Democracy in the Age of Putin

Liberal democracy was in crisis well before President Vladimir Putin’s February escalation of the Russia-Ukraine war. However, the February escalation has magnified the ongoing battle between democracy and authoritarianism. Democracy in the Age of Putin will aim to explore challenges to democratic values in the Central and Eastern European space. The conference is organised in cooperation with IDEAS (London School of Economics), the Rațiu Forum, Jagiellonian University and Babeș-Bolyai University.

The event will take place on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th September in Turda, Romania.

For more info about how to reach us at the Ratiu Centre, check out our “Contact” page.

Please contact Andreea Scridon at for more information about the event. 
Event type: free
Registration through Eventbrite required:
Please consider the Privacy Note here (document in Romanian). 


Monday, 5th September


Rațiu Centre for Democracy, Piața 1 Dec. 1918, nr. 1, Turda, Cluj county, ROMANIA

10.00 - 10.05

Opening of event: Leon Hartwell, Senior Advisor for the Central and South Eastern European Programme (CSEEP) at LSE IDEAS

10.05 - 10.15

Opening remarks: Nicolae Rațiu, Chairman of the Ratiu Family Foundation

Panel: The State of Democracy in CEE

10.15 - 12.15


  • Prof. Przemysław Tacik, Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University
  • Prof. Joanna Dyduch, Institute of the Middle and Far East, Jagiellonian University
  • Prof. Raluca Alexandrescu, Faculty of Political Science, University of Bucharest 
  • Session Chair: Prof. Alexander Evans, London School of Economics

Panel: Corruption and the Rule of Law

13.45 - 15.45


  • Prof. Elena Simina Tănăsescu, Professor at the Law Faculty, University of Bucharest
  • Andrzej Sadecki, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Eastern Studies, Warsaw
  • Prof. Paweł Laidler, Dean of Faculty of International and Political Studies of the Jagiellonian University
  • Session Chair: Adam Reichardt, Editor-in-Chief, New Eastern Europe

Tuesday, 6th September

Rațiu Centre for Democracy, Piața 1 Dec. 1918, nr. 1, Turda, Cluj county, ROMANIA

Panel: Democratic Values and Ideas

10.00 - 12.00


  • Adam Reichardt, New Eastern Europe
  • Dr. Wojciech Michnik, International Relations and Security Studies, Jagiellonian University
  • Prof. Adrian Pabst, University of Kent
  • Prof. Gabriela Ciot, Faculty of European Studies, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj
  • Session Chair: Dr. George Jiglau, Political Science Department, Babeş-Bolyai University

Panel: Human Rights at Risk

13.30 - 15.30


  • Prof. Katarzyna Zielińska, Institute of Sociology at Jagiellonian University
  • Prof. Christopher Coker, Director of IDEAS
  • Dr. Cynthia Carmen Curt, Faculty of Political Sciences, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj – TBC
  • Dr. Laura Herța, Faculty of European Studies, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj
  • Session Chair: Prof. Przemysław Tacik (TBC), Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University

Panel: Populism and Nationalism

16.00 - 18.00


  • Prof. Sergiu Mișcoiu, Faculty of European Studies, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj
  • Dr. Fernando Herrero, University of Manchester, Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies
  • Prof. Slobodan Markovich, Professor at the School of Political Science of the University of Belgrade
  • Session Chair: Prof. Christopher Coker, Co-Director, LSE IDEAS




Raluca Alexandrescu, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Bucharest, Faculty of Political Science. Romanian political scientist specialized in the discursive analysis of intellectual history of the political and institutional modernization in Central and South- Eastern Europe, 19 th  – 21 st  centuries, in terms of democratization process, political power legitimacy and institutional settings. Also, a columnist for 22 political magazine and other publications and TV stations. Latest publications: “Modernités politiques roumaines face au modèle politique français pendant les années 1869-1879 (contextes, influences, acteurs)”, Analele Universităţii din Bucureşti. Știinţe politice Anul XXII, Nr. 1-2 2020, pp. 19- 34; “Romanian Political Regime: Founding Dilemmas and Political Cleavages”, in A. Bejma, L.Ghica, D. Przastek, eds (forthcoming) Poland and Romania after communism. Peter Lang, 2022; “Les dix décisives vues d’ailleurs. Modes et inspirations de la modernisation politique roumaine vers la fin du 19e siècle”, în Pierre Allorant, Walter Badier, Jean Garrigues (dir.), Les Dix décisives. 1869-1879, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, coll. «Histoire», 2022, pp. 373-384.

Melania-Gabriela Ciot is Associate Professor at University Babes-Bolyai Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of European Studies. She is the Director of the “European Paradigm” Doctoral School and of the Center of International Negotiations. Her main fields of interest are: international negotiations, European affairs, decision-making process in foreign policy, and cultural diplomacy. She was Secretary of State for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2017-2019).

Christopher Coker is Professor of International Relations at LSE. His publications include The Rise of the Civilizational State (2019); Rebooting Clausewitz (2018); Men at War; what fiction tells us about conflict from The Iliad to Catch 22 (2014); Warrior Geeks: how 21st century technology is changing the way we fight and think about war (Oxford University Press 2013) and Barbarous Philosophers: reflections on the nature of war from Heraclitus to Heisenberg (Columbia University Press 2010).  He has written for The Times, Times Literary Supplement, The Financial Times, The Spectator, the Independent and The Wall St Journal. He has been a Visiting Fellow at National Institute of Defence Studies (Tokyo); the Rajaratnam School National technological University (Singapore), the Institute for Security Studies (Chulalongkorn University Bangkok) and is a regular lecturer at staff colleges and academies around the world. He is at present Visiting Professor in War Studies at the Swedish National Defence College.

Joanna Dyduch is Associate Professor at the Institute of the Middle and Far East at Jagiellonian University. Political scientist and international relations scholar focusing on the analysis of the public policies (mainly foreign and security policy and energy policy) both form theoretical and empirical perspective. Additionally, her research activities touch upon intersections between foreign policy and energy related issues. In general, her research interests lie in the European and Israel studies. Author of several books and articles, she published in: Journal of European Integration, Israel Studies Review, Energy Policy, Applied Energy, Environmental Science, and Pollution Research. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Vienna (2017), Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica (2019), University of Potsdam (2020), and a research fellow of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (2018). Form 2019 she serves as the president of the European Association for Israeli Studies and since 2021 as a Board Member of the US-based Association of Israel Studies. She has participated in several research projects and is currently a principal investigator in “Energy security and increasing international interdependence. Israeli energy policy in transition” project funded by the Polish National Science Center and co-investigator in the European project “Rethinking and Reshaping the EU’s democracy support in its Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood” (HORIZON-CL2-2021-DEMOCRACY-01).

Laura Maria Herța has a PhD in History and is Associate Professor of International Relations (Department of International Relations). She is Vice-dean for Research at the Faculty of European Studies in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She is also senior Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg. Laura Herța is author of several books, chapters in books and articles on the history of Yugoslavia and the wars in Former Yugoslavia. Interested in peace studies and security studies, humanitarian intervention, the Balkan region, South Caucasus, Central and East Africa, EU as normative power, social-constructivism.

Fernando G. Herrero has taught in fields of Literature and Culture, Translation and Interpretation Studies at the Universities of Manchester and Birmingham in the U.K. He has obtained his PhD at Duke University. He has taught in the U.S. at Duke University, Stanford University, University of Pittsburgh, Hofstra University, Oberlin College among others before relocating to the U.K. He is invested in comparative approaches to the humanities and the social sciences in relation to expansive world visions. He focuses on relations between civilisations, nations, states, law and literature, politics, the grand history of European philosophy and its criticisms from the margins, the template of “the West and the Rest”, the topic of civilization and its “barbarisms,” Spanish and English relations on both sides of the Atlantic, utopianism, the inspirational meanings of “culture,” the impact of international relations and foreign affairs in the liberal arts etc.

Paweł Laidler is Associate Professor of political science at the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora and the Dean of the Faculty of International and Political Studies at Jagiellonian University. He holds an MA in law. He was a visiting professor at the JFK Institute for North American Studies at Free University in Berlin (2015). He has authored books and articles about the clash of law and politics in the US government system, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the Office of US Attorney General. He is a principal investigator in the international project on “Trust and transparency in an age of surveillance” funded by the Polish National Science Center and the German Research Foundation, and the project on “Constitutionalization of politics as an element of checks and balances”, also funded by the Polish National Science Center.

Slobodan G. Markovich, MBE is Full Professor at the School of Political Science of the University of Belgrade where he lectures Political Anthropology, Political History of South-East Europe and Image of European Other. He is also Full Professor at the Institute for European Studies in Belgrade. He has been Research Associate at LSEE/LSE since 2012, and at LSE IDEAS since 2018. He has been the head of the Centre for British Studies at the School of Political Science in Belgrade since 2017. His published monographs include a book on Freud’s pessimism: Pessimistic Anthropology of Sigmund Freud (Belgrade, 2012), on Serbian economist, politician and diplomat Chedomille Miyatovich. A Victorian among Serbs (Belgrade, 2006), and a monograph on British-(Balkan) Serbian relations: British Perceptions of Serbia and the Balkans 1903-1906 (Paris, 2000, in English). His (co-)edited collections of papers in English include: British-Serbian Relations from the 18th to the 21st Centuries (Belgrade, 2018), Problems of Identities in the Balkans (Belgrade, 2006), and Challenges to New Democracies in the Balkans (Belgrade, 2004). He has been the coordinator of annual meetings “Psychoanalysis and Culture” since 2016. His research interests include: construction of ethnic/national and religious identities in the Balkans, British-Balkan relations, psychoanalytic anthropology, and history of European pessimism.

Wojciech Michnik is Assistant Professor of International Relations and Security Studies at the Institute of Political and International Studies at Jagiellonian University, Transatlantic Project Coordinator of the LSE IDEAS Central and South-East Europe Programme at Jagiellonian University, and contributing editor for New Eastern Europe. In 2019 he served as the Eisenhower Defense Fellow at the NATO Defense College in Rome. Previously, he taught for over two years at American University in the Emirates in Dubai and served as a Fulbright visiting scholar at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute in 2015-2016. In 2014 he worked as a foreign and security policy analyst at the Department of Americas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. Wojciech Michnik holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from Jagiellonian University. His main research interests include transatlantic security, NATO-Russia relations, and great power competition in the Middle East.

Sergiu Mișcoiu is a researcher and Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of European Studies, Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. He is also the Director of the Center on International Cooperation at Babeș-Bolyai University and Director of the Centre for African Studies (Cestaf). He is a permanent member of the Political Studies Institute of the Paris-Est University (LIPHA) where he is PhD tutor (since 2010) and associate fellow professor (since 2007).

Adrian Pabst is Professor of Politics at the University of Kent and Deputy Director of the National Institution of Economic and Social Research. A New Statesman Contributing Writer, he is the author of several books, most recently The Politics of Virtue: Post-liberalism and the Human Future (2016, with John Milbank), Liberal World Order and Its Critics: Civilisational States and Cultural Commonwealths (2018), and The Demons of Liberal Democracy (2019). His latest book is Postliberal Politics: the Coming Era of Renewal (2021). Together with Jon Cruddas MP, he is currently writing a book about rights and obligations in the face of new threats to human dignity.

Nicolae Rațiu was educated in the United Kingdom at Marlborough College and the United States, New York University, with a BSc in Marine Transportation and economics. As Chairman of The Ratiu Foundation, a British registered charity (est. 1979) with headquarters in Manchester Square, London, Nicolae chairs a board of 5 Rațiu family members who award annually up to 50 grants, worth c. GBP 200,000, in various fields (study, research, projects, travel etc.) both in the UK and Romania. A businessman and philanthropist, Nicolae is also trustee of charities in Romania and the UK: The Romanian Cultural Centre in London, Pro Patrimonio (The National Trust of Romania), ADEPT, The Relief Fund for Romania and the Rațiu Centre for Democracy. In addition, through the Rațiu Foundation, Nicolae supports major cultural and educational programs in UK, Romania and US, among which are: The Ion Rațiu Chair of Romanian Studies at Georgetown University, Washington; The annual Ion Rațiu Democracy Award and Fellowship in Washington; The Ion Rațiu Award for Investigative Journalism; The Elisabeth Pilkington Rațiu Award for Advances in Mental Health.

Adam Reichardt is the Editor-in-Chief of the New Eastern Europe magazine based in Poland. Published since 2011, the magazine is one of the leading publications dedicated to the region of Central and Eastern Europe. He is also the co-host of the “Talk Eastern Europe” podcast – the official podcast of New Eastern Europe. In addition, Mr. Reichardt is the Director of the Warsaw Euro-Atlantic Summer Academy (WEASA), which is organized annually at the College of Europe in Natolin (Warsaw). He has served on the editorial board of the Central European Journal of International and Strategic Studies (CEJISS) and was a member of the executive team of the Three Ukrainian Revolutions project run by the College of Europe. He previously spent eight years in public policy in Washington D.C., and large portion of his studies in Krakow, Poland, where he now permanently resides. Adam has an MA in Public Administration in Public and Non-profit Management from the George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia USA, and a BA in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Adam was short-listed for the European Press Prize in the category of “Editing” for his work on New Eastern Europe and was named to the “New Europe 100” list of the region’s top innovators. In 2019 he was a Transatlantic Media Fellow with the Heinrich Boell Foundation. In addition to his activities at NEE, Adam also leads workshops on journalism, ethics and social media for students during international academies and seminars in Poland and abroad.

Andrzej Sadecki is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), a Warsaw-based think-tank. He holds an MA in European Studies from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and an MA in History from the Central European University in
Budapest. In 2018-2021 he worked as a researcher in the Horizon 2020 project (‘Delayed Transformational Fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe’) at the Charles University in Prague and the University College London (UCL). His research interests revolve around Hungarian domestic and foreign policy, regional cooperation in Central Europe, politics of memory, ethnic and national minorities. He tweets at @ASadecki.

Przemysław Tacik is Assistant Professor at the Institute of European Studies at Jagiellonian University and Director of the Nomos: Centre for International Research on Law, Culture and Power. A philosopher, lawyer, and sociologist by education, he holds PhDs in philosophy (2014) and international law (2016). He has been a visiting scholar at several universities (i.e. Columbia University, SUNY at Buffalo, Université de Nice, Université Paris-1, Université d’Orléans, Heidelberg Universität, Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht, Salzburg Universität, the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and Lisbon University). In his academic work he combines both philosophical and legalperspectives, attempting to approach them from an interdisciplinary angle. His main fields of interest are: in philosophy – contemporary philosophy, Jewish philosophy and animal studies; in law – critical legal studies, international law, human rights law. He has authored four books, over 40 articles and one translation of a poetry volume (from French to Polish). His most recent publication is A New Philosophy of Modernity and Sovereignty: Towards Radical Historicization (London–New York: Bloomsbury, 2021). Currently he completes a
research project on the critical approaches to the right of peoples to self-determination.

Elena Simina Tanasecu is professor of Constitutional and European law at the Faculty of Law of the Bucharest University.  Member of the International Association of Constitutional Law since 2007, she is one of its vice-presidents since 2018. Active member of the Societas Juris Publici Europei and of the International Society of Public Law – CEE Chapter, she has previously been director of the Centre for Constitutional Law and Political Institutions of the University of Bucharest (2005-2019), as well as president of the Romanian Association of Constitutional Law (2014-2019) and of the Franco-Romanian Association of Lawyers (2010-2019).  Since June 2019 she is a judge at the Constitutional Court of Romania.  Her research interests include judicial review and fundamental rights, as well as European and Comparative Constitutional Law and EU legal system.  

Katarzyna Zielińska is Associate Professor at the Institute of Sociology at Jagiellonian University. Her academic interests focus on few areas: gender and sexuality studies in Poland, (post) secular European societies, gender and democracy in Central Eastern European societies as well as transformations of collective identities in CEE in the context of the European Union. She has published numerous articles in Polish and international academic journals (e.g. East European Politics and Societies, Religion, State and Society, Culture, Health and Sexuality). She has authored two monographs and co-edited a few multi-author monographs.