Populist Curtain, The [The Documentary]

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01Poland and Hungary2019050120190502 (WS)

Political scientist Yascha Mounk travels from Szczecin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, the route of the former "Iron Curtain" and finds out what is changing under the new populist governments, in smaller cities far away from the capitals. He speaks to supporters and opponents of the populist parties and builds up a complex picture of Europe in a time of flux.

Yascha begins in the north in the Polish city of Szczecin (Stettin) – where Solidarity was originally created. Today the PIS party governs the country, with its appeal to traditional religious values and social conservatism. Critics say it is attacking independent institutions, especially the judiciary. Szczecin saw vigorous protest against a law restricting abortion. He then heads on to Sopron, Hungary – the site of the picnic which led to the first mass breach of the Iron Curtain. Here Victor Orban’s Fidesz party is accused of attacking civil society and the freedom of the press in his pursuit of an “illiberal democracy” – but there are forces fighting back locally.

Image: Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland's PIS party (Credit: Agencja Gazeta/Slawomir Kaminski via Reuters)

The populists governing European nations along the former Iron Curtain's route

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Political scientist Yascha Mounk travels from Szczecin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, the route of the former "Iron Curtain" and finds out what is changing under the new populist governments, in smaller cities far away from the capitals. He speaks to supporters and opponents of the populist parties and builds up a complex picture of Europe in a time of flux.

Yascha begins in the north in the Polish city of Szczecin (Stettin) – where Solidarity was originally created. Today the PIS party governs the country, with its appeal to traditional religious values and social conservatism. Critics say it is attacking independent institutions, especially the judiciary. Szczecin saw vigorous protest against a law restricting abortion. He then heads on to Sopron, Hungary – the site of the picnic which led to the first mass breach of the Iron Curtain. Here Victor Orban’s Fidesz party is accused of attacking civil society and the freedom of the press in his pursuit of an “illiberal democracy” – but there are forces fighting back locally.

Image: Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland's PIS party (Credit: Agencja Gazeta/Slawomir Kaminski via Reuters)

The populists governing European nations along the former Iron Curtain's route

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

In 1946, Winston Churchill coined a memorable phrase: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the continent,” he said. Today the Soviet Union has gone, but populist parties are in government in every country along the route of the Iron Curtain, as defined by Churchill. In this series, political scientist Yascha Mounk travels that route, and finds out what is changing under these new governments in smaller cities, far away from the capitals. He speaks to supporters and opponents of the populist parties and builds up a complex picture of Europe in a time of flux.

Meeting the populists governing European nations along the Iron Curtain's route.

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

02Austria And Italy2019050820190509 (WS)

Political scientist Yascha Mounk travels through countries which were on the West of the former Iron Curtain. Graz in Austria is the birthplace of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Here, populists have been brought into the fold – with the coalition between the centre-right Austrian People's Party and the far-right Freedom Party of Austria running the country. But Graz subverts expectations as the Communist Party is locally strong here too. His journey ends in the Italian city of Trieste, which was a contested city after both World War One and World War Two. Here Italy’s peculiar coalition between the Five Star and Lega parties is accused of attacking minorities and immigrants. Will Italy’s numerous smaller opposition parties manage to unite against the coalition?

(Photo: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (L) of the conservative People's Party (OeVP) and vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe). Credit: Getty Images)

The coalition of centre-right and far-right parties that are running Austria and Italy

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Political scientist Yascha Mounk travels through countries which were on the West of the former Iron Curtain. Graz in Austria is the birthplace of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Here, populists have been brought into the fold – with the coalition between the centre-right Austrian People's Party and the far-right Freedom Party of Austria running the country. But Graz subverts expectations as the Communist Party is locally strong here too. His journey ends in the Italian city of Trieste, which was a contested city after both World War One and World War Two. Here Italy’s peculiar coalition between the Five Star and Lega parties is accused of attacking minorities and immigrants. Will Italy’s numerous smaller opposition parties manage to unite against the coalition?

(Photo: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (L) of the conservative People's Party (OeVP) and vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe). Credit: Getty Images)

The coalition of centre-right and far-right parties that are running Austria and Italy

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

02The Populist Curtain: Austria and Italy20190508

Political scientist Yascha Mounk travels through countries which were on the West of the former Iron Curtain. Graz in Austria is the birthplace of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Here, populists have been brought into the fold – with the coalition between the centre-right Austrian People's Party and the far-right Freedom Party of Austria running the country. But Graz subverts expectations as the Communist Party is locally strong here too. His journey ends in the Italian city of Trieste, which was a contested city after both World War One and World War Two. Here Italy’s peculiar coalition between the Five Star and Lega parties is accused of attacking minorities and immigrants. Will Italy’s numerous smaller opposition parties manage to unite against the coalition?

(Photo: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (L) of the conservative People's Party (OeVP) and vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe). Credit: Getty Images)

The coalition of centre-right and far-right parties that are running Austria and Italy

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

02The Populist Curtain: Austria and Italy2019050820190509 (WS)

Political scientist Yascha Mounk travels through countries which were on the West of the former Iron Curtain. Graz in Austria is the birthplace of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Here, populists have been brought into the fold – with the coalition between the centre-right Austrian People's Party and the far-right Freedom Party of Austria running the country. But Graz subverts expectations as the Communist Party is locally strong here too. His journey ends in the Italian city of Trieste, which was a contested city after both World War One and World War Two. Here Italy’s peculiar coalition between the Five Star and Lega parties is accused of attacking minorities and immigrants. Will Italy’s numerous smaller opposition parties manage to unite against the coalition?

(Photo: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (L) of the conservative People's Party (OeVP) and vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe). Credit: Getty Images)

The coalition of centre-right and far-right parties that are running Austria and Italy

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.