Contemporary democracies in Eastern Europe are challenged by the emergence of anti-democratic parties and a critical population. In this paper, we present evidence that confirms that the threat to democracy that we are currently witnessing is linked to the Communist past. We show that people become disillusioned with democracy because of their expectations towards the state that was instilled because of communism state protection. Here we link governmental intervention preferences to dissatisfaction with democracy and support for radical right parties. We are using cross-national data from the European Social Survey (2002-2016) to test our new theory as well as a case study of Germany to present difference-in-difference models that confirm a causal link between Communist socialization and today’s political disillusion with democracy. Our research contributes to the growing literature on the legacies of authoritarian regimes by testing the mechanisms that link dictatorship with emerging populism in new democracies.
Sandwiches will be provided.