Eastern Europe

Hungarian government passes authoritarian new laws

By Markus Salzmann, 28 December 2011

Just before the Christmas break, the Hungarian parliament passed a number of authoritarian and nationalist laws.

Pro-market opposition holds Moscow rally

By Clara Weiss, 27 December 2011

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people gathered in Moscow to protest the rigged Russian parliamentary elections of December 4.

Russian President Medvedev appeals to free-market parties amid protests

By Clara Weiss, 23 December 2011

In his annual address before the Federal Assembly on December 22, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced limited concessions to the liberal free-market opposition.

The Russian Socialist Movement—a political trap for the working class

By Vladimir Volkov, 23 December 2011

The Russian Socialist Movement (RSM), created at the beginning of this March, is trying to establish in Russia a culture of pseudo-left opportunism, completely hostile to the working class.

On the death of Václav Havel

By Peter Schwarz, 21 December 2011

Havel’s anti-communism, his arrogance towards working people and his unconditional support for the wars of NATO and the US made ​​him the darling of international politics and the media.

Putin dismisses election protests

By Clara Weiss, 17 December 2011

On a nationally televised call-in show Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin responded to dozens of questions from callers by dismissing recent protests against election fraud and appealing to free market liberals.

Russian billionaire announces presidential run against Putin

By Niall Green, 14 December 2011

Russian billionaire oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov announced on December 12 that he would run in next year’s presidential elections against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Bulgaria: Strikes and protests against layoffs and austerity

By Anna Rombach, 14 December 2011

For the last two weeks, Bulgaria has witnessed widespread protests and an indefinite strike by railway workers.

Thousands protest against Kremlin regime

By Andrea Peters, 12 December 2011

Thousands of people joined protests on Saturday in cities across Russia in the largest antigovernment demonstrations in nearly two decades.

CIA prison exposed in Romania

By Sybille Fuchs, 12 December 2011

German journalists have uncovered the location of one of the notorious “black site” torture prisons run in Europe by the CIA.

US officials threaten Russia amid post-election protests

By Alex Lantier, 9 December 2011

Amid deep popular disaffection and opposition protests against the regime of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin following Russia’s December 4 parliamentary elections, US officials are mounting a campaign to destabilize Russia.

Russian parliamentary elections highlight growing popular discontent

By Fred Williams, 7 December 2011

United Russia, the ruling party of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, suffered major losses in parliamentary elections on December 4.

Thousands protest austerity measures in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 7 December 2011

Thousands marched through the Hungarian capital Budapest on Saturday to protest against the austerity policies of the government led by Victor Orban.

US-Russian tensions mount

By Clara Weiss, 6 December 2011

Relations between Moscow and Washington have grown increasingly tense, with the latest dispute between the countries centering on Russian opposition to a US missile defense system in Europe.

Hungarian debt downgraded to junk status

By Markus Salzmann, 3 December 2011

The downgrading of Hungary’s creditworthiness to junk status by Moody’s rating agency means the debt crisis has now fully hit eastern Europe.

Russia, Germany launch Nord Stream pipeline

By Clara Weiss, 26 November 2011

On November 8, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel launched the first line of the new Nord Stream pipeline.

Pro-European Union, right-wing candidate wins Bulgarian presidency

By Anna Rombach, 17 November 2011

Rosen Plevneliev, the candidate of the right-wing GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) party, won the Bulgarian presidency October 30.

900 miners sacked in Romania

By Diana Toma, 15 November 2011

The sacking of 900 miners in Romania is the beginning of a new offensive by the right-wing government led Premier Emil Boc.

Russian nationalists march in Moscow

By Clara Weiss, 11 November 2011

The recent commemoration of National Unity Day in Russia saw an outpouring of ultra-nationalism in Moscow, far-right sentiments that are a direct product of the promotion of Great Russian chauvinism by the Kremlin.

Poverty and hunger on the rise in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 27 October 2011

A social catastrophe is looming in Hungary due to the latest austerity program adopted by the right-wing government of Viktor Orban and dictated by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Russia signs trade deal with former Soviet republics amid growing regional tensions

By Niall Green, 24 October 2011

Russia has struck a free-trade deal with several of its ex-Soviet neighbors. The move is especially significant as it brings Ukraine and Russia closer together at a time when the EU is attempting to strike its own trade deal with Kiev.

Slovak government collapses

By Markus Salzmann, 20 October 2011

Last week Slovakia was the last of the 17 euro-zone countries to vote on the expansion of the European rescue fund (EFSF).

Romania: Nokia trade unions in the pocket of management

By Diana Toma, 20 October 2011

While the rights of workers are ignored, the contract agreed by Romanian trade unions provides considerable favors for the union bureaucracy.

WikiLeaks documents expose disaster created by the US and EU in Bosnia

By Ante Dotto, 17 October 2011

The political deadlock in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) represents the systemic failure of the entire official political framework in the region and a foreign policy disaster for the state's international backers, the US and EU.

Russian Prime Minister Putin visits Beijing

By Alex Lantier, 13 October 2011

Putin wrapped up a two-day visit to Beijing Wednesday that focused on signing billions in contracts with Chinese firms.

Poland: Tusk government begins second term

By Christoph Dreier, 12 October 2011

The ability of the ruling Civic Platform to remain in office—the first Polish government to be re-elected since 1989—has less to do with its own strength, but rather in the complete lack of alternatives and the bankruptcy of the political establishment.

Putin to run for Russian presidency

By Clara Weiss and Andrea Peters, 10 October 2011

The Kremlin’s recent decision to put forward Vladimir Putin as the leading candidate for the Russian presidency in 2012 is a response to a deepening economic and political crisis.

Poland: Outcome uncertain in Sunday’s election

By Christoph Dreier, 8 October 2011

After weeks in which the ruling Civic Platform (PO) led in opinion polls, the outcome of Poland’s parliamentary election on Sunday now seems uncertain.

Romania: Closure of Nokia plant leaves 2,200 jobless

By Diana Toma and Markus Salzmann, 7 October 2011

Nokia, which closed down a plant in Bochum, Germany, in 2008 and switched production to a Romanian location, has just announced it is closing the Romanian factory.

Violence against Roma in Bulgaria

By Anna Rombach, 7 October 2011

Bulgaria has recently witnessed violence against Roma for the first time. There were violent demonstrations against the Roma minority in the capital Sofia and 14 other cities, including Plovdiv, Varna and Pleven.

Russia and China veto UN resolution on Syria

By Peter Symonds, 6 October 2011

As in the case of Libya, the concern of the US and European powers in Syria is not democratic rights, but the advancement of their interests in the Middle East.

Right-wing demonstrations against Roma in the Czech Republic

By Markus Salzmann, 16 September 2011

The Czech Civic Democratic Party is trying to suppress opposition to its austerity program by relying on far-right forces.

The interests behind Romania’s Roşia Montana project

By Diana Toma and Marc Wells, 16 September 2011

The Roşia Montana gold mining project marks a new stage in the process of privatization of a substantial economic sector, which subordinates workers and the environment to harsher conditions of exploitation.

Persecution of Roma in the Czech Republic

By Markus Salzmann, 9 September 2011

In recent weeks, the Czech Republic has witnessed violent attacks on the Roma minority, sparked by clashes between Roma and young Czechs.

Russia officially recognises the National Transitional Council in Libya

By Clara Weiss, 8 September 2011

Following the Russian abstention in the UN resolution sanctioning NATO’s invasion of Libya, Moscow’s recent recognition of the Libyan TNC exposes mounting tensions within the Russian ruling elite.

Hungary: Fidesz government presents draft of new labour law

By Markus Salzmann, 29 August 2011

Scrabbling to defend their privileges, Hungary’s trade union leaders warn of a social explosion following legislation to outlaw strikes.

Authoritarian regime takes shape in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 11 August 2011

Hungary’s right-wing government led by Victor Orban has used its 15 months in office to systematically establish an authoritarian regime.

Fascist war crime trial in Hungary ends in acquittal

By Markus Salzmann, 28 July 2011

A Budapest district court has acquitted the 97-year-old Nazi war criminal, Sandor Kepiro.

Hungarian government agrees to forced labor for the unemployed

By Markus Salzmann, 21 July 2011

The Hungarian Parliament passed a law on 11 July introducing forced labor for the unemployed.

The anti-worker program of the new “Right Cause” party in Russia

By Clara Weiss, 1 July 2011

At its June 25 extraordinary party conference, the Russian right-wing liberal party “Right Cause” elected its new leader, the Russian businessman and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.

Twenty years after the dissolution of Yugoslavia: Slovenia’s government in crisis

By Markus Salzmann, 27 June 2011

Slovenia’s conservative opposition parties are poised to oust the current government, in order to subject the country to the social devastation demanded by the EU and IMF.

SCO summit points to deepening global tensions

By John Chan, 22 June 2011

Ten years after its formation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is emerging as a potential rival bloc to the US and its European allies.

The plight of the Roma in Romania

By Diana Toma, 15 June 2011

Especially hard hit in Romania is the Roma minority, which already faces discriminatory treatment and suffers from extreme poverty.

Hungarian trade unions line up behind Orban government

By Markus Salzmann, 21 May 2011

The Hungarian government, led by the ultra-nationalist Fidesz Party, is now looking to the trade unions to impose far-reaching social attacks.

Border scandal exposes Romanian union corruption

By Diana Toma, 20 May 2011

A series of scandals in Romania have revealed the union leaders’ immense wealth and their connections to the ruling class.

Pakistan’s President Zardari visits Moscow

By Niall Green, 19 May 2011

Amid growing tensions between Islamabad and Washington, Pakistan and Russia are developing close security and economic ties.

Tensions in Kremlin continue to mount

By Vladimir Volkov and Alex Lantier, 16 May 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s May 6 call for a Russian National Popular Front reflects rising tensions in his relations with President Dmitri Medvedev.

EU stability plan to bring poverty, inflation to Bulgaria

By Anna Rombach, 11 May 2011

The European Union is currently using Bulgaria, which has the lowest wages in all of Europe, to set standards that could become a model for all of Europe.

Wave of violence against Roma in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 3 May 2011

Weeks of violence by neo-fascist groups against the Roma minority in the northern Hungarian town of Gyöngyöspata is a direct result of the right-wing nationalist policies of the ruling Fidesz party.

Hungarian parliament passes authoritarian constitution

By Markus Salzmann, 26 April 2011

Hungary’s right-wing government led by Viktor Orban has used its two-thirds majority to adopt a new constitution that will abandon democratic principles and establish the basis for authoritarian rule.

BRICS summit denounces “use of force” against Libya

By John Chan, 18 April 2011

Global economic shifts are behind the push by the BRICS grouping for the Western powers to make room for the “emerging economies”.

Push for comprehensive military reform continues in Russia

By Clara Weiss, 13 April 2011

Forces allied to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev are continuing to push for significant changes to the Russian military.

China and Russia criticise Libyan bombing campaign

By John Chan, 25 March 2011

Moscow and Beijing are concerned that Washington is once again using its military might to advance its strategic ambitions at their expense.

The consequences of privatization for the Romanian working class

By Diana Toma, 11 March 2011

During the past 20 years almost all major industries in Romania, including factories, research centers and coalmines, have been closed down.

Russia and the uprisings in the Middle East

By Andrea Peters, 2 March 2011

The ongoing wave of popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa has provoked alarm within the Kremlin, which fears the destabilizing impact of these events on Russia’s national interests in the region, the world economy and mass consciousness throughout the former Soviet sphere.

EU accepts attack on press freedom in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 2 March 2011

The EU has virtually accepted the abolition of press freedoms in Hungary, passed by the right-wing government of Victor Orban.

Bulgarian railway workers plan strike

By Anna Rombach and Markus Salzmann, 26 February 2011

The planned rail protest is directed against the drastic cuts being imposed by the Bulgarian government under pressure from the World Bank.

Japan and Russia in diplomatic row over disputed Kuril Islands

By John Chan, 17 February 2011

Talks between the Japanese and Russian foreign ministers broke down last week—another indication of sharp tensions in North East Asia.

Russia to step up repression after Moscow bombing

By Andrea Peters, 27 January 2011

The Russian government has promised to increase state repression in the aftermath of Monday’s deadly terror attack at Moscow’s international airport.

Moscow airport bombing kills 35

By Niall Green, 25 January 2011

An apparent suicide bombing in Moscow’s main international airport Monday killed at least 35 people and injured at least another 130.

Afghan president continues building ties with Moscow

By Niall Green, 24 January 2011

President Karzai paid his second visit in six months to Moscow, hoping to drum up support for his regime.

Utility prices surge across Russia

By Andrea Peters, 22 January 2011

Rising utility prices across Russia are pushing down real wages.

The decay of Russia’s infrastructure

By Vladimir Volkov, 20 January 2011

Russia’s new year began with a series of disasters pointing to the advanced state of decay of the country’s infrastructure.

Belarus cracks down on opposition in wake of presidential vote

By Niall Green, 15 January 2011

The regime of President Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus has brutally cracked down on opposition political parties and mass protests following the December 19 presidential elections.

The decay of Russia’s infrastructure

By Vladimir Volkov, 11 January 2011

Russia’s new year began with a series of disasters pointing to the advanced state of decay of the country’s infrastructure.

Man attempts suicide in Romanian parliament

By Diana Toma, 10 January 2011

On December 23, a session of the Romanian parliament was forced to recess when a 40-year-old man tried to commit suicide by jumping from the balcony.

The European Union and freedom of the press

By Peter Schwarz, 6 January 2011

As Hungary assumes the EU presidency, a new media law gives the government in Budapest massive powers to curb the press.

Drastic austerity measures hit Bulgaria

By Anna Rombach, 6 January 2011

The international financial and economic crisis has hit the working population particularly hard in Europe’s “poorhouse”―Bulgaria.

Severe weather and lack of preparation cause chaos in Moscow airports

By David Firestone, 3 January 2011

Thousands of passengers were left stranded in the airports, some spending several days waiting for their flights, leading to protests.

Oil tycoon Khodorkovsky convicted in Moscow trial

By Patrick Martin, 29 December 2010

The politically manipulated proceedings targeted Khodorkovsky, a Russian oil tycoon who has attracted the support of all the major imperialist powers, particularly the United States.

The attack on press freedom in Hungary

By Peter Schwarz, 29 December 2010

A new media law gives the Hungarian government sweeping powers to regulate the press.

The demolition of press freedom in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann and Peter Schwarz, 24 December 2010

Without any significant protest from the European Union or the European press, Hungary’s Fidesz party has won overwhelming parliamentary support to pass a new media law that will effectively deprive the country of freedom of the press.

US Senate ratifies nuclear arms treaty with Russia

By Tom Eley, 23 December 2010

The US Senate on Wednesday approved the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, which was heavily backed by the US military and foreign policy establishment.

Romania 2010: A year filled with social unrest and unprecedented cuts

By Diana Toma, 23 December 2010

The year 2010 was marked by social unrest, protests and demonstrations against the Romanian government of Emil Boc and its “laws of misery”.

Ethnic violence erupts in Russia

By Andrea Peters, 15 December 2010

Tensions remain high in Russia after violent anti-immigrant demonstrations by nationalists in several cities this past weekend.

Political crisis in Moldova intensifies after election

By Diana Toma and Markus Salzmann, 14 December 2010

Moldova’s third election in two years failed to deliver any party the number of seats required to elect the president.

Czech public sector workers strike against austerity measures

By Markus Salzmann, 10 December 2010

More than 150,000 public sector workers took strike action in the Czech Republic on Wednesday to protest against the austerity measures of the government.

WikiLeaks cable exposes NATO war plan against Russia

By Bill Van Auken, 9 December 2010

US State Department cables released by WikiLeaks have unveiled secret NATO plans for a US-led war against Russia over the Baltic states.

Russian government warns of new arms race

By Andrea Peters, 2 December 2010

President Medvedev used his annual address to a issue sharp warning to the US, while sidestepping any discussion of economic and political problems facing Russia.

Impact of Hungary’s toxic mud disaster

By Markus Salzmann, 1 December 2010

Nearly two months after Hungary’s worst environmental disaster, no one in the world of politics or business is prepared to take responsibility for the devastating consequences.

World Bank report points to deepening social crisis in Russia

By Clara Weiss, 26 November 2010

The World Bank’s recent report on Russia points to the social crisis affecting the population as the result of the global economic downturn.

US takes extraordinary steps to extradite alleged Russian arms dealer

By Niall Green, 19 November 2010

The United States has exerted enormous political pressure on Thai authorities to extradite Viktor Bout, a Russian accused of being a major international arms dealer. Both Moscow and Washington greatly value Bout as a man who knows too much to be in the hands of their rivals.

Disputed Pacific islands spark tensions between Russia and Japan

By Andrea Peters, 5 November 2010

Diplomatic tensions have erupted between Russia and Japan, following a high-profile visit by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to the South Kuril Islands.

Moldova before the elections

By Diana Toma and Mark Salzman, 29 October 2010

The Moldovan elections to be held on November 28 are the third elections the country has held in less than two years.

Hungary’s toxic sludge disaster and the case for socialism

By Paul Mitchell, 16 October 2010

The six-foot-high tidal wave of caustic sludge that buried several Hungarian villages last week and swept away houses, cars and bridges claimed nine lives.

Strikes erupt over public worker pay cut in Romania

15 October 2010

A spontaneous strike by employees of the finance ministry has turned into a major crisis for the government.

Far-right party wins Hungarian municipal elections

By Markus Salzmann, 11 October 2010

Twenty years after the collapse of the Stalinist regime in Hungary, an extreme right-wing party is taking control of the state.

Dismissal of Moscow mayor reveals tensions in Russian ruling elite

By Vladimir Volkov and Andrea Peters, 9 October 2010

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev dismissed Moscow’s mayor Yuri Luzhkov September 28. One of the most powerful politicians in the country, Luzhkov had occupied his post for 18 years, virtually the entire post-Soviet period.

Toxic sludge catastrophe in Hungary

By Stefan Steinberg, 8 October 2010

The devastation following the release of a tidal wave of toxic sludge in Hungary is part of the high price the population is paying for the implementation of the free market economy.

China and Russia strengthen strategic ties

By John Chan, 6 October 2010

Amid rising tensions between China and the US and its ally Japan, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed an agreement with Chinese President Hu Jintao for closer relations.

Thousands demonstrate in Bucharest against social cuts

By Diana Toma and Markus Salzmann, 25 September 2010

Over 10,000 demonstrators took to the streets of the capital Bucharest on Wednesday to protest against the Romanian government’s austerity policies.

Russian president defends authoritarian rule in the name of “democracy”

By Vladimir Volkov and Andrea Peters, 23 September 2010

At a recent international forum, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev outlined his views on the meaning of democracy.

Hungary—Fidesz now in power for over 100 days

By Markus Salzmann, 16 September 2010

In its first 100 days in office, the Hungarian government headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has introduced a series of laws and initiatives aimed at building up authoritarian structures in political and social life.

Roma family gunned down in Slovakia

By Stefan Steinberg, 3 September 2010

The recent shooting of a Roma family in Slovakia is a product of the racial prejudice sanctioned by the Slovak state.

Russia to partially privatize major industries

By Niall Green, 30 August 2010

The Russian government announced last month that it would sell minority stakes in 11 state-owned companies.

The political and social roots of Russia’s wildfire disaster

By Andrea Peters, 21 August 2010

The wildfire disaster in Russia, which is now abating, has exposed the decay of social infrastructure resulting from the restoration of capitalism and the vast chasm that separates ordinary working people from the ruling elite.

Austerity measures intensify social crisis in Romania

By Diana Toma, 17 August 2010

The latest austerity measures introduced by the Romanian government will invariably intensify the social crisis in a country already ranked as one of the poorest in Europe.

IMF, European Union increase pressure on Romania

By Andrei Tudora, 11 August 2010

International financial circles are demanding that the Romanian government of Emil Boc prosecute deeper attacks on the working class, in the form of austerity measures.

Moscow suffocates as wildfires continue burning

By Andrea Peters, 10 August 2010

Moscow health department reports a near doubling of the city mortality rate, as heavy smoke caused by burning wildfires continues to blanket the area. The public health crisis is a product of the dismantling of Russia’s public infrastructure and the semi-privatization of the country’s forestlands.

Dramatic increase in HIV infections in Eastern Europe

By Markus Salzmann, 10 August 2010

The spread of HIV/Aids is directly related to the destruction of the health system and social infrastructure carried out at the beginning of the 1990s in the name of the free market.