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Walls of the mind: 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, new polling paints a worrying picture for Europe’s democracy

A rising populism across central and eastern Europe is cause for concern—but there is hope in younger generations, new polling finds

By Goran Buldioski  

Brain drain, and a nativist tendency, suggest a worrying trend. Photo: Thiémard horlogerie/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

Three decades since the dismantlement of the Berlin Wall, a new report by the Open Society gauges the attitudes of people born either side of 1989 from Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria on matters of democracy and their hopes for its future. Some of the answers make for sobering reading—but others offer an encouraging glimmer of optimism.

The worrisome findings first: Democracy is considered to be imperilled across all…

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