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Working paper

Disillusionment and the Growth of Mass-Level Euroscepticism in Postcommunist East-Central Europe

This paper seeks to test if the disillusionment theory developed by Sokolov et al. (2018) to explain the rise of anti-Americanism in post-Soviet Russia, can also explain the recent growth of Euroscepticism in East-Central Europe (ECE). We provide anecdotal evidence of anti-EU disillusionment in the region and then test several empirical implications of the disillusionment theory using mass-level survey data from the European Social Survey (ESS). Our empirical findings are, however, contradictory. This suggests that the disillusionment model cannot be directly applied to the ECE case and should be modified to some extent. We propose two potential modifications. The first is based on David Laitin’s concept of “the most favored lords” and the second underscores the benefits that EU membership offers to the upper strata of Eastern European societies.