’s involvement in Ukraine today?

Bulgaria, protest for the future

Bulgarian citizens are protesting across the country against the capture of their government and for a meaningful democracy. A memorandum from Sofia outlines the heart of their case.

Is China more democratic than Russia?

On paper, Russia’s political system is an impressive reproduction of Western representative democracy, while the Chinese system remains an unreconstructed autocracy. The reality of the situation is much more complex, says Ivan Krastev.

Would democratic change in Russia transform its foreign policy?

The incompatibility of an anachronistic and arbitrary regime with the modern world is leading many to consider that democratic change is possible — likely even — in Russia. But those expecting that a new ‘democratic’ government would somehow take a softer line on foreign policy should think again, says Ivan Krastev. 

European dis-Union: lessons of the Soviet collapse

Europe's crisis is being felt at multiple levels, from the future of the eurozone and divisions between member-states to the rise of populist forces. But is the crisis likely to lead to the European Union's disintegration? The precedent of the Soviet collapse offers some lessons, says Ivan Krastev.

Gleb Pavlovsky: the final act

Russian “political technologist” Gleb Pavlovsky is considered a master of political intrigue and backstage games, yet on April 27 found himself dismissed as a Kremlin advisor. His fall from grace was reportedly linked to indiscreet comments made about the 2012 presidential elections (and supposedly for making his support for Dmitry Medvedev known). A short while before his exit, Tatiana Zhurzhenko and Ivan Krastev took an interview with him, not expecting the conversation would be his last major interview as a Kremlin adviser. That context and the dialogue’s frequently candid nature make for fascinating reading.

A co-publication with Eurozine and Transit

Arab revolutions, Turkey’s dilemmas: zero chance for "zero problems"

Turkey’s ambition of becoming a regional power with global relevance is reflected in the domestic and foreign policy of its confident political elite. But changing realities at home and abroad present new problems, says Ivan Krastev. In particular, the Arab democracy wave exposes the limits of Turkey’s “zero problems with neighbours” approach.

The Shape of Europe's Future

In today's Europe, unlike that of the Cold War, the 'Finlandization' of the post-Soviet space does serve the interests of the West, Ivan Krastev reflects, taking issue with Ronald Asmus' book A Little War that Shook the World

The guns of August: non-event with consequences

The political fallout of the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008 affects far more than the main combatants: it has had a profound impact on the post-Soviet space, the United States, the European Union, even China and Turkey. Ivan Krastev draws up a balance-sheet of a toxic conflict, and looks ahead.

(This article was first published on 30 July 2009)

Russia and the Georgia war: the great-power trap

Russia's flawed understanding of 21st-century international politics means that its military success in the war with Georgia could be followed by its strategic defeat, says Ivan Krastev.

(This article was first published on 19 August 2008)

Europe’s other legitimacy crisis

The real target of a severe European commission report on the failures of governance in Bulgaria contains a deeper message about the European Union's political future - and the mistakes of its past. Ivan Krastev, in Sofia, decodes it.

(This article was first published on 23 July 2008) 

Europe's trance of unreality

The old continent could once offer itself as the model for a new world. No longer: the European Union's universalism is crashing against rising global states (China, India) and forces (religion, nationalism). The response to Ireland's referendum is a foretaste of serious political crisis to come, says Ivan Krastev.

(This article was first published on 20 June 2008)

The world's choice: super, soft, or herbivorous power?

A global public-opinion survey reveals increasing support for a redistribution of international power, report Ivan Krastev & Mark Leonard.

Sleepless in Szczecin: what’s the matter with Poland?

The rise of populism and retreat of liberalism in Poland are rooted in the character of the region’s post-communist transition. It is Europe’s problem too, says Ivan Krastev.

Russia vs Europe: the sovereignty wars

The troubled relationship between the European Union and Russia is about more than policies or interests - it reflects a fundamental clash between two political visions of the post-cold-war world, says Ivan Krastev.

Europe's new Ostpolitik: a Polish echo

Germany assumes the presidency of the European Union at a time of tension in the EU's relations with Russia. But are Germany's and Europe's interests identical? Ivan Krastev finds the Polish experience of martial law in December 1981 a sobering precedent.

'Sovereign democracy', Russian-style

The Kremlin is borrowing from western conservative intellectual models to justify its rule and consolidate its power, says Ivan Krastev.

Between elite and people: Europe's black hole

The elites dream of limiting the people's voting rights. The people dream of revenge on the elites' misrule and corruption. Ivan Krastev sees in central Europe’s strange new politics a crisis of democracy itself.

The energy route to Russian democracy

The fight for democracy in Russia will be won only when western European states free themselves from dependence on the country's energy sources, says Ivan Krastev.

The end of the "freedom century"

Many intellectuals saw the post-cold-war world as the dawn of a new era of freedom and democracy. The war on Iraq is forcing a rethink. Two new books – Paul Berman's "Power and the Idealists" and Francis Fukuyama's "America at the Crossroads" – attempt to make sense of what went wrong. Ivan Krastev assesses them.

The new Europe: respectable populism, clockwork liberalism

An emotionally-appealing populist politics is bringing angry, raw, egalitarian nationalists to the centre of Europe’s political arena. Why are pro-European liberals not more anxious? Ivan Krastev offers an intriguing set of answers.

Russia's post-orange empire

Ukraine's orange revolution was Russia's 9/11, and its result is to convince Moscow that the European Union is its major strategic rival, argues Ivan Krastev.

The European Union and the Balkans: enlargement or empire?

If northern Europeans succeed in halting European Union enlargement, they could push the fragile southeast of the continent back into violence and darkness, says Ivan Krastev.

Ukraine and Europe: a fatal attraction

The “orange revolution” in Ukraine is not the last of Europe’s post-1989 “velvet revolutions” but the first of the European Union-inspired revolutions of the 21st century, says Ivan Krastev.

After three tumultuous weeks in Ukraine, it seems overwhelmingly likely that the opposition candidate in the presidential election, Viktor Yushchenko, will be voted president of the republic after the re-run, third round on 26 December 2004.

We are all Brits today: Timothy Garton Ash's 'Free World'

After Iraq, are the interests and values of Europe and America more divided than ever? No, says the Bulgarian scholar Ivan Krastev – and he finds in Timothy Garton Ash’s new book powerful evidence that the route to transatlantic amity lies through London.
Syndicate content