Slavenka Drakulic at Eurozine:
There is no single answer to the question why former Communist states are now showing their unpleasant side – but just to put it into perspective how difficult the answer is, we should remember that there is no harmony even between eastern and western Germany. When former Communist states joined the EU, they expected to get much more than they actually got. Besides freedom, democracy and human rights, citizens expected a better life, of the kind they saw in western TV advertisements. What they expected of “Europe”, i.e. the West, was justified by several reasons. For example, that they were Europeans too, now returning to where they naturally belong after decades of Soviet occupation. But the most important reason was their suffering under totalitarianism. Because of that, they deserved the status of victims of History, something that the West, meanwhile busy developing and getting rich, should never forget. As mere recognition of their victimhood was not enough, some kind of compensation for suffering was expected. Indeed, financial aid from the West was interpreted as a payment of an historical debt. Last but not least, has the West already forgotten that some of the former Communist states, now resisting the wave of Muslim refugees, spent centuries under the Turkish, that is, Muslim rule? And often fought the Turks in war, as they saw it, protecting Christian Europe?
One could claim that the psychology of the victim is still very much alive, if for no other reason than because calling upon this status could still bring material benefits. But the truth is that the victims of Communism now have serious competitors: war refugees arriving from the Middle East and Africa. The fact is that these new victims, mostly Muslims arriving in frighteningly high numbers, makes solidarity even more difficult for eastern Europeans.