Authoritarianism and Misinformation in Eastern Europe

December 3, 2021
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. EST
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

Some countries in Eastern Europe are experiencing democratic backsliding, brutal government crackdowns on opposition, exclusion of LGBTQ+ people and other minorities, and increased xenophobia as the region sees an influx in refugees. What explains this revival of authoritarian politics, nearly three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union? How are populism and populist movements contributing to public life in Eastern Europe? What roles do religion and religious actors play in regional politics?

This discussion featured PBS NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Simon Ostrovsky, who has reported on political trends in Belarus and Poland, and Marlene Laruelle, director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University. Ostrovsky and Laruelle discussed the rise of authoritarianism in Eastern Europe and how it has been advanced through the use of media and misinformation, including the Belarusian crackdown on government opposition. The conversation also covered the rise of mainstream conservativism and nationalism in Eastern Europe, as well as the complex roles of religion and religious actors in the region. Berkley Center Senior Fellows Jocelyne Cesari and José Casanova joined the conversation as facilitators and respondents.

This event was co-sponsored by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting with support from the Henry Luce Foundation.

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