Skip to main content

Photo: “Manifestacja przeciw islamizaji Europy Ruch Narodowy Młodzież Wszechpolska plac Zamkowy 2016“, by Adrian Grycuk licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 PL. Hue modified from the original

Minkenberg, Michael, Anca Florian, Zsuzsanna Végh, and Malisa Zobel. “Depleting democracy? The radical right’s impact on minority politics in Eastern Europe.” International Political Science Review (2021): 0192512120972883.


Radical right parties’ calls for a strong and illiberal nation-state have travelled across the political spectrum into the mainstream in Eastern Europe since the 2000s, contributing to a rightward shift in the region’s politics. The mechanisms behind such influences in Eastern Europe are not yet fully understood. Focusing on the strength of radical right parties and mainstream parties’ strategic reactions to them, this study explores how and under what circumstances radical right parties exert influence on mainstream parties’ general political positions and on their positions concerning ethnic and national minorities – a group frequently targeted by radical right intolerance in the region. Shifts in parties’ positions are analyzed using comparative data from the Chapel Hill Expert Survey and the authors’ own Viadrina Expert Survey. The study finds that where mainstream parties formally or informally cooperated with radical right parties or coopted their agenda, lasting rightward position shifts are observable. Consequently, the authors argue that by contributing to rightward shifts, especially on positions concerning minorities, radical right parties play a role in undermining liberal democratic values, thus contributing to the ‘depletion of democracy’.

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.