Lack of Trust and Pessimism 30 Years after the Start of Transition


Marin Lessenski, Program Director European Policies at OSI-Sofia, commented for the Bulgarian National Radio the findings of a new report by Open Society Foundations on public attitudes in the former Eastern Bloc countries towards democracy, free speech, a market economy, the media and the civil sector.

There are critical levels of mistrust in the foundations of democracy and in the governments and political systems of Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Germany. These are the findings of a sociological survey ” States of Change: Attitudes in Central and Eastern Europe 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall”, by the Open Society Foundations in Eastern Europe. There is a lack of freedom of the media and the ability of civil society organizations to be corrective to the institutions in the observed countries.

“The results were expected to  a larger extent, because other studies have shown increasing pessimism in the world as a whole, distrust of institutions, and at the same time, these attitudes are much more pronounced in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc,” Marin Lessenski, Program Director of European Policies at OSI-Sofia told BNR.

Democracy is system that depends on trust The lower the trust, the more the system erodes – people refuse to participate, refuse to claim their rights. This is a vicious circle, “he said in an interview on” Something More. “

Lesinski noted that the poll was done before the local elections. However, it clearly shows that the Bulgarians do not believe that the elections are fair and hence – that something depends on them, he added.

The Bulgarians also negatively evaluate the effects of the market economy for themselves and for the country as a whole,” said Marin Lessenski.

According to him, another important thing is that”The beginning of the transition is considered to be 1996-1997, ie. in Bulgaria it is considered that we are seven years late compared to the others in CEE and we have delayed development, giving rise to the many of the negative assessments. “

According to Lessenski, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia are especially characterized by pessimism and uncertainty.

According to the survey, younger and women are much more tolerant, more optimistic and more active on civic issues. The other positive is that the younger generation finds meaning in what they do and seeks their rights.

You can hear the interview with Marin Lessenski (in Bulgarian) in the audio file.