The changes in the Central and Eastern European countries since 1989 are of economic, social, cultural as well as political nature. The first three can be seen as a result of the latter, because the simultaneous breakdown of the communist system in this region gave the way free for revolutionary modifications, like introduction of market economy and the development of a civil society. Although the process was different in the several countries, partly connected with mass movements, partly negotiated by representatives of opposition and government, in all countries small groups of individuals led the alteration of the system. As J. Wasilewski states „there is little doubt that Eastern European transition were elite-led changes.“1 This draws the attention to the transitions made by elites and also what kind of transformations these elites underwent.
In the following pages the role of political elites in the Visegrád countries, (Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and its successors the Czech Republic and Slovakia) in the transition process will be described. The first part gives a brief introduction into elite and elite transformation theory. The following part gives an outline on the pre-1989 elite configuration and elite changes. The third part starts from changes in 1989 in the three countries, over the „velvet divorce“ of Czechoslovakia and the democratic transition of power until the most recent events. In this part the similarities in developments in the countries, despite their different starting points, will be shown.
Elite and Elite Transformation Theory
Elites are the major subject of questions discussed in this paper. Therefore it is necessary to introduce and define this term. There are many of different definitions of elites in general or political elites in narrower sense. There are definitions stressing the role of the individual like Giddens: „Individuals who occupy formally defined positions of authority at the head of social organisations and institutions“.2 Classical elite theorists like Pareto stress the importance of elite as „ruling classes ...„ which “...perform logical and non-logical actions, and the chief elements in what happens is in fact the order, or system, not the conscious will of individuals, who indeed may in certain cases be carried by the system to points where they would never have gone of deliberate choice.“3 This theory also stress the elite as a social stratum or „political class“, were the recruitment is determined by heredity and social identity.4 The rapid changes of members of Central and Eastern Europe’s political elites since the Second World War makes this stratification model not very useful. In this paper the term elites will be used as a compromise between the group and the class definition: „individuals and groups holding top-positions in nation’s largest or otherwise resource rich organisations and movements to affect political outcomes in a significant and systematic way.“5
Political elites do not act in a political vacuum. They are dependent on non-elite powers and are their representatives as well as they have to create the enviroment in which they are acting, albeit „contemporary elite theory emphasises the relative autonomy of elites and contingent nature of elite choice and actions.“6 The relationship between elites and the political institutions or the system is also a decisive factor for elite configuration and transformation. On the one side institutions have influence on the elites („elites are socially heterogeneous, autonomous decision makers, influenced by existing institutions and organised power relations. Institutionalised elite roles are determinants of elite interactions, norms and outlooks“). On the other side elites are seen as the creators and users of institutions. Institutions and elites are interdependent. Historical events show, when regime brake down or go through crisis, elites are maximally unconstrained by previous institutions and alter them in a more or less radical way, in this interdependence elites (agency) are prior to institutions (structure). In a less abstract language the „institutions reflect the interest of those who device them“7
Based on this statement it is legitimate to analyse elites configuration to assess the stability of regimes, regimes in the meaning of „basic patterns in organisation, exercise and transfer of governments executive power“.8 There are two main characteristics describing elites configuration. First characteristic is elites’ unity in their norms, for example in nationalism, understanding of democracy and unity in their interaction (they use the same institutional networks and channels to act). Second characteristic is elites’ differentiation, their heterogeneity in organisation and from social origin (horizontal differentiation) as well as having freedom from mass pressure and extra national control (vertical differentiation).
The following table (see page 3) shows the relationship between regime’s stability and configuration of elites. All of the Central and Eastern European Country before 1989 could be seen as totalitarian regimes, ruled by ideocratic, communist elites. Dependent on the elite’s configuration after the changes in 1989 the countries regimes moved to one of the other regimes. As elite unity derives from watershed events, like the formation of national states or on the degree of violence used in the confrontation between communists and opposition, countries with great minorities or with violent transformation, struggle often with weak elites unity, leading to an unstable democracies. These regimes usually do not last long and form dependent on their elites differentiation authoritarian regimes or find the way to a stable democracy. The elites differentiation depends on the modernity of the society, the heterogeneity of social classes and the specialisation of elites. Consensual elites are characterised by conflicting parties, movements or ideas which all adhere to common basic rules and tactics. These elites practise power sharing in complex networks and the participation is on a broad basis. Usually these systems derive from negotiated or pact transformations.9
Table 1: Relationship between regime’s stability and configuration of elites
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Source: Higley, Pakulski, Wesolowski; p. 6
Elite Transformation Theory
The transformation of elites’ composition (the people wielding power), their structure (patterns of interaction within the elite as well as to outsiders) as well as the elites’ norms (political rules and tacit codes that govern elites’ behaviour) have high impact on the evolution of political orders, the formation of institutions and the direction of further development. In revolutionary elite circulation the composition, the structure and the norms will be altered. The result are inexperienced and insecure elites, erecting coercive regimes, as it happened in Russia in 1917-22 and the Central and Eastern European countries in 1945-48. With the change of society, the increasing industrialisation and specialisation new elite groups emerged, which wanted to take part in political life as the changes from 1956 to 1989 in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia showed. A third elite change derived by the break down of the communist system, where the change of elites’ norms and structure was more important than the change of elites’ composition. This explains the fact, that despite high personal continuity among political leaders, the transformation of political system was possible.10
The elite led transition process in the post-communist societies is characterised by liberalisation and democratisation. What does transition mean. The transition periods are delimited on the one side by launching the process of dissolution of totalitarian regimes and on the other side by the installation of another regime, which is in the case of the four countries a democratic. During these periods the rules of political game are not defined, they are in constant alteration and highly controversial. The actors try not only to satisfy their own and their lobbies interest but also try to define the rules and procedures, shaping future political life.11
The process of liberalisation redefines and extends rights of individuals and groups and protects them from dictatorial treatment. The liberalisation already starts in authoritarian regimes when individual expressions or collective actions against the regime are not sanctioned (like in Poland 1980-81). This shows that liberalisation can exist without democratisation. Democratisation in the meaning of enlargement of citizens rights to participate in political life and the enlargement of institutions, which are subject of citizens participation (parliament, regional administrative bodies, labour unions, ...).12
To answer the question, if the political transformation process of the young democracies in the Visegrád countries is already finished or not it, is important to analyse the process of consolidation of democracy. The consolidation process is the transformation of arrangements, norms and political solutions, which emerged direct after the break-down of the previous system, into co-operative and competitive relations reliably known, regularly practised and voluntarily accepted, by the political actors and groups. The democratic system is consolidated, when its citizens are reassured that the competition to occupy office and to exercise influence will be fair and circumscribed, as well as when all political forces especially the losers use democratic institutions within the democratic rules to change their situation.13
Transformation of Political Elites and Democracy in the Visegrád Countries
In the following chapter the developments of political elites in the Visegrád Countries will be described. Similarities and differences will be shown beginning with the pre-communist legacies and the elite transformations during the communist rule in the first part and the situation since the changes in 1989 in the second.
Pre-1989 Elite Configuration and Transformation
As in most literature mentioned the pre-communist legacies have to be taken in to consideration in political studies in post-communist countries. The existence or the lacking of a pre-communist nation-state, democratic history and existence of a civil society are pattern influencing the formation of political elites and parties. As full existing and stable democracy only the inter-war Czechoslovakian state can be seen, its patterns can only be found in the Czech Republic, because the Slovak national elite perceives rather the pro-fascist state from 1938-1945 as its predecessor. The liberal and tolerant regime and an existing civil society in Prague had great influence on the goals of the dissident movement. For Hungary the inter- war-state is not so important for the post-communist time, because Hungary was existing as a nation state before and neither the communist Soviet Republic under Kun, nor the authoritarian regime of Horthy could deliver democratic patterns for the elites. The elites derive these patterns from the revolutionary parliament in 1848 and 1849. The rather unstable democracy in Poland, which was turned into an authoritarian regime in 1926, has mostly symbolic value for the post-communist elites, because the pre-war elites were eliminated by the Nazi-Germany and Stalin’s terror during the war. The existence of strong agrarian parties and factions in Poland and Hungary can on the one hand be understood from their inter-war predecessor organisations and on the other hand from the specific developments during the communist time.14
The communist take-over from 1945 to 1948 implemented in all countries totalitarian regimes with ideological uniformity in which all pre-Communist elites were excluded from power- sharing and prosecuted.. The control over all institutional sectors (party, economy and state) was exerted through a single, monolithic hierarchy of elites based on the Nomenklatura system. The Leninist anti-factional dogma tolerated no organisational differentation and plurality. The Nomenklatura system was to a great extent autonomous from the rest of society, but highly dependent on person in top officials positions where the power was concentrated.15
With the de-Stalinisation process after 1956, the satellite countries were allowed more autonomy. From this time on these countries achieved a modus vivendi characterised by more civilised norms of interaction. Whereas in Poland, Gomulka was able to keep the changes under control and laid the basis for steady elite development, in Hungary the elites were not able to limit the increasing anti-Communist movement. After the bloody incidents in 1956 in Hungary the elites developed a „do not rock the boat“-mentality. This made Kadar’s liberalisation policy beginning in the 1960’s possible. The increasing number of high educated and specialist elite members in the 1960 increased elites differentiation. The Prague Spring and Husak’s normalisation policy, prevented the re-emerge of reformist factions, within the party. This was in less extend the case in Slovakia The Slovak part of the elite was less affected, many aspiring elite members influenced by the reforms remained in middle-level positions.16
In the 1970 the elites became also socially more heterogeneous and technocratic, and the elites became less ideological. This is often described by the „rise of bureaucrats“, which tended to increase the living standard by economic liberalisation and opening to the West, to keep the internal situation under control a by-product of this changes was increasing corruption by the political elites. Gierek’s regime in Poland is a good example for this development. The late communist parties can be characterised by following three divided major groups. The regime engineer, which are top-level officials, being completely dependent on the communist regime for their position and power. The strongest dependence of this first group had the party bureaucrats or „apparatchiks“, holding second-echelon decision making positions. The third major elite faction within the party were the experts or technocrats, which are due to their education aware of regime’s deficiencies and also have rather autonomous positions. Whereas the Czech party and dissident elites remained frozen, in Hungary more and more of the communist elite committed them self in the increasing private sector in the so-called spontaneous privatisation. Poland underwent an unique development. In the Solidarity movement they were able to form the unification of workers, intelligentsia, church and farmers in one organisation, and to break the political monopoly of the party. Thus they were forming a counter-elite. This development was interrupted, but not rooted out, by the imposition of martial law in 1981 and had at its result the round-table negotiations in spring 1989. This event together with the political changes in Moscow under Gorbachev, were starting point for the dismantling of communist systems and its elite’s in whole Europe.17
Transformation of Political Elites and Democracy in the Transition Process
With the first partly free election in Poland in summer 1989 a process started, which led in the Visegrád Countries to the change from the communist ideocratic system to a liberal and democratic system in Western style. From outside (Western) perspective it is logical that all the countries of the monolithic Soviet Block move into the same directions. Countries with less democratic systems, like Belarus or Romania, are seen as exceptions. The encapsulation of the countries during communist domination and the different escape routes from first Stalinism and later Communism determined by different pre-communist legacies and different elite choices, make these similarities in democracy, economy and elite composition rather a surprising phenomenon.18
To describe the different transition processes S. Huntington used following differentiation. Regime transformation led by reformers in government, which was the case for the changes in Hungary from 1986 to 1989. Changes by transplacement, which means that the system revolution takes place in a negotiated way as it happened in the Polish roundtable negotiations and to less extend at the Hungarian round-table autumn 1989. The escape route from Communism via negotiated settlement created more consensual elites. The third type is the regime replacement, in which the old regime suddenly implodes and its replacement by dissident leaders, which were in the Czech Lands liberal-democratic elites and in Slovakia rather nationalist-populist (with strong relation to the Catholic Church), led to a dispute about new territorial identities. The split of the CSFR in the negotiated „velvet divorce“ in 1992 created also in the new found Czech Republic consensual elites, whereas the Slovak elites were fragmented and only united in the national question. This can be seen by the power struggles between elite groups and regimes, oscillating between democratic and authoritarian forms. For all four countries can be stated that the events were mostly elite led. The mass movements in 1989 were rather accelerating the process than inducing it. The lacking of mass movement in the forming of an independent Slovakia is significant for the dispute about the future of Czechoslovakia, being an issue of political elites.19
After the revolutionary process of system change, the elites in political top positions altered. This transformation took place in the formation of liberal-democratic institutions, as well as the elites attitudes toward politics and political culture was changed. So it was especially for Western observers surprising that in mid-1990’s in all countries the former communist parties were in charge for the countries development again, even more surprising was the fact, that neither foreign nor economic policy was neither changed nor questioned and the further democratisation process was not stopped at all. This process can be explained by three major facts. The continuity of (ex-communist) elites, the decommunisation process and evolution of the dissident movement.
The elite composition in Central and Easters European countries shows a high personal continuity, already before the ex-communist20 parties were successful. In Poland as well as in Hungary between 30% and 40% of the top position politician belonged to the former Nomenklatura, the number is even higher, if the former second echelon party members (sub-elites) are taken into consideration.21 The same statement in less extend true for the Czech Republic and in higher extend for Slovakia.22
The elite transformation before the collapse in 1989 make this phenomenon more understandable: The late communist elite and sub-elite was professional, many of second rank party members (technocrats) were rather members due to careerist reasons than ideological driven. These groups had cultural capital (education and experience) and political capital (connections) inherited from the former system, which formed their system-indifferent skills. The client-patron network of the Nomenklatura was transferred into the new political and economic system, which cushioned the lost from state positions on the one hand and made it easier to find new positions in newly created institutions (e.g., privatisation of state companies, international organisations). They did not stop the dismantling of the old system, because they had not the power to stop the process started in 1989 and for the reformist groups the changes were highly desirable.23
The collapse of the communist system did not entail complete destruction of the state apparata, the existing and new institutions needed beside new aspiring people experienced staff which can chiefly be found among the existing (sub-)elites. This is one of the main reasons for personal continuity among elites and sub-elites. They adopted quickly the new political rules and perform quite successful in the new system, therefore it is not the ‘old’ elite anymore. The post-communist parties, including former „block“-parties,24 were able to keep a part of their organisational strength, with high number of members and country wide infrastructure, whereas the other parties were still struggling with building up party structures. A combination of their good connections to the state apparatus, stripping of their communist past and the public discontent with the negative effects of market economy, led to their successful elections in mid-1990’s.25
In all four countries the transitions process was of peaceful nature, but the former opposition elite groups felt them self morally superior to the former leaders. The dissidents, like majority of the population, had a half mind to take revenge for oppression, the economic hardship as well as the illegal enrichment done by the former leaders. The negotiated transformations in Poland and Hungary made this undertaking nearly impossible, considering that „they“ gave up the power voluntarily and did not use their power at hand to suppress or better postpone the events in the country anymore. The urgent problems, that were to solve to prevent a economic collapse drew the attention away from the decommunisation debate. In Czechoslovakia this was quite different, whereas the Czech dissident wanted a strict decommunisation, also limiting the access for secret police members and informers in civil service into politics, the Slovak opposed these plans, due to the high number of communist reformers in their ranks.
In general to take the former leaders to court is confronted with two elementary legal question, at first from the legal principle that only on the basis of communist law, judgements can be passed on them and second the problem that most crimes came under the statute of limitation.26 This is important when the democratic-liberal elites did not want to violate the rule of law they always demanded. Consequently in the Czech Republic and in Poland only legal prosecutions took place for murder or other capital crimes, like in the case of the former Prime Minister L. Strougal who is accused for killing in three cases in 1948.
Apart from the legal aspects the decommunisation debate is still alive. In election campaigns the former dissident parties like to use the phrase of the „enemy of yesterday“, even when they are willing to collaborate after the elections. Also the accusation of being an informal informer of the secret police in communist times, is used as a weapon to denounce political opponents. Poland has the most prominent victim with Prime Minister Oleksy, who was forced to resign and also recently Jerzy Buzek was confronted with accusations. Following recent events in Poland, can be seen as working up the past on the one hand but also as a late revenge on political opponents on the other. The introduction of a legislative framework relating to the communist past through vetting (Lustracja) and the founding of the National Remembrance Institute.27
DEVELOPMENT OF DISSIDENT MOVEMENT
The dissident movement in the several countries developed in different times as well as from politically and socially different roots. In the Slovak Socialist Republic the opposition formed itself in strong connection with the Slovak Catholic Church, which saw it self as the heir of the Slovak independent state28, thus the strong conservative and national orientation of the oppositions elite is explainable. Except of A. Dubcek nearly no prominent victims of Husak’s normalisation existed. The dissident movement in Slovakia had no ties to the intellectual movement of Charta’77 in Prague. An opposition movement in the Czech Socialist Republic was nearly non-existent, except of the small intellectual group around Vaclav Havel. This movement had no ideological unity, it contained conservative Catholics, anti-political intellectuals and communist decenters. This group had no ties to the masses and was concentrated in the capital, but their representatives were well-known in their own country and internationally. Like in Czech Lands in Hungary the so-called normalisation after the uprising hampered the development of a broad peoples movement. Small liberal and conservative groups with prominent participants of 1956 existed. For Hungary mass participation in oppositions’ issues took place first in the ecological movement. This was important for the participation of a strong students movement in the changes of 1989.29
Poland’s opposition development before the round-table negotiation is completely different to the other countries and only Poland had a organisational strong, supported by the masses and, despite its different ideological ideas, united opposition in the Solidarity movement. In the Solidarity movement three major groups could be found. First a national, conservative and strong-Catholic group with strong ties to the Rural-Solidarity, which was willing to fight for the changes, second a liberal and laicist group formed around the intellectual KOR and KIK, which was willing make changes within the system, and third the trade union faction which was less ideological and interested in the improvement of living conditions. These tendencies were visible already at the first Solidarity Congress in 1981.30
All opposition movements were determined by a low ideological unity, lacking political experience and an important role of the educational elite. In their leadership prominent moralistic, idealistic dissidents were dominating, like the writers Havel or Göncz and victims of the suppression like Dubcek, Antal or Michnik. The glue that kept the movements together was the situation of „us“ against „them“ (the communist party). Therefore it is no wonder that all dissident movements fragmented, after their success in the first free elections.
In Hungary the confrontation between communists and the opposition was less hard, so the dissident movement was already before the negotiations able to express and discuss its different attitudes. Therefore the movement split before the elections into in a leftist-liberal branch, represented by the liberal party SZDSZ and the young liberals FIDESZ and a conservative branch forming the MDF. From the first year on the MDF was not able to keep its movement together, due to ideological differences as well as the fight for leadership. Thus the MDF and its splinters were struggling with the 5%-threshold in the 1998 elections. In the Czech Republic the idealistic founders of the Civic Forum, were substituted by more pragmatic politicians like V. Klaus and his ODS, and the Forum split into several parties spreading from centre-left to right. In Poland also the Solidarity movement very soon after the partly-free elections split into its different ideological groups. This was accelerated by an open and rather rude fight for political influence beginning with the election of the president in 1990. The fragmentation was so strong that most of these parties were not able to be represented in the Sejm in 1993 and prepared a landslide-victory for the ex-communist parties SLD and PSL. Although the Solidarity trade-union was able to bring all centre-right groups together on a political platform called AWS, the separation between Christian-democrat, nationalist- conservative (ROP), liberal (UW) and leftist (UP) dissidents was already unbridgeable. The dividing line of on which side one was before 1989 is losing its invincibility in all counties, as it is visible in the Hungarian social-liberal coalition in 1993, the „great coalition“ in Czech Republic since 1998 and the collaboration between UP and SLD in Poland.31
The developments in Slovakia are a special case, which is not comparable with the situation in the other Visegrád countries. The dissident movement „Public Against Violence (VPN)“fragmented like the opposition movements in the other countries. Due to the all dominating question of an independent state, the lacking of democratic legacy and the fragmented elites the division lines were not programmatic. The election of political parties had rather the character of a referendum about the nation state, Western integration and privatisation. This was intensified by elite led nationalism and inter-ethnic tensions with the Hungarian minority. As a result the mass-movement HZDS with the charismatic leader Meciar became the determinant factor in Slovak political life. Compared with the other countries the political elite behaviour and norms were indecent, as the power struggle between President Kovác and Prime Minister Meciar showed.32 The more and more authoritarian regime of Meciar and the increasing international isolation led to a new „us“ and „them“, between pro-Meciar extreme- left, extreme-right parties and HZDS and an anti-Meciar coalition, (including Christian- democrats, liberals, social-democrats and the Hungarian minority) led by ex-communist President R. Schuster. The Slovak elites were able to create democratic institutions, but the Slovak state „...is still reluctant in the guarantee of rule of law...“ and „ the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy is not yet given...“ as the European Commission expressed in the 1998 Progress Report.33
In general the above used expressions of left, centre and right, known from Western European political systems do not make the same sense in the young party-democracies of the Central and Easters European countries. The elites are confronted with the question „How to define oneself politically?“ The communist parties were per definition left, although they were the retarding, reactionary, „conservative“ element of the political system. After the transformation of the ruling parties into social-democratic parties, they opened them to more or less free- market-economy, liberal rights and Western integration. The political parties of the right spectrum are conservative in their cultural programme, more or less liberal regarding civil rights but more anti-capitalistic, anti-EU and more egalitarian than the political left.34
ELITE - NON-ELITE RELATION
In 1989 the people identified themselves very much with their new democratic elites. This explains the willingness to undergo the hardships deriving from the transformation of the economy by a shock-therapy. In the following years the elites became more and more estranged from the people. On the one side the people felt more and more alienated by the political parities on the other side the people and the parties became alienated by the political leaders.
The weak ties of parties with specific social strata, creates a very low number of standing voters and explains the great voters shifts within moderate parties and the decreasing polling. Due to the high elite unity in the most important questions, a change in government does not bring decisive changes in policy. This creates increasing disappointment with the political system and with the political elites. In this situation the lived culture, created over 40 years by the imposing of communist rule, turns the people against the rulers again. The pattern of „us“and „them“ with its anti-authoritarian attitudes and short sighted activities did not only subvert the totalitarian system it also hinders the creation of a living and stable democracy. This is one of the symptoms described by P. Sztompka as „civilisational incompetence“. This makes the people and also partly the elites susceptible for the use of populist policy. In all countries the tendency to vote for radical parties increases, but not in a higher degree than compared to Western democracies. The recent elections brought or strengthened parties like MIÉP (Hungarian Justice and Life Party), KSCM (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia), SNS (Slovakian Nationalist Party) into the parliament. Non-parliamentary opposition groups as well as political parties try more and more to force the government to political changes by using mass support. This forms new political elite groups using the street as stage for their policy35. In Czech Republic mass demonstrations with the characteristic title “Thanks, Now Leave!“ are organised against the political stagnation, created by the „great coalition“, by the same people, who organised the demonstrations in 1989. In Poland in 1999 the streets were used by agrarian groups, led by the rather radical Samoobrana (Self-defence) to get their interests through.36
Elites become estranged from their parties, they act as single actors representing their activities rather as the interest of what they regard being general public, than public interest. A recent example for this are the struggles between the Polish Minister of Finance Balcerowicz and President Kwasniewski about the new taxation law in December 1999, were both used indecent methods to get their interests through.37 In Western democratic countries elites form cartels, which are overlapping and include many formal and informal institutions or organisations of the civil society. Thus the most of the elite members form a network. These networks are based on market-generated „interest-blocks“ and segments of mass public. In the former communist countries the political elites rather form „rope teams“ bound by client- patron relationship, the same regional back-ground or personal friendships.38
The political elties of the Visegrád countries were able to undertake tasks in the last ten years which transformed the whole society. With the introduction of a democratic system, the guarantee of rule of law, the integration into international organisations and the transformation of central planned economy to free market economy they had to undergo a development that took in Western Europe 40 years and in countries like Portugal and Spain 25. Not only the institutions changed very much in these last ten years also the elites underwent far-reaching transformations. The de-ideologisation, the increasing need for professional politicians and the internationalisation of politics left their traces on the configuration of elites and the individual elite members. Therefore the changes from electricians or writers to presidents, from students to Prime Ministers within 10 are understandable.
The emerge of new political movements, the disappearance of well-known organisations and the merger of existing parties to platforms are events that happens also in all Western democracies (especially Italy and France). The pace of these changes is still very high and a sign that the political consolidation and transformation of the elites is still not finished yet. In the beginning of this paper I stated that the elites are prior to the institutions. Now it seems to be, that the democratic institutions are already consolidated and are equivalent to their Western European models and as the EU commission stated in 1999 the work smoothly, whereas the elites did not yet finish this process.
In my opinion the fundamental changes are over. The struggles between political groups and persons, outside the democratic institutions or in the „grey zones“ of constitutional uncertainty or democratic procedures are a sign that the transformation process is not ended yet. The decisive step in elites’ development in all countries, will be the integration of the first real post-communist and post-revolution generation into political life. Their willingness to accept the existing parties, the adopt the existing norms and behaviour and most crucial their willingness to take part in politics at all, will decide over post-transition politics.
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AWS: (Akcja Wyborcza„Solidarnosc“) (Poland)
CSFR: Czechoslovakian Federal Republic
FIDESZ/MPP (Fiatal Demokrata Szövetsége/Magyar Polgari Párt) Union of Young Democrats - Hungarian Civil Party
HZDS: Movement for a Democratic Slovakia
KSCM: (Komunistickástrana Cech a Moravy) Communist Party of Bohemia and
KOR: (Komitet Obrony Robotników) Comitee for Worker’s Defence (Poland)
MDF: (Magyar Demokrata Forum) Hungarian Democratic Forum
MIÉP: (Magyar IgazoltésÉl Párt) Hungarian Justice and Live Party
ODS: (ObcanskáDemokratickáStrana) Democratic Civil Party (Czech Republic)
OF: (ObcanskáForum) Civic Forum (Czech Republic)
SIS: Slovak Secret Service
SZDSZ: (Szabad Demokata Szövetsége) Union of Free Democrats
SLD: (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej) Union of Democratic Left (Poland)
SNS: Slovak Nationalist Party
UW: (Unia Wolnosci) Union of Freedom (Poland)
VPN: Public Against Violence (Slovakia)
1 J. Wasilewski (1); Elite Circulation and Consolidation of Democracy in Poland; in: Postcommunist Elites and Democracy in Eastern Europe; 1998; London, New York; p. 163
2 M. Burton, J. Higley; Invitation to Elite Theory; in Organisations and Power Theory; p. 222
3 ibid; p. 221
4 see J. Higley, J. Kullberg, J. Pakulski; Elites, institutions and regimes in East-Central Europe; script prepared for panel session: Political Elites in East-Central Europe; 1995; Warszawa; p. 3
5 Higley, Kullberg, Pakulski; p. 4
6 ibid; p. 3
7 ibid. p. 1 - 5 see also B. Geddes; A Comparative Perspective on the Leninist Legacy in Eastern Europe; in: Comparative Political Studies; 1995; p. 239
8 J. Higley, J. Pakulski, W. Wesolowski; Introduction: Elite Change and Democratic Regime in Eastern Europe; in: Postcommunist Elites and Democracy in Eastern Europe; 1998; London, New York; p. 3
9 see ibid. p. 3-6
10 see ibid. p. 1, 4-5, and also Higley, Kullberg, Pakulski; p. 1
11 see T. Baylis; Elites, Institutions and Political Change in East Central Europe: Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia; in : Postcommunist Elites and Democracy in Eastern Europe; 1998; London, New York; p. 111 and G. Lengyel; The Hungarian Economic Elite in the First Half of the 1990s;in: Postcommunist Elites and Democracy in Eastern Europe; 1998; London, New York; p. 17
12 see ibid; p. 17-18
13 see A. Przekowski; Democracy and the market; 1991; Camebridge; p.26 and P. Schmitter; The consolidation of Democracy and Representation of Social Groups; in: American Behavioral Scientist 35; 1992; p. 424
14 see K. Dawisha and B. Parrot; Research guidelines for country-studies; Politics, power, and struggle for democracy in South-East Europe; 1997; Camebridge/UK; p. 453 and J. Wasilewski and E. Wnuk-Lipinski; Poland: Winding road from the Communist to the post-Solidarity elite; in: Theory and Society 24; 1995; Netherlands; p. 670
15 see T. R. Rigby; Political Elites in the USSR: Central Leaders and Local Caders from Lenin to Gorbachev; 1990; Aldershot, UK; p. 2
16 see Higley, Kullberg, Pakulski; p. 7-8 as well as Higley, Pakulski, Wesolowski; p. 6-8 L. Brokl and Z. Mansfeldova; Czech and Slovak Political and Parliamentary Elites; in: Postcommunist Elites and Democracy in Eastern Europe; 1998; London, New York; p. 131 and G. Stokes; The new Opposition: Antipolitics and Solidarity; in: The Walls came tumbling down; 1993; New York, Oxford; p. 15
17 see Brokl and Mansfeldova; p. 133 and Higley, Kullberg, Pakulski; p. 9, 18 as well as Wasilewski and WnukLipinski; p. 674
18 see Higley, Kullberg, Pakulski; p. 11;
19 see M. Toeffel; Parteienbildung und Parteiensysteme in Ostmitteleuropa im Vergleich; (http://www.hausarbeiten.de); 1998; p. 1; and C. González Enriquez; Elites and Decommunisation in Eastern Europe; in: Postcommunist Elites and Democracy in Eastern Europe; 1998; London, New York; p. 282 and Higley, Pakulski, Wesolowski; p. 7 as well as Baylis p. 107
20 Ex-communist in the meaning that these parties succeedes the ruling communist parties, not as an evaltuation of their programmatic policy, which is in most countries social-democratic.
21 In 1993 40,8 % of Polish (32,6% of Hungarian) former top politians and 26% (37,4%) of former lower rank members belonged to the top - 900 positions. see J. Wasilewski (2); Kontraktowy Sejm jako miejsce fomowania sie elity politycznej; in: Poczatki Elity Parlamentarnej; 1992; Warszawa; p. 10
22 In 1999 over 100 of 150 MP were member of the Communist Party, the President of Slovakia R. Schuster was Chairman of the Central Comittee and the Minister of Defence, P. Kanis, was vice-chairmen of the Central Comitee, see the interview of D. Stoll with Vladimir Meciar: "The Hens Aren`T Laying Eggs"; in: Centraleurope; 10/12/99; Washington D. C.
23 see Wasilewski (1); p. 164-165 and I. Szelényi and Sz. Szelényi; Circulation or Reproduction of Elites During the Postcommunist Transformation of Eastern Europe; in: Theory and Society 24; 1995; p. 31-32; as well as Baylies; p. 111
24 The agrarian parties ZSL (PSL) in Poland and FKgP in Hungary joined the opposition in 1989. In Hungary they were in the 1. democratic elected government.
25 see Toeffel; p. 2 and Higley, Kullberg, Pakulski; p. 13-14
26 A problem united Germany was confronted with concerning the trials against the SED leaders like Honecker and the „Mauerschützen“.
27 see González Enriquez; p. 277 and Toeffel; p. 2; for recent events in the Czech Republic see Probe Launched Into Czech Communist Ex-Prime Ministe r; in: Centraleurope; 05/01/00; Washington D.C.; for Poland see: European Comission; 1999 Regular Report from the Commission on Poland’s progress towards accession; 1999; Bruxelles/Brussel; p. 14 and F. Altmann, M. v. Baratta, W.R. Baumann, Der Fischer Weltalmanach 2000; 1999; Frankfurt/M; p. 626-627
28 The pro-fascist independent state form 1939-45 was an authoritarian state based on the Catholic Church like in Spain or Portugal.
29 for Czech Republic see: G Stokes p. 152
30 see T. G. Ash; The Polish Revolution; 1991; London; p. 220-223
31 see Altmann, v. Baratta, Baumann, for Poland p. 625-630, for Czech Republic p. 785 - 788 and for Hungary: p. 817-818 as well as A. Lánczi, P. O’Neil; Pluralization and the Politics of Media Change in Hungary; in: Postcommunism and the Media in Eastern Europe; 1997; London, p. 85-86
32 The Slovak Secret Service SIS was used by Meciar do push his party-friend Kovac out of office and was involved in the kidnapping of Kovak’s son. In the latter case Meciar enacted an amnestie for the suspects. see: Altmann, v. Baratta, Baumann, for Poland p. 731
33 see European Comission; 1999 Regular Report from the Commission on Slovakia’s progress towards accession; 1999; Bruxelles/Brussel; p. 9 and Altmann, v. Baratta, Baumann; p. 729 - 732 as well as Stoll p. 1-4
34 see T. Sasinska-Klas; Changes on the Polish Left: Exit the communist party, enter the socialdemocratic; in: From Eastern to central Europe; 1990; p. 200 - 203
35 for Czech Republic see: Jolyon Naegele; Protesters Call For Political Leaders To Resign; in: Centraleurope; 07/12/1999; Washington D. C.; and for Poland see: M. Janicki; The Pro-Government Church In Poland; in: Centraleurope; 21/12/99; Washington D. C.
36 see Toeffel; p. 2-4 and see P. Sztompka; Civilizational Incompetence: The Trap of Post-Communist Societies; in: Zeitschrift für Soziologie 22; 1993; 39. For mass-movement in Poland see:
37 Balcerowicz threatend to resign, aware what the effects on the exchange rate of the Zloty and the Stock Market will be, and Kwasniewski refusing to sign the bill by claiming flaws in the parlamentary procedure.
38 see Toeffel; p. 4 and Higley, Kullberg, Pakulski; p. 17