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Photo: W drodze na Wawel“, by Piotr Drabik, licensed under CC BY 2.0, Hue modified from the original.

Bohle, Dorothee, Gergő Medve-Bálint, Vera Šćepanović, and Alen Toplišek. “Riding the Covid waves: authoritarian socio-economic responses of east central Europe’s anti-liberal governments.” East European Politics 38, no. 4 (2022): 662-686.


The extraordinary context of the COVID-19 crisis gave governments around the world a freer hand to reshape their socio-economic orders. Political economists studying East Central Europe have started a debate in how far democratic backsliding in the region has ushered in a more authoritarian form of capitalism. Our paper examines responses to COVID-19 of four anti-liberal governments in the region: Hungary, Poland, Serbia, and Slovenia. Incorporating multiple case studies, it assesses the degree to which growing centralisation of political power has entrenched different mechanisms of authoritarian capitalism, as well as the limits to their use in different national contexts.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.