Populism as such is not new in the dictionaries of political and cultural sciences. The history of humankind is relatively rich in people and movements trying to convince people that simple and simplifying answers on complex questions may work. But in the last five or so years, there is a resurgence of populism across continents, societies and traditional political cleavages. As Brexit, the current U.S. dministration and many other events demonstrate, populism is shaping and influencing the political processes in Europe and far beyond. Against this background, the Center for Global Politics (www.global-politics.org) of Freie Universität Berlin organized a roundtable event for the annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) which took place last fall (2017) in Chicago. The topic of this event was „Populism in Eastern Europe“. The idea was to analyze empirical examples of populism in Eastern Europe and beyond, to discuss with the attending audience definitorial questions, possible reasons for the populist success, advantages and limits of comparing populism in different contexts, and to highlight the possibilities to make a broader comparison of the phenomena cross-regionally. The following CGP working paper is a follow-up result of the roundtable initiative. Some of the roundtable participants decided present their updated papers to a broader (not only) academic public. We hope that the research endeavors evolving around the topic of populism will prosper in the upcoming years. and we hope that this CGP working paper can contribute to this evolving discussion. This introduction offers reflections on causes of populism; about its core messages; about the forms of populist agitation; about the effects of populism, and about its future. Certain dimensions of the current debate on populism are particularly interesting because they are not (yet) as inflationary as other features of populism. These dimensions will be presented below, before we move on with four studies on the more concrete dimensions of populist policies and trends in (mostly) Eastern Europe.
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