About IDEE

The Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe (IDEE) is an independent organization dedicated to the active promotion of democracy, civil society, and human rights throughout Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and other communist or post-communist countries. IDEE also seeks to share the varied experiences of democratic movements and the transitions from communism in Eastern Europe with political and human rights movements seeking democratic change in other parts of the world.

The Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe (IDEE) was formed in 1985 by the Committee in Support of Solidarity—itself started in December 1981 to aid Poland’s Solidarity movement after the imposition of martial law—with the aim of helping the growing democracy and human rights movements in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. IDEE organized substantial assistance to opposition groups at the forefront of the 1989-91 revolutions that brought about the fall of communism in the region. Since 1989, it has helped democrats in the region to overcome communism’s legacy, build democratic institutions, and oppose new forms of authoritarianism.  In its work, IDEE has organized programs reaching all thirty former communist countries as well as Cuba, including direct help to more than 3,000 independent publications, civic, trade union, and human rights organizations, citizens’ initiatives, and opposition movements. Its innovative programs have been models for the region and IDEE has also shared its experiences with democratic and civic activists from many other countries. Read More.

In 1992, IDEE created the Centers for Pluralism, the first and most enduring network in the region of democratic activists. Starting with representatives of civic and pro-democracy groups from six countries, the network grew to include activists from twenty-four post-communist countries having the aims of consolidating and expanding liberal democracy throughout the region and of sharing the varied experiences of the transitions from communism with themselves and those seeking democratic change in other countries. Through the Centers for Pluralism network, IDEE also organized international election monitoring missions to numerous countries, including Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Georgia. Read More.

From 1988 to 1997 (nine volumes, thirty-four issues), IDEE published Uncaptive Minds, a journal of information and analysis on Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. It is the most comprehensive journal from this period about the transition from communism in Eastern Europe that was written by those in the region bringing about democratic change. Read More.

In October 2014, IDEE launched its project “25 Years After 1989-91: Reflections on Unfinished Business.” IDEE began the project by holding a seminar with 22 veterans of the 1989-91 revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in order to examine the varied outcomes of the transitions from communism, analyze the current state of the region, and develop ideas for taking on the unfinished business of that era. An IDEE Special Report provides a summary of the findings and recommendations of the seminar. A special issue of Uncaptive Minds provides the full edited proceedings of the seminar, including the papers, responses, and discussion among participants (many of whom were contributors to the earlier publication). Together, the two publications offer highly engaging analyses, insights, and prescriptions for addressing the continuing challenges and complexities of the post-communist countries. Read more.

In addition to information on its history, programs and publications found on this new web site (www.idee-us.org), IDEE maintains the archive of online materials posted from 1998–2014 at its previous web site: www.idee.org (see also About This Site).

IDEE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax-deductible. (To Donate)


Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe
1030 15th Street, NW, No. 147 B1
Washington, DC 20005
Tel.: (202) 361-9346 • Email: idee@idee.org