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Salon: Ivan Krastev

The Light that Failed

Ivan Krastev’s latest work is one of brilliant political psychology. In investigating the reasons why the West, after winning the Cold War, lost its political balance, he comes to the conclusion that this purported end of history turned out to be the beginning of a twisted ‘Age of Imitation’.

Surveying the history of the last thirty years, he shows that the most powerful force behind the wave of populist xenophobia that began in Eastern Europe stems from resentment at the post-1989 imperative to become Westernised.

His original analysis looks at the Trump revolution as an ironic fulfilment of the (over-optimistic) promise that the nations exiting communist rule would come to resemble the US. Yet in a strange twist, Trump has elevated Putin’s Russia and Orbán’s Hungary into models for the United States.

Don’t miss this fresh perspective on the complex dialectic of liberalism and illiberalism, alongside an original explanation of the self-destruction of the liberal West as a universal utopia.   


A relaxed evening of intelligent talk and discussion, over drinks and light food.


  • 6:30 Doors open
  • 7:00 Talk by Ivan Krastev 
  • 7:30 Table discussion
  • 8:00 Floor Discussion
  • 8:30 Event ends


Ivan Krastev is a political scientist and one of Europe’s leading public intellectuals. He is the chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, permanent fellow at the IWM (Institute of Human Sciences) in Vienna, and 2013-14-17 Richard von Weizsäcker fellow at the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Berlin. He is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the board of trustees of the International Crisis Group and is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.  


  • 2019 The Light that Failed (co-authored with Stephen Holmes)
  • 2017 After Europe
  • 2014 Democracy Disrupted. The Global Politics on Protest
  • 2013 In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don’t Trust Our Leaders?


06 Mar 2020

6:30-8:30 PM

  • Tickets: 15-35€
  • Location: 89 Ch. de Vleurgat, 1050 Ixelles

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