Graduation Date


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Arts

Primary Major

Political Science

Primary Minor


Second Minor


Program Director

Alison Howard, MA

Thesis Advisor

Alison Howard, MA


Hungary and Poland have attempted to establish democratic systems of government since the end of Soviet occupation in 1991. Recently, both states have elected leaders who have started to manipulate their democratic institution into one that seems not so democratic; both Hungary and Poland have manipulated their judicial branch into one that now serves only their own interests. Leaders in Hungary and Poland have shown their support for regimes such as those in Russia, China, and Turkey. What factors contribute to democratically elected officials shifting towards authoritarianism in post Eastern-Bloc countries? From Samuel P Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, to Levitsky and Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die, scholars have examined key factors that contribute to the stability and downfall of democracies. This thesis examines the countries of Hungary and Poland, whose democracies are in decline. The study expected a correlation between the loss of democracy in Hungary and Poland, as a result of their recent history as satellite states of the USSR. The case study found no direct correlation between the two countries’ history as part of the Eastern-Bloc; their authoritarian leaders were able to exploit the weaknesses of Hungary and Poland in the precise ways that allowed them to gain more power.