Ivan Krastev






Political scientist

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Ivan Krastev is a Bulgarian political scientist and observer. He is the chairman of the Center for Liberal Studies, a left-of-center think tank based in Sofia, Bulgaria and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria. Krastev has held positions on the boards of several leading European political and cultural organizations, most notably the global advisory board of the Open Society Foundations, the international grantmaking arm of the Soros Network.

Krastev has written numerous articles, papers, and books discussing European and world affairs from a left-of-center perspective that is generally favorable towards globalization and hostile towards nationalism. 1

Board Memberships

Ivan Krastev is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a counterpart to the United States-based Council on Foreign Relations. He also sits on the advisory councils of the Center for European Policy Analysis and the European Cultural Foundation. 2

Krastev sits on the global advisory board of the Open Society Foundations, the flagship organization within the international grantmaking and advocacy network of billionaire financier and left-of-center activist George Soros. He is also a contributor to Project Syndicate, a publication which covers world affairs from a left-of-center perspective and has received funding from Soros. 3 4

Published Works

Ivan Krastev has authored and co-authored several books on European and international affairs. In 2014, he released Democracy Disrupted: The Politics of Global Protest. In it, Krastev discussed protest movements around the world, from Occupy Wall Street and related campaigns in the United States to anti-government demonstrations in Middle Eastern countries. He disputed the theory that political unrest in modern times is the result of growing middle classes in developed and developing nations, and instead argued that it reflected what he called “a pervasive distrust of democratic institutions.” 5

In 2017, Krastev released After Europe, in which he predicted a potential weakening or disintegration of the European Union. Krastev identified three major challenges facing the bloc. The first, according to him, is the entry of more than 1.3 million migrants and the backlash from the native populations of European nations. The second is the rise of right-of-center populist and nationalist movements, which Krastev views as a threat to the continent. The third is a multitude of issues facing Eastern European nations, including the alleged threat posed by Russia. 6

In 2020, Krastev and his co-author Stephen Holmes released The Light That Failed: Why the West Is Losing the Fight for Democracy. Krastev criticized nationalism, which he referred to as “populist xenophobia,” and compared then-U.S. President Donald Trump to Russian authoritarian leader Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Political Views and Notable Claims

Ivan Krastev has been critical and dismissive of right-of-center populist movements, particularly those opposed to membership in the European Union or increased centralization of power within the bloc. In a 2019 interview with Politico, he supported efforts to “reverse” emerging nationalist tendencies in central and eastern Europe and spoke dismissively of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. According to Krastev, Britain’s “biggest loss” from Brexit was adopting what he called an “unbearably provincial” worldview. Krastev also equated nationalism and right-of-center populism with “a rejection of the West, its values and its institutions.” 7

Krastev has frequently criticized the government of Russia, and has predicted its collapse several times. In a 2012 article for the Journal of Democracy, Krastev claimed that the Russian state was close to collapse because a series of protests following the country’s 2011 elections had “essentially destroyed” Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “regime.” He made a similar claim in a 2013 article for the Institute of Human Sciences, predicting that an ongoing anti-corruption initiative by the Russian government would “sink” Putin and his supporters within the Russian state apparatus; as of 2022, Putin remained the effective chief of the Russian state. 8 9


  1. “Ivan Krastev.” Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen. Accessed December 5, 2021.
  2. “Ivan Krastev.” Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen. Accessed December 5, 2021.
  3. Ivan Krastev.” Project Syndicate. Accessed December 5, 2021.
  4. “What we do.” Project Syndicate. Accessed December 5, 2021.
  5. “Ivan Krastev.” Amazon. Accessed December 5, 2021.
  6. “Ivan Krastev.” Politico. Accessed December 5, 2021.
  7. “Ivan Krastev.” Politico. Accessed December 5, 2021.
  8. Ivan Krastev. “Putin’s Self-Destruction.”  Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen. June 9, 2013. Accessed December 5, 2021.
  9. Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes. “Putinism Under Siege: An Autopsy of Managed Democracy.” Journal of Democracy. July 2012. Accessed December 5, 2021.
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