ZOiS Forum in cooperation with the Förderverein Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer and the Berlin Wall Foundation
In all three of the countries discussed, a semblance of social justice or at least social security is meant to compensate for the lack of personal freedom. In the GDR, there was no place for wealth or social inequality; yet despite relative equality, the political system failed. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has developed into a country of turbo-capitalism; it is among the countries with the greatest social inequality worldwide. The majority of the Russian population lives in poverty, while a minority lives in unimaginable wealth. And yet the authoritarian system under Vladimir Putin has proved stable so far. In Belarus, on the other hand, the stability of the system used to be linked to a certain economic security for citizens – but this tacit ‘social contract’ has been cancelled in recent years. Sustained mass protests followed the rigged elections in the summer of 2020, and President Lukashenka was only able to stay in office with Putin’s support. All three political systems show the connection between regime stability and socio-economic realities or perceptions. For Belarus and Russia, there is also the question of how the war against Ukraine and Western sanctions will affect the economy and the social situation.
- Reiner Felsberg, Chairman of the Förderverein Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
- Alexander Libman is Professor of Political Science with a focus on Eastern Europe and Russia at the Freie Universität Berlin.
- Nadja Douglas is a political scientist at ZOiS, where she conducts research on Belarus, among other topics.
- Jessica Lindner-Elsner is an associated doctoral student at the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History. Her dissertation deals with social inequalities in the GDR.
- Moderation: Gwendolyn Sasse is Scientific Director of ZOiS. She has been Einstein Professor for the Comparative Study of Democracy and Authoritarianism at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin since April 2021.
The event is part of the series ZOiS Forum.
The ZOiS Forum brings together academic, artistic, and political perspectives on the issues driving Eastern Europe today. Our aim is to make the significance and variety of our region of research accessible to a broad audience. Readings, discussions, presentations, and film screenings take place once a month during the semester.