Cover Osteuropa 12/2019

In Osteuropa 12/2019

“Thinking without a guardrail”
The Miracle of 1989 and the “Times of troubles”

Karl Schlögel

Deutsche Fassung


Europe’s authoritarian populists claim that the miracle of 1989 never happened. All too often, even their counterparts tend to believe this. However, this is simply not true. The events following Perestroika, which reached their peak in 1989, were incredible, unprecedented, and marked by many illusions – but they were not an illusion in themselves. Since then, people and societies, spaces and cultures, politics and economies have been shifting and changing in Europe, albeit in a different way to that predicted by the social scientists, with their linear constructs, concepts and theories of transition. But instead of mocking those who thought that 1989 marked the “end of history”, we should avoid such retrospective teleology and ask what spaces of experience and expectation were behind such perceptions. The micro-history of this “historical moment” as a history of contingency has yet to be written. This history is more than just remembrance and educational instruction. It is an armoury for sharpening the senses.

(Osteuropa 12/2019, pp. 3–14)