iOS app Android app

Eastern Europe

Countering Sexism in East Germany

John Feffer | Posted 05.10.2014 | Home
John Feffer

"For the first time ever in Germany we have a debate about the relationship between the sexes and especially concerning the workplace, all those things that happen daily and people just say: 'Oh, don't take it seriously, it is not so bad after all.'"

Televising Religion in the Czech Republic

John Feffer | Posted 05.08.2014 | Politics
John Feffer

We talked about the challenges of being a pastor under Communism, his involvement in the revolutionary changes in 1989, his best and worst programming moments, and why he agrees with Soren Kierkegaard that when everything is Christian, nothing is Christian.

Ensuring Free and Fair Elections

John Feffer | Posted 05.01.2014 | Politics
John Feffer

The National Democratic Institute offered funding for organizations working on free and fair elections in Slovakia. Young activist Maros Gabriel took them up on the offer.

The File

John Feffer | Posted 04.30.2014 | Home
John Feffer

As researchers patiently reconstruct the materials that Stasi employees tried to tear up before the archive passed out of their hands, the piles of files only grows higher. Tens of thousands of people each year go through the process of looking at their files. Marcel Rotter is one of those people.

Romania's Fraying Social Safety Net

John Feffer | Posted 04.27.2014 | Politics
John Feffer

One of the reasons why such a large portion of the Romanian population remains mired in poverty is the relative indifference of the government to the needs of the poor.

Monarchy as Metaphor in the Czech Republic

John Feffer | Posted 04.26.2014 | Politics
John Feffer

There is a party that supports the transformation of the government into a constitutional monarchy, but it has been described as "one of the parties that could fit in an elevator." But the principle of monarchy has appeal beyond the programs of specific parties.

Reforming the Party in Poland

John Feffer | Posted 04.25.2014 | Home
John Feffer

Hieronim Kubiak was a member of this group, which hoped to convene an extraordinary Party congress in 1980 to advance their goals. He would eventually become a member of the Politburo representing the reform wing.

The Czech Culture of Corruption

John Feffer | Posted 04.23.2014 | Home
John Feffer

When Havel became president of Czechoslovakia at the end of 1989 -- and later, the president of the Czech Republic -- he became a powerful symbol of a new era of politics. Surely the country would "live in truth" as long as it had a president of unimpeachable character. On the practical, day-to-day matters of politics and economics, however, Havel was not as influential.

Engendering Change in the Czech Republic

John Feffer | Posted 04.19.2014 | Home
John Feffer

The Communist governments and the oppositions shared at least one feature in common: they were overwhelmingly male.

Behind the Velvet Revolution

John Feffer | Posted 04.18.2014 | Home
John Feffer

Whichever version of this key event is true, the Velvet Revolution wouldn't have proceeded without the network of dissidents who had been patiently preparing for just such an opportunity.

Organizing the Disappointed in Poland

John Feffer | Posted 04.17.2014 | Home
John Feffer

When Poland went through its 'shock therapy' years of the early 1990s, many people lost out as a result of the economic reforms. The unemployment rate went up rapidly from under one percent in January 1990 to over 16 percent in 1994.

The Greatest Threat to Europe

John Feffer | Posted 04.15.2014 | Home
John Feffer

If we look a little closer at the agenda of the extreme right, we get warmer. Parties as diverse as Jobbik in Hungary, the National Front in France, and Golden Dawn in Greece have identified a common enemy -- the Other, the non-European, the foreigner.

Why North Korea Today Is Not East Germany 1989

John Feffer | Posted 04.13.2014 | Home
John Feffer

Just as the seemingly impregnable Honecker regime rapidly disintegrated along with the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the Kim dynasty in North Korea has been expected to collapse at any minute. This minute, of course, has lasted for more than two decades.

Building a New Economy in the Czech Republic

John Feffer | Posted 04.12.2014 | Home
John Feffer

Especially after the financial crisis in 2008 and the Eurozone crisis of the following year, many people in East-Central Europe are again looking for alternative economic strategies.

Speaking One's Tongue in Transylvania

John Feffer | Posted 04.10.2014 | Home
John Feffer

When I travelled in the Transylvania region of Romania in 1993, relations between ethnic Hungarians and ethnic Romanians were still tense. There had been outright confrontation and violence in 1990. By 1993, the conflict had largely migrated to the political realm.

Bridging Social Distance in Slovakia

John Feffer | Posted 04.09.2014 | Home
John Feffer

The social distance between Roma and non-Roma communities in Europe is quite large. In other words, there is not a great deal of mixing between the two communities.

Creating a Spectacle in Slovakia

John Feffer | Posted 04.04.2014 | Home
John Feffer

Snopko is now the Slovak culture ambassador in the Czech Republic. We talked about Slovak-Czech relations, the different culture of dissent in Slovakia during the Communist period, and his own love of Prague.

Solidarity After Solidarity

John Feffer | Posted 03.31.2014 | Home
John Feffer

Solidarity was not just an opposition movement. With 10 million members -- more than one quarter of the population of Poland in 1980 -- it was an unprecedented phenomenon.

Becoming a Leader

John Feffer | Posted 03.27.2014 | Home
John Feffer

Bela Racz grew up in a small village in Hungary with a mixed Roma and non-Roma population. In 2009, far-right-wing groups targeted his village. "We blocked the village with cars so that they couldn't enter."

All Politics Is Local -- Also in the Czech Republic

John Feffer | Posted 03.25.2014 | Home
John Feffer

Petr Bratsky is a firm believer in the importance of the local. He is currently in the Czech Senate, affiliated with the Civic Democratic Party founded by Vaclav Klaus in 1991 on the center right of the political spectrum.

Poland: The Revolution Devours Its Children

John Feffer | Posted 03.23.2014 | Home
John Feffer

It might seem as though Poland had a choice in 1990 in terms of what economic reform to pursue. But journalist Jacek Zakowski argues that there really was no choice.

Slovenia's Gradualist Transition

John Feffer | Posted 03.16.2014 | Home
John Feffer

I talked with one of the major architects of Slovenia's economic transition, Joze Mencinger, about the relationship between economic reform and independence, the influence of the European Union, the particular brand of self-management practiced in Slovenia, and the casino capitalism years that overtook the country a decade ago.

Hungarian Students Resist

John Feffer | Posted 03.15.2014 | Home
John Feffer

The Student Network in Hungary has been one of the most vocal and visible opponents of the current government. When I was in Budapest last May, I sat down for coffee with Csaba Jelinek, a student activist

Focusing on Inequality in Hungary

John Feffer | Posted 03.10.2014 | Home
John Feffer

I talked with Robert Braun, who is is running for parliament, about the rising nationalism and anti-Semitism in Hungarian society, the failures of liberalism, the challenges of running a business, and why he decided to throw his hat into the political ring.

Should International Aid to CSOs End After Graduation?

Fron Nahzi | Posted 03.09.2014 | Home
Fron Nahzi

The economic and political development of the country does not necessarily lead to the development of its philanthropic sector. But what can be done in a time when the need for Western support across the globe far exceeds the availability of funds?