East-Central Europe: The Young and the Far-Right

Issue Date April 2024
Volume 35
Issue 2
Page Numbers 65–79
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East-Central Europe’s young adults are at an ideological crossroads. They are significantly more progressive on issues of gender equality and gay rights than prior generations. However, their social progressivism is not wholesale. Eighteen-to-thirty-year-olds in the European Union’s eastern member states are increasingly anti-immigration, skeptical of EU integration, and devalue minority rights. Some are also open to “strong leader” alternatives to their ailing democracies. Far-right parties recognize this twin turn—away from Western multiculturalism and from democracies that fail to represent them—as a political opportunity, making explicit appeals to East-Central Europe’s youngest voters. Despite Western stereotypes about youth progressivism, there is potential for East-Central Europe’s young adults to strengthen antidemocratic movements on the right.

About the Author

Laura Jakli is assistant professor of business administration in the Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit of Harvard Business School.

View all work by Laura Jakli