iOS app Android app

Eastern Europe

Lessons of the Berlin Wall's Forgotten Aftermath

Tim Stone | Posted 01.08.2015 | World
Tim Stone

Though the Wende, or "Change," freed the East German people from over forty years of Stalinist dictatorship, remembering the forgotten side of German unification -- when right-wing hooligans waged thousands of attacks on defenseless foreigners -- provides a cautionary tale of failed leadership.

The No-Complex Generation In Romania

John Feffer | Posted 01.07.2015 | World
John Feffer

Of all the countries that I've visited in this region, the mentality of people here in Romania seems to have changed less than in the other places.

Avoiding the Yugoslav Scenario

John Feffer | Posted 01.02.2015 | World
John Feffer

The first war of nationalist extremism in East-Central Europe in the post-1989 era could easily have been in Romania, not Yugoslavia. Before conflicts between Serbs and Croats escalated into violence, ethnic Hungarians and ethnic Romanians squared off against each other.

NATO: Rebellion in the Ranks?

John Feffer | Posted 12.30.2014 | World
John Feffer

Misreadings of what's taking place on the eastern stretches of Europe contribute to an almost 1946-like sense of foreboding and inevitability.

From Budapest With Love

Adriana Aristizábal | Posted 12.22.2014 | New York
Adriana Aristizábal

New Yorkers expect the best of everything, and recently I had the opportunity to see one of the best: Zoltan Maga, Hungary's most celebrated violin virtuoso, a man who brings Hungarian cultural traditions to the rest of the world.

The Puppet Masters of Targu Mures

John Feffer | Posted 12.20.2014 | World
John Feffer

It's been nearly a quarter century since the fall of the Ceausescu dictatorship in Romania, and still many aspects of what happened in December 1989 and immediately afterwards remain a mystery.

Romania: A Sad Country Full of Humor

John Feffer | Posted 12.18.2014 | Politics
John Feffer

In front of Ovid's statue in Constanta, I met up with Mircea Tuglea, a writer, translator, literary critic, and teacher who lives with his family in Constanta. We spent a good part of the day together, as he discoursed on various sad topics but always with a joke or ironic aside thrown in to lighten things up.

Romania: The Revolution Came Too Early

John Feffer | Posted 12.17.2014 | World
John Feffer

In Romania, there was no Charter 77 or Solidarity trade union movement. Only a few intellectuals had come out against the Ceausescu regime, and most ended up in exile as a result. The first real organization of civil society emerged in the first exhilarating days of revolution in December 1989.

Tuberculosis: A Crisis in Eastern Europe and Central Asia That the West Cannot Ignore

Michel D. Kazatchkine | Posted 12.13.2014 | Impact
Michel D. Kazatchkine

Although new technologies are now available to diagnose TB and test for TB drug susceptibility/resistance, the reality is that less than 50 per cent of the estimated new cases of MDR-TB are diagnosed across the region.

Empowering Women in Romania

John Feffer | Posted 12.05.2014 | World
John Feffer

The status of women in Romanian society has seen both improvements and setbacks over the last two decades. Accession to the EU initially brought advances, as the country had to meet European standards on equality. But some of those advances were short-lived.

Hungary's Independent Peace Movement

John Feffer | Posted 12.03.2014 | World
John Feffer

One of the great stories of the 1980s to be obscured by the success of civil society organizations like Solidarity in Poland and Civic Forum in Czechoslovakia was the rise of an independent peace movement in a region dominated by official peace councils.

Comeback for the Left in Eastern Europe?

John Feffer | Posted 11.26.2014 | World
John Feffer

As nationalist extremism gains popularity throughout East-Central Europe, can Krytyka's message of hope in hard times steal the thunder from the right and appeal to millions of Europeans orphaned by the economic crisis?

Making the Castle Transparent

John Feffer | Posted 11.19.2014 | World
John Feffer

Today's Romania is quite different. It has gone through several political upheavals with different parties taking the helm. Accession to the EU forced quite a few important structural changes. The result is a considerably more transparent set of political institutions.

Rescuing Polish Liberalism

John Feffer | Posted 11.17.2014 | World
John Feffer

Roday in Poland, a new generation of political actors has taken up the challenge of rescuing liberalism from the misconceptions of the past. Kultura Liberalna is a weekly magazine established in 2009. I

Dealing With the Stasi

John Feffer | Posted 11.10.2014 | World
John Feffer

Today David Crawford reports for The Wall Street Journal from Berlin. When I met him 23 years ago, he was one of the most knowledgeable researchers into the Stasi. Through careful investigation, he put together a series of lists that exposed the inner workings of the organization.

Postcard From New York: Taking Control of Drug Policy

Michel D. Kazatchkine | Posted 11.09.2014 | Impact
Michel D. Kazatchkine

We who work in the field have known and railed against this unfair scenario for many years but what is different now are the incremental changes we are seeing in government attitudes that I believe are partly being driven by a growing change in attitude in the general community.

Sixty Seconds of Art

John Feffer | Posted 11.07.2014 | World
John Feffer

I was sitting in a café in Bratislava, having a final cup of coffee and picking up my email before boarding a train for Budapest. I was in a hurry, so I wasn't paying much attention. But then one of the guys came over to my table.

Cement

John Feffer | Posted 11.05.2014 | World
John Feffer

Fyodor Gladkov published his novel Cement in 1925. One of the first examples of socialist realism, it depicted the post-revolutionary construction of the Soviet Union from the point of view of a cement factory.

The Countryside Strikes Back

John Feffer | Posted 10.29.2014 | World
John Feffer

Gabor Harangozo is one of the new young leaders of the Hungarian Socialist Party. He started out, as many of his generation did, working with Fidesz, which in the early 1990 was a liberal youth party. Gradually, however, he grew disenchanted with market liberalism and moved toward social democracy.

The Republic of Writers

John Feffer | Posted 10.26.2014 | World
John Feffer

Hungarian writer Katalin Mezey and I talked about her memories of 1956, her trade union activities, and how the republic of writers has dealt with the issue of collaboration during the Communist years.

Rebuilding Hungary's Green Politics

John Feffer | Posted 10.22.2014 | World
John Feffer

Hungary has a rich tradition of environmental activism, from the anti-dam campaigns of the 1980s to the nature conservation efforts of the post-Communist period. It has also seen the rise and fall of a number of Green parties, including the most recent, Politics Can Be Different (LMP).

Eating Healthy in Hungary

John Feffer | Posted 10.19.2014 | World
John Feffer

It wasn't particularly easy to find vegetarian cooking in Hungary when I was there in 1990. This was the land of goulash and chicken paprikas, after all. So when I met Ferenc Fruhwald in 1990, he was way ahead of the curve.

The Mechanics of Change

John Feffer | Posted 10.15.2014 | World
John Feffer

Janos David is a sociologist who has spent his professional life studying change. He experienced the Hungarian uprising of 1956 firsthand and much later helped to produce documentaries about it.

Starting Out With Fidesz

John Feffer | Posted 10.12.2014 | World
John Feffer

Attila Ledenyi was one of the early shapers of Fidesz. He was in charge of international relations in the organization's early years. He's quick to remind me, when we met last May after 23 years, that Fidesz wasn't a political party in those early years.

The Irony of Current Russian-Ukrainian Relations

John Brown | Posted 10.11.2014 | World
John Brown

In all the wise commentary on the tragic Russia-Ukraine situation, I have seen few observations (admissions?) that 20th-century Ukraine is essentially a Soviet geopolitical construction.