Eastern Europe

Slovenian government adopts another austerity programme

By Markus Salzmann, 21 May 2013

Seven weeks after taking power, Slovenia’s centre-left governing coalition adopted a new austerity programme and presented it to the EU commission.

The political issues confronting the Bulgarian protests

By Christoph Dreier, 8 March 2013

Protesters in Bulgaria oppose the austerity measures dictated by the EU and the IMF and the bitter poverty they have produced, but the organisers are mainly petty-bourgeois forces seeking their own share of the spoils.

Social and political tensions mount in Russia

By Clara Weiss, 5 March 2013

Russian president Putin is using an anti-corruption campaign to reorganise the Russian ruling elite and channel the anger of the middle class.

Kremlin responds to slowdown in economic growth with deeper social cuts

By Clara Weiss, 7 February 2013

The budget for 2013-2015 provides for massive cuts in the spheres of culture, education and health, while the share going to military spending will rise to 6.1 percent of GDP.

Slovenia: Nationwide public sector strike intensifies government crisis

By Markus Salzmann, 29 January 2013

A nationwide public sector strike largely paralyzed Slovenia on Wednesday last week.

Russian government intensifies witch-hunt of migrant workers

By Clara Weiss, 18 January 2013

Against a background of growing social tensions, the Russian government is stepping up its anti-immigrant measures in close collaboration with fascist groups.

Slovenian unions drop opposition to government austerity measures

By Markus Salzmann, 8 January 2013

Following a wave of protests that began at the end of November, the Slovenian trade unions are openly moving to support the right-wing program of the Janez Janša coalition government.

Russia starts construction of the South Stream pipeline

By Clara Weiss, 14 December 2012

The South Stream pipeline is of considerable political importance: it will undermine the monopoly position of Ukraine as a transit country for gas supplies and ensure that Europe continues to receive a large proportion of its gas from Russia.

Social Democratic-led alliance wins Romanian election

By Andrei Tudora and Tina Zamfir, 13 December 2012

With 58.6 percent of the votes in the Chamber of Deputies and 60.1 percent in the Senate, Romania’s Social Liberal Union will enjoy a comfortable majority to form the new government.

Croatian war criminals released after appeal by Western military chiefs

By Paul Mitchell, 11 December 2012

The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia Appeals Court overturned the convictions of Croatian general Ante Gotovina and Assistant Interior Minister Mladen Markac.

IMF steps up pressure on Romanian government prior to election

By Diana Toma and Markus Salzmann, 23 November 2012

In their latest report the International Monetary Fund and European Union call upon the Romanian government to continue its brutal “structural reforms.”

Hungarian premier steps up nationalist rhetoric

By Markus Salzmann, 27 October 2012

In early October the Hungarian premier Victor Orban delivered a bloodcurdling tirade placing himself firmly in the camp of the extreme right.

Romania: 3,500 jobs threatened at Oltchim chemical plant

By our correspondents, 25 October 2012

The situation of 3,500 workers at Romania’s Oltchim chemical works remains uncertain following the failure of the Social Democratic government led by Victor Ponta to reopen the plant and provide funds for unpaid salaries.

Russian President Putin advocates ban on headscarves in schools

By Clara Weiss, 24 October 2012

Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly spoken out in favor of a ban on headscarves in Russian schools.

Russian parliament expels Putin adversary

By Clara Weiss, 24 September 2012

The powerful pro-Putin faction in the Russian State Duma has banished a leading critic of the regime.

Hungarian government plans further austerity measures

By Markus Salzmann, 21 September 2012

The Hungarian government led by Prime Minister Victor Orban (Fidesz) is planning further austerity measures to meet demands made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Romanian workers protest privatization, demand resignation of union leaders

By Andrei Tudora and Tina Zamfir, 20 September 2012

Hundreds of workers have protested in Romania this month against the government’s plans to privatize state-owned companies as part of a deal agreed with the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission.

EU launches anti-monopoly suit against Russia's Gazprom

By Clara Weiss, 19 September 2012

Commercial conflicts between European Union energy firms and the Russian gas supplier Gazprom will inevitably raise political tensions.

Discrimination of Roma in Europe intensifies

By Diana Toma, 18 September 2012

In Romania itself and throughout Europe, Roma confront increasing discrimination.

Right-wing pogroms against Roma in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 5 September 2012

The right-wing government led by Prime Minister Victor Orban and the neo-fascist Jobbik party are deliberately provoking violent attacks against the Roma minority in Hungary.

German chancellor visits Moldova

By Markus Salzmann, 28 August 2012

German chancellor Angela Merkel visited Moldova and raised the issue of the impoverished country’s possible accession to the European Union.

Why Western politicians support Pussy Riot

By Clara Weiss, 25 August 2012

Western leaders are using the Pussy Riot affair to pressure the Russian government.

Russian governor deploys Cossack militia against immigrants

By Clara Weiss, 24 August 2012

The governor of the southern Russian Krasnodar region announced he intends to deploy a Cossack militia against illegal immigrants from the Caucasus.

Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot jailed for singing anti-Putin song

By Vladimir Volkov, 18 August 2012

Three members of the Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in jail for singing songs critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Record temperatures and forest fires in Russia

By Clara Weiss, 15 August 2012

Record temperatures and fires in Russia have led to the country’s worst harvest since 2010, triggering a food crisis.

Belarus workers hit by hyperinflation and social cuts

By Clara Weiss, 9 August 2012

Like all of the ex-Stalinist Eastern European countries, Belarus has been devastated by the international economic crisis and now stands on the verge of a social explosion.

Referendum fails to oust Romanian president

By Andrei Tudora and Tina Zamfir, 7 August 2012

The number of voters in the referendum fell short of the 50 percent+1 required for the referendum to be considered valid.

Mass opposition to austerity deepens power struggle in Romanian ruling elite

By Andrei Tudora and Tina Zamfir, 25 July 2012

The Romanian ruling class faces a fierce political crisis, after mass protests at the start of the year brought down the conservative government of Emil Boc.

Nazi war criminal Laszlo Csatary arrested in Budapest

By Markus Salzmann, 23 July 2012

The 97-year-old is accused of being involved in the murder of 16,000 Hungarian Jews during the Second World War.

Flooding in Krymsk: Kremlin covers up causes and consequences

By Clara Weiss, 20 July 2012

The reaction of the population to the flood disaster in Krymsk shows the extent of the social divide in Russia and the level of hatred for the government and the oligarchy.

Romanian elite erupts in sordid infighting

By Andrei Tudora and Tina Zamfir, 14 July 2012

The Romanian ruling elite is struggling to form a stable government that can impose the austerity measures dictated by the IMF and the European Union.

Kremlin prepares for a second economic crisis

By Clara Weiss, 12 July 2012

As a result of the stagnation in the eurozone the economic crisis in Russia has worsened considerably.

Over 170 die in floods in southern Russia

By Clara Weiss, 10 July 2012

At least 170 people have died following flooding in the southern Russian region of Krasnodarsk at the weekend.

The definitive film record of the 1917 Russian Revolution

Mehring Books announces release of Tsar to Lenin in DVD format

5 July 2012

Tsar to Lenin, first released in 1937, ranks among the twentieth century’s greatest film documentaries. It presents an extraordinary cinematic account of the Russian Revolution—from the mass uprising which overthrew the centuries-old Tsarist regime in February 1917, to the Bolshevik-led insurrection eight months later that established the first socialist workers’ state, to the final victory in 1921 of the new Soviet regime over counter-revolutionary forces after a three-year-long civil war.

Former Romanian PM suffers gunshot wound hours after prison sentencing

By Diana Toma and Markus Salzmann, 29 June 2012

The jail sentence of former premier Adrian Nastase on charges of corruption must be considered in relation to the ongoing political crisis in Romania.

Protests in Russia: Liberals, pseudo-left march alongside far right

By Clara Weiss, 16 June 2012

Tens of thousands joined an anti-Kremlin demonstration in Moscow on Tuesday.

Russia prepares army for Syrian deployment

By Clara Weiss, 12 June 2012

President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian general staff to work out a plan for military operations outside Russia, including in Syria.

Increasing number of strikes in Russia

By Clara Weiss, 12 June 2012

Trade unions are attempting to stifle the wave of strikes that have broken out recently in Russia.

Russian president in talks with Berlin and Paris on Syria

By Clara Weiss, 7 June 2012

Russian president Vladimir Putin met with the German chancellor and the newly elected French president for talks centered on Syria.

Catastrophic conditions in the Bulgarian health system

By Anna Rombach, 5 June 2012

The health system in Bulgaria is undergoing a devastating decline as a result of the austerity measures dictated by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Russian government cracks down on opposition

By Andrea Peters and Clara Weiss, 26 May 2012

President Vladimir Putin has responded with force to anti-Kremlin protests in recent weeks, as the new government prepares to implement a right-wing agenda.

Slovak premier prepares austerity agenda

By Markus Salzmann, 24 May 2012

Social Democratic Prime Minister Robert Fico has made a sharp reduction in Slovakia’s budget deficit the central goal of his new government.

The appalling situation of Romania’s institutionalized children: From Ceausescu to today

By Diana Toma, 23 May 2012

Cases in Romania of the inhumane treatment of children left abandoned in hospitals or simply thrown in the trash by their own parents are becoming increasingly frequent.

G8 and NATO summits take place without Putin

By Clara Weiss, 19 May 2012

The last minute decision of Russian president Vladimir Putin to not attend this week’s G8 summit is an unmistakable sign of deteriorating relations between Moscow and NATO.

Russian plane crashes in Indonesia

By Clara Weiss, 11 May 2012

On Wednesday, a Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 on a demonstration flight crashed into the rock face of a volcano near the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Czech government survives no-confidence vote

By Markus Salzmann, 9 May 2012

Immediately after the vote of confidence, the government said it would uphold the aim of reducing the budget deficit below three percent, and would adopt further cost-cutting measures.

Vladimir Putin inaugurated as Russian president

By Clara Weiss, 8 May 2012

Putin’s third term as president will be marked by a deepening economic crisis and geopolitical tensions that threaten to escalate into a war between the major powers.

Russian general threatens pre-emptive attack on US missile defence system in Europe

By Clara Weiss, 7 May 2012

The recent threats by the Russian army chief to launch pre-emptive military strikes in eastern Europe underline the growing geopolitical tensions between the major powers.

Ukraine bombings point to growing political tensions

By Niall Green, 30 April 2012

Explosions in Ukraine point to mounting tensions within the country’s ruling elite.

Russia prepares for a US-Israeli military strike against Iran

By Clara Weiss, 28 April 2012

Russia has undertaken intensive preparations during the past few months for a possible military strike by Israel and the United States on Iran.

China and Russia hold joint naval exercises in North East Asia

By John Chan, 27 April 2012

Both China and Russia are deeply concerned at the aggressive US military build up in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hungarian parliament to select new president

By Markus Salzmann, 25 April 2012

The probable election of Janos Ader in May as Hungarian president will advance the policies of the country’s right-wing government.

Strikes in the Russian auto industry

By Clara Weiss, 21 April 2012

Two strikes have taken place in the Russian car industry in recent weeks, showing the extremely tense social relations in the country.

Kremlin prepares austerity program

By Clara Weiss, 16 April 2012

After the conclusion of the election cycle and amid a deepening economic crisis, the Russian government is preparing major cuts in social spending

Seventeen migrant workers die in Moscow fire

By Clara Weiss, 7 April 2012

At least 17 migrant workers, apparently undocumented and from Central Asian republics, died in a horrific fire in the southwest of Moscow early Tuesday morning.

Social and political crisis intensifies in eastern Europe

By Markus Salzmann, 7 April 2012

Recent reports make clear that the debt crisis is far from over and is generating a huge social and political crisis in many eastern European countries.

Ruling parties routed in Slovakian elections

By Markus Salzmann, 15 March 2012

The social democratic Smer-SD has emerged as the clear winner in the Slovak parliamentary elections held last Saturday.

Slovakia: Mass poverty, corruption on the eve of parliamentary elections

By Markus Salzmann, 9 March 2012

The current election campaign is dominated by a huge corruption scandal in which virtually all of the government and opposition parties are involved.

Putin wins Russian presidential election

By Andrea Peters, 5 March 2012

Vladimir Putin claimed a victory in Sunday’s presidential elections based, in a vote denounced by the opposition as fraudulent.

EU and IMF increase pressure on Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 2 March 2012

In Hungary Orban plays the nationalist card but the truth is that his government is completely dependent on the EU and IMF, and is intent on meeting their demands.

Polish government plans new attacks on the working class

By Christoph Dreier, 1 March 2012

Despite modest economic growth, the Polish government led by Donald Tusk is preparing renewed attacks on workers.

Economic crisis in Russia deepens

By Clara Weiss, 22 February 2012

In Russia in 2012, analysts expect economic decline and a further intensification of the capital exodus.

Death toll rises to 600 in European cold snap

By Markus Salzmann, 14 February 2012

The spate of cold weather that has lasted for weeks in many parts of Europe has now claimed at least 600 lives.

Appointment of new US ambassador heightens tensions with Russia

By Clara Weiss, 10 February 2012

The appointment of Michael McFaul as new US ambassador to Moscow has fueled fresh tensions between Washington and Moscow.

Mass protests bring down Romanian government

By Peter Schwarz, 7 February 2012

The Romanian government resigned on Monday following weeks of protests against its austerity measures.

Social protests spread in Eastern Europe

By Peter Schwarz, 27 January 2012

The wave of social uprisings that rocked the Middle East, the US, Greece, Spain and other countries last year has now reached Eastern Europe.

Russian Prime Minister Putin appeals to middle-class protesters

By Clara Weiss, 24 January 2012

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin presented his election program in an article published January 16 in the Russian daily Izvestia.

Protests in Romania enter their second week

By a correspondent in Bucharest, 23 January 2012

As protests in Romania enter their second week, workers are facing increased pressure and threats from the ruling elite.

Demonstrations spread in Romania against austerity policies

By Diana Toma and Stefan Steinberg, 18 January 2012

Last weekend Romania witnessed some of the biggest and most violent confrontations between demonstrators and the state since the overthrow of the country’s Stalinist regime over two decades ago.

Protests against new Hungarian constitution

By Markus Salzmann, 7 January 2012

The new constitution undermines basic democratic rights, curtailing the rights of opposition and the judiciary, and lays the seeds of armed conflict with neighbouring countries.

Romanian unemployment climbs as companies move abroad

By Diana Toma, 6 January 2012

Unemployment is rising in Romania following the decision by a number of major companies to shift their operations abroad.

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.