The countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have undergone great regime disruptions and change over the past two centuries. Most recently, the sudden switch from 50 years of communist rule to democracy created a problematic new order in which intentionality and causality did not fully overlap. Political reality has so far not fulfilled the initial pronouncements of rapid triumph of the ‘Western' way of life, as represented by the liberal values of democracy, market economy, and rule of law. This lecture provides a comparative investigation of what is known as ‘democratic backsliding' in the new democracies of CEE and traces a possible scenario for the creation of hybrid regimes. By comparing the front-runners (Hungary, Poland) and the underdogs of the transition (Romania, Bulgaria) we see that though their democratizing ground zero may have seemed robust, they now reveal similar problems with multi-party competition and institutional engineering. We will explore the main lingering incompatibilities between post-communist regime realities and legal-liberal order: weakness of political agency and competing informal networks of authority, underdeveloped judicial enforcement mechanisms, unstable policy and legislative agenda, and overall citizen distrust of formal, legal norms.