Nationalism, Populism, Fascism and Democratic (In)stability in Eastern Europe. Historical Continuities and Transformations

Event: Workshop

Location: NEC conference hall & Zoom

28 September 2022, 9.30-18.30 (Bucharest time)

Adina MARINCEA (2021/ 2022 NEC-Ameropa Fellow)

Constantin ARDELEANU, Anca Diana AXINIA, Lesia BIDOCHKO, Ionuţ BILIUŢĂ, Maria BUCUR, Raul CÂRSTOCEA, Cosmin CERCEL, Constantin IORDACHI, Aleksandra KONARZEWSKA, Adina MARINCEA, Diana MĂRGĂRIT, Manuel MIREANU, William TOTOK, Dana TRIF, Veda POPOVICI, Andreas UMLAND

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 829 4725 9824
Passcode: 716015


We invite you to participate in a workshop that aims to analyze and problematize the resurgence of (ultra)nationalism and radical right movements in the Eastern European region. The political transformations that emerged with the regime change after the fall of communism and the multiple crises that impacted the region during capitalism – from financial to migration, pandemic and war – have proven to be a fertile soil for the consolidation of ultranationalist, right-wing populist and far right groups and parties. This process has also been facilitated by a revisionist rhetoric that rehabilitates and normalizes fascist ideas, minimizing the historical impact they have had in different countries.

In the same time, we see also an instrumentalization of the antifascist rhetoric in Russia’s claims of “denazification” to justify a war started on grounds of nationalist / imperialist ambitions by a regime that is increasingly held to be quasi-fascist itself. It is yet unclear what consequences this capture and reframing of the antifascist discourse might have on the existing efforts to combat growing antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and neo/post-fascism in Europe.

In this context, we propose a discussion engaging multiple perspectives regarding the different shapes that ultranationalism and the radical right take in Eastern Europe today with a focus on (but not limited to) Romania, Ukraine and Russia, and the extent to which they preserve and put back into circulation interwar far right ideas or reshape and adapt them so as to bypass the norms of liberal democratic society.

The discussion can also aim to disambiguate, theoretically and empirically, concepts like ultranationalism, populism, fascism, considering their current manifestations in the region and their relation to democracy. To what extend are they compatible with the democratic framework or rather threaten democratic stability in the region? All the more so in the context of the war in Ukraine which has led to increased militarization, nationalist rhetoric, an accelerating slide into authoritarianism and erosion of rights and liberties in the region, together with the co-option of formerly radical-right groups (like the Azov Battalion) as legitimate forces of national(ist) resistance.

To this end, we are also interested in uncovering the role of different socio-political actors like the media or the Orthodox Church in rehabilitating the far right and ultranationalist movements, on the one hand, and in legitimizing Russia’s war in Ukraine, on the other, as well as the role that the delegitimization of leftist movements and consolidation of anti-socialist hostility after the fall of communism has played in this process in countries like Romania.



Introductory remarks from the organizers

Valentina SANDU-DEDIU, New Europe College
Andreas ZIVY, AMEROPA Holding AG
Adina MARINCEA, ‘Elie Wiesel’ NISHR & NEC Bucharest


Panel 1

Populism, Ultranationalism and Fascism in the Black Sea Region

Chair: Constantin ARDELEANU

Constantin IORDACHI, CEU PU Vienna
Charisma and Messianic Nationalism as a Salvific Faith: On the Current Revival of Right-Wing Political Radicalism

Dana TRIF, UBB Cluj-Napoca
Ernesto Laclau’s ‘Populism’ and the Romanian Far-Right. A Preliminary Analysis

Cosmin CERCEL, NEC Bucharest
A Fascist Constitutional Subject? Constitution, Exception and Ultranationalism during the Romanian Interwar

Lesia BIDOCHKO, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
Ukrainian Far-right Movements: Controversies amid the Ongoing War

Andreas UMLAND, Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies
Russian Fascism? Diverging Classifications of Putin’s Regime before and after 24 February 2022

12.00–12.30 Coffee break


Panel 2

AUR, Ultranationalism and Extreme Right-Wing Parties in Romania (I)

Chair: Cosmin CERCEL

Diana MĂRGĂRIT, ‘Al.I. Cuza’ University of Iași
“New Kid in Town? Sanitary Crisis, Populist Solutions and Party Competition in Romania

Raul CÂRSTOCEA, Maynooth University
Othering Corruption: Comparing Interwar Fascism and Post-socialist Populism in Romania

13.20–14.30 Lunch break


Panel 2 (continued)

AUR, Ultranationalism and Extreme Right-Wing Parties in Romania (II)

Chair: Cosmin CERCEL

Adina MARINCEA, ‘Elie Wiesel’ NISHR & NEC Bucharest
The Fascist Katechon and the Communist Antichrist: How AUR Party Uses Social Media to Revive Interwar Legionary Manichean Thinking

Ionuţ BILIUŢĂ, ICSU ‘Gheorghe Șincai’ Târgu Mureș
The Religious Origins of AUR’s ‘Fascist’ Ideology. Religious Orthodox Fascism and Ultranationalist Activism in a Nostalgic Key

William TOTOK, Radio France Internationale
The Dynamics of Right-Wing Extremism in Romania. Organisations, Publications, Actions (1900–2022)

15.45–16.10  Coffee break


Panel 3

Facing Far-Right Radicalization: Reactions, Reflections and Strategies

Chair: Adina MARINCEA

Maria BUCUR, Indiana University, Bloomington
The Unbearable Toxicity of Christian Nationalism in the United States

Anca Diana AXINIA, European University Institute, Florence
‘I am a Woman, I am a Mother, I am Christian’: Gender Troubles and Feminist Discontents in the Contemporary Far Right – Lessons from Italy

Aleksandra KONARZEWSKA, Tübingen University
Reactions to Ruscism in Academic/Cultural Circles

Manuel MIREANU, UBB Cluj-Napoca
Punishing Social Deviance: Vigilantism, Security and the Far Right in Contemporary Europe

Veda POPOVICI, Beyond Inhabitation Lab, Polytechnic of Turin
Activist Research and Engaged Intellectuals in the Face of the Rise of Fascism

18.15–18.30 – Conclusions

This is event is organized within the Ameropa fellowship program at the New Europe College, with the support of AMEROPA Holding.