Eastern Europe

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.

Russia bans grain exports, world wheat prices soar

By Andrea Peters, 7 August 2010

The Russian government has banned all grain exports, in response to widespread crop failures caused by a severe drought. The agricultural crisis has sent wheat prices soaring in Russia and internationally.

Forest fires kill 50 in central Russia

By David Firestone, 6 August 2010

Forest and peat fires, resulting from sustained record high temperatures and unusually dry weather, have been raging across central Russia for over a week.

Russia to expand military aid to US occupation of Afghanistan

By Niall Green, 30 July 2010

The Kremlin has announced plans to begin shipping arms to support the US occupation of Afghanistan along the Northern Distribution Network that passes through Russia.

UN court upholds Kosovo’s declaration of independence

By Julie Hyland and Paul Mitchell, 30 July 2010

The United Nations International Court of Justice ruled last week that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008 was legal.

IMF and EU step up the pressure on Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 28 July 2010

The International Monetary Fund and the European Union have tightened the screws on Hungary following a government decision to introduce a levy on banks and insurance companies, and delay the introduction of some of its planned austerity measures.

Russian government to slash budget deficit

By Andrea Peters, 21 July 2010

In recent weeks the Russian government has announced its intention to slash the country’s federal deficit by half by 2013, a move that will require drastic reductions in government spending.

Bulgaria: European business calls for harsher measures

By Markus Salzmann, 20 July 2010

The European elite and the IMF are demanding that the Bulgarian government implement the brutal type of cuts already introduced in Romania, Hungary, Latvia and other Eastern European states.

Czech government announces drastic economic measures

By Markus Salzmann, 19 July 2010

The new so-called “Coalition of Budget Responsibility” plans to implement the severest social cuts in the history of the Czech Republic.

Polish presidential election: Komorowski’s victory augurs massive social attacks in Poland

By Marius Heuser, 6 July 2010

Bronislaw Komorowski, the candidate of the governing conservative Civic Platform (PO) party was able to win 52.6 percent of the vote in the second round of the Polish presidential election held on Sunday.

Slovakia: new right-wing government announces austerity program

By Markus Salzmann, 3 July 2010

The new government of Slovakia has announced a savage austerity program that amounts to a declaration of war on the population.

Kyrgyz ethnic pogroms leave 2,000 dead, 400,000 homeless

By Alex Lantier, 22 June 2010

Bloodshed continued in Kyrgyzstan after ethnic pogroms left thousands dead and 8 percent of the country’s population homeless, and amid continuing political conflict after the April ouster of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Hungary: New government presents radical austerity package

By Markus Salzmann, 19 June 2010

Only one week after taking office, the new Hungarian government led by Victor Orban has put forward an unprecedented package of austerity measures.

Romania’s health service on brink of collapse

By Diana Toma, 18 June 2010

Cuts prepared by Prime Minister Emil Boc and the IMF will have a disastrous impact on Romania’s already devastated health care system.

Ukraine abandons NATO candidacy

By Niall Green, 12 June 2010

The new administration in Kiev seeks to improve ties with Moscow and the EU, while preparing with austerity measures against the working class.

Public sector strike against austerity in Romania

By our correspondents, 9 June 2010

A strike of public sector workers in Romania took place on 31 May to protest the government’s IMF-imposed austerity program.

Russian-EU summit produces few agreements

By Niall Green, 5 June 2010

The Russian-EU summit held last weekend produced no significant agreements as both sides attempted to shore up their relative positions in the face of Europe’s deepening financial crisis.

Major Czech parties suffer massive election losses

By Markus Salzmann, 3 June 2010

The conservative Citizens Party (ODS) and the Social Democratic Party (CSSD) have suffered massive losses in recent parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic.

New Hungarian citizenship law creates tensions with Slovakia

By Markus Salzmann, 2 June 2010

The Hungarian parliament passed a law last month conferring Hungarian citizenship on ethnic Hungarians who live in neighbouring countries.

40,000 rally against government austerity programme

Largest protest in Romania in 20 years

By our correspondent, 1 June 2010

On May 19, some 40,000 workers took to the street in Victory Square, Bucharest, in the largest demonstration in Romania since the downfall of the Stalinist regime in 1989.

Greek debt crisis exacerbates problems in Eastern Europe and Balkans

By Markus Salzmann, 26 May 2010

The debt crisis in Greece is placing Eastern European states under increasing pressure.

Thousands of Slovenian students protest attacks on their conditions

By Alexander Fangmann, 22 May 2010

Thousands of Slovenian students took to the streets of Ljubljana Wednesday to protest the introduction of a bill in parliament that both limits their ability to work during their studies and places a maximum wage on their earnings.

IMF dictates shock program to Romania

By Andrei Tudora, 18 May 2010

The scale of the new IMF dictated attacks to be imposed on Romania is unprecedented even by the country’s past standards.

Tensions build in wake of Russian mine disaster

By Fred Williams, 18 May 2010

In the nine days since two explosions killed scores of miners at the Raspadskaya mine a political crisis has been building in the Kemerovo region in southwestern Siberia.

Ninety feared dead in Russian coal mine explosions

By Fred Williams, 11 May 2010

As many as 90 miners and rescuers have died in a Siberian mine disaster. As in the recent West Virginia disaster, the causes are bound up with increasing productivity and a lowering of safety standards.

Protests grow in Romania

By Diana Toma, 8 May 2010

The austerity program agreed by the Romanian government led by Prime Minister Emil Boc is meeting with increasing resistance on the part of the Romanian people.

Twenty years since declaring independence from the USSR

Austerity in Latvia: a warning to the international working class

By Niall Green, 4 May 2010

Twenty years after declaring independence from the USSR, the Latvian government is carrying out savage austerity measures in collusion with international financial elite and their representatives in the IMF, the European Union, and the government in Riga.

Hungary: Right-wing Fidesz wins two-thirds majority

By Markus Salzmann, 27 April 2010

The right-wing conservative Fidesz (Federation of Young Democrats), led by Victor Orban, won a more than two-thirds majority in the second round of the Hungarian parliamentary election.

Following death of Kaczynski, great powers vie for influence in Poland

By Stefan Steinberg, 19 April 2010

There is an element of the grotesque in both the domestic and international efforts to sanctify the figure of deceased Polish President Lech Kaczynski.

Right wing wins large majority in Hungarian election

By Markus Salzmann, 14 April 2010

The right-wing Federation of Young Democrats (Fidesz) won an absolute majority, while the neo-fascist Party for a Better Hungary took third place in parliamentary elections held in Hungary on Sunday.

IMF head dictates terms to Romania

By Andrei Tudora, 13 April 2010

During his recent visit to Romania the director of the IMF stressed the importance of austerity programs and urged the political establishment to take responsibility for such programs, despite public opposition.

Polish president Lech Kaczynski (1949–2010)—from Solidarity advisor to right-wing politician

By Marius Hauser, 13 April 2010

Poland’s late president Lech Kaczynski, who died Saturday in a plane crash, was a loyal representative of the country’s ruling elite and sought to establish authoritarian forms of rule based on reactionary Polish chauvinism.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski dies in plane crash

By Alex Lantier, 12 April 2010

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of other government officials died Saturday in a plane crash near Smolensk in western Russia, where they were traveling to a joint commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the World War II Katyn massacre.

Right wing expected to win election in Hungary this weekend

By Markus Salzmann, 10 April 2010

Opinion polls are predicting a landslide victory for the right wing Federation of Young Democrats (Fidesz) in Sunday's election.

Moscow underground bombings linked to crisis in North Caucasus

By Niall Green, 7 April 2010

The Moscow underground double suicide bombing, March 29, in which 40 people were killed, was a tragic and reactionary product of two decades of brutal warfare and repression by the Kremlin in the North Caucasus republics.

Train bombing in Moscow kills dozens

By Andrea Peters, 30 March 2010

Bombs exploded in two Moscow metro stations on Monday morning, killing at least 38 people and injuring dozens more. The Kremlin is blaming separatists from the north Caucasus and is using the incidents as an opportunity to step up repression.

Russia and India improve relations

By Deepal Jayasekera, 23 March 2010

A short visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to India on March 12 resulted in a slew of bilateral agreements and improved strategic relations.