Post-Socialist Civil Societies in Transformation: Comparing Eastern Germany and Russia (Prof. Dr. Thomas Kern, Prof. Christian Fröhlich, Dr. Sang-hui Nam)

The re-unification of Germany and the break-up of the Soviet Union have triggered profound political, economic and social processes. This so-called "post-socialist condition" still affects civil society in Germany and Russia: Germany struggles with many cultural and social divisions between East and West even after 25 years after the unification. Russia displays a sharp divide between authoritarian political structures and societal forces urging for more liberalization.

The shared post-socialist condition constitutes the basis for a comparison of German and Russian civil society. In the post-socialist part of Germany, political and economic structures were adopted almost entirely from the Western part of the country. Russia also transferred institutional elements from Western democracies. However, Soviet patterns have survived in a far stronger manner than in Germany. This observation raises the question, how both civil societies were and are still shaped by these transformations. Consequently, the project aims at analyzing the patterns and institutional logics that characterize civil society in Germany and Russia. The comparison of Russia and East Germany offers also an opportunity to analyze the impact of the socialist legacy.

The project consists of a series of workshops of German and Russian social scientists. Their goal is to establish a network of researchers on post-socialist civil societies in order to build collaborations and create innovative ideas for further research projects.

Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research