Eastern Europe

Ukrainian economy suffers sharp fall in 2009

By Niall Green, 29 October 2009

Five years after the “Orange Revolution,” the Ukrainian economy is in the deepest crisis since the post-Soviet economic and social implosion of the 1990s.

Romania: Boc government resigns after no-confidence vote

By Marcus Salzmann, 27 October 2009

Five weeks prior to scheduled presidential elections, the Romanian government led by the Democratic Liberal Party prime minister, Emil Boc, has collapsed following a vote of no-confidence in parliament.

Russia: Workers at AvtoVaz protest against mass layoffs

By Vladimir Volkov, 24 October 2009

Following a wave of labor actions across Russia in the summer and early fall, workers at auto giant AvtoVaz are protesting mass layoffs.

Romania: General strike intensifies political crisis

By Markus Salzman, 12 October 2009

The Romanian government has collapsed as strikes and protests expand.

Bosnia faces collapse

By Paul Mitchell, 8 October 2009

A number of reports have pointed to the increasing threat of Bosnia and Herzegovina collapsing, and even about the possibility of war breaking out.

EU report states Georgia started 2008 war with Russia

Georgian attack unjustifiable under international law

By Niall Green, 2 October 2009

Following a 10-month investigation, a European Union report has found Georgia the aggressor in its 2008 war with Russia, directly refuting claims made not only by the Georgia government, but also by its backers in Washington and the US media.

Mass sackings in Russia

AvtoVAZ to lay off 28,000, Aeroflot 2,200

By Niall Green, 1 October 2009

Russia’s largest car maker will axe more than one quarter of its total workforce, destroying 27,600 jobs. In a double blow, Aeroflot airline announced that it plans to cut 2,215 staff.

Economic crisis, geopolitical rivalries overshadow Ukrainian election campaign

By Niall Green, 23 September 2009

As in the disputed presidential election of November 2004, bitter disputes between rival sections of the ruling elite—and the interests of foreign powers—are dominating the campaign for Ukraine’s presidential election to be held in January.

US suspends eastern European missile shield plan

By Niall Green, 18 September 2009

President Obama announced the suspension of plans to develop two bases in Poland and the Czech Republic as part of a missile defense shield. The move is seen as a political gesture to secure Russian support in Afghanistan and Iran.

Poland: Government escalates privatisation drive

By Peter Kloze, 18 September 2009

Confronted by a ballooning budget deficit, the Polish government has decided to intensify its drive to privatise key sectors of state-owned industry.

Venezuela, Russia in $2.2 billion arms deal

By Bill Van Auken, 15 September 2009

Sunday’s announcement by President Hugo Chávez that Venezuela has reached a $2.2 billion deal to purchase Russian tanks and missiles is symptomatic of the growing international tensions in Latin America.

The failure of Russia’s free-market pension reform

By Vladimir Volkov, 17 August 2009

The dismal failure of Putin’s pension reform is having a profound impact on the social consciousness of the Russian working class.

Lithuania leads Baltic economic slump

By Jordan Shilton, 11 August 2009

Economies in the Baltic region are set to suffer steep declines in output this year. On July 28, Lithuania released economic figures for the second quarter of 2009, revealing a year-on-year contraction of 22.4 percent of GDP.

Republic of Moldova: Pro European Union forces win parliamentary election

By Markus Salzman, 8 August 2009

In the Republic of Moldova, opposition parties oriented to the West won with a slender majority in the country's second parliamentary election within four months.

Great power rivalries and the Nabucco pipeline project

By Niall Green, 1 August 2009

The Nabucco natural gas pipeline will traverse Turkey to supply Western Europe, bypassing Russia.

Violence increases in Russia’s Caucasus republics

By Niall Green, 31 July 2009

A recent spike in violence between Russian security forces and local militants indicates that Moscow has no plans to loosen its military grip in the North Caucasus.

Hungary: Socialist Party establishes right-wing militias

By Markus Salzmann, 14 July 2009

The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) is introducing so-called “village guards” throughout the countryside. These will be armed and will carry out the functions of the police.

Right-wing opposition wins Bulgarian parliamentary election

By Markus Salzmann, 13 July 2009

The right-wing “Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria” won the parliamentary elections held in Bulgaria last Sunday, with the governing coalition led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party suffering a heavy defeat.

Limited concessions and unresolved tensions after US-Russia summit

By Niall Green, 8 July 2009

The US-Russia summit marked an attempt to improve relations between the two countries, but did not resolve any of the fundamental differences between them.

Hungary: What accounts for the success of the extreme right?

By Markus Salzmann, 17 June 2009

The election result for the neo-fascist Jobbik organization in Hungary demonstrates how extreme right organizations have been able to exploit the economic and political crisis in Eastern Europe.

Twenty years after the collapse of Stalinism

European politicians stand reality on its head at Vienna gathering

By Markus Salzmann, 5 June 2009

Just days before the European elections June 7, representatives from politics and business met in Vienna to celebrate 20 years since the fall of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe.

Poland: Last shipyards in Gdansk threatened with closure

By Marius Heuser, 29 May 2009

Ceremonies currently taking place marking the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Stalinist regime in Poland have been overshadowed by shipyard workers protests in Gdansk.

Besancenot in Poland

Polish PPP congress marks lurch to the right by the new European left

By Marius Heuser and Tadeusz Sikorski, 22 May 2009

In a speech given in Katowice, Poland, the head of the NPA (New Anti-capitalist Party) justified his alliance with a group that has no connection with socialism and which includes openly right-wing forces.

Biden in the Balkans: US asserts interests in shattered region

By Paul Mitchell, 21 May 2009

The US administration is moving to reassert its authority in the Balkans as a divided European Union fails to push through the measures that were agreed in the Dayton Accord for this key strategic region.

Five years after entry to the EU: Eastern European countries in crisis

By Markus Salzmann, 9 May 2009

Five years after their acceptance into the European Union amid a fanfare of expectations and celebration, 10 central and Eastern European countries are amongst the worst hit victims of the international finance crisis.

Europe faces ever deepening recession

By Chris Marsden, 28 April 2009

The IMF has predicted a deepening recession in Europe, with the euro zone’s economy contracting by 4.2 percent this year, significantly worse than its January forecast of a 2 percent decline.

Hungary: Change of government head augurs massive social attacks

By Markus Salzmann, 24 April 2009

Former “Young Manager of the Year” takes over as new head of Hungarian government in a coup organized by the outgoing prime minister.

Poland: 21 die in homeless shelter fire

By Stefan Steinberg, 17 April 2009

A fire at a homeless shelter in Poland last Sunday night killed 21 people and left many other residents badly injured. The three-storey building in Kamien Pomorski, housing 77 homeless people, including women and children, was turned into a charred skeleton.

Georgia: Mass protests highlight political crisis in the Caucasus

By Markus Salzmann, 15 April 2009

The justified anger of broad layers of the Georgian population against its right-wing, corrupt government only finds a very distorted expression in the current protests being led by an opposition alliance recruited in the main from former Saakashvili supporters.

Moldova: Violent protests in aftermath of elections

By Markus Salzmann, 13 April 2009

Bloody street fighting in the wake of parliamentary elections in Moldova has focused international attention on the former Soviet republic.

Kosovo: Evidence of KLA torture and murders revealed by BBC

By Paul Mitchell, 11 April 2009

More revelations have emerged about tortures and murders carried out by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia in 1999 and the occupation that followed.

Obama pursues US strategic interests in Turkey

By Bill Van Auken, 7 April 2009

In his two-day visit to Turkey, President Obama sought to distance himself from the disastrous foreign policy legacy of George W. Bush while pursuing the same strategic interests of US imperialism that motivated the wars launched by his predecessor.

Turkey: Municipal elections reveal deep socio-political divisions

By Sinan Ikinci, 1 April 2009

Losses for the ruling AKP reflect a growing political polarisation in Turkey. The results represent the first electoral setback for the AKP since 2002.

World economic crisis provokes fall of Hungary’s government

By Markus Salzmann, 31 March 2009

The resignation of the Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany is a result of the rapidly deteriorating economic situation that has led to political turbulence throughout Eastern Europe.

After the slaughter: political lessons of the Balkan War

By David North, 30 March 2009

The capitulation of Serbia to the US-NATO onslaught brings to an end the last major strategic experience of the 20th century. Its bloody conclusion endows the century with a certain tragic symmetry. It began with the suppression of the anti-colonial uprising of the Chinese Boxers. The century closes with a war that completes the reduction of the Balkans to the status of a neo-colonial protectorate of the major imperialist powers.

Czech government ousted as economy flounders

By Stefan Steinberg, 27 March 2009

The Czech government led by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek narrowly lost a vote of confidence in parliament March 24 and the government coalition will be forced to step down.

Polish economy tumbles as global investors take flight

By Marius Heuser, 4 March 2009

Twenty years after the restoration of capitalism, the Polish economy is facing economic collapse as foreign capital flows out of the country.

Russian government moves to save big business, suppress opposition

By Vladimir Volkov, 4 March 2009

The Kremlin’s initial declarations about Russia’s supposed immunity from the global economic crisis have been replaced with statements of fear about economic destabilization and social unrest.

Brussels: Divisions dominate EU summit in face of deepening crisis

By Stefan Steinberg, 3 March 2009

At the Brussels summit, EU nations were unable to agree on any concrete measures to combat the mounting economic crisis.

Latvian government resigns as crisis deepens in Eastern Europe

By Markus Salzmann, 25 February 2009

Latvia’s centre-right government resigned last Friday, against the background of a worsening economic crisis.

Romanian government agrees to drastic austerity package

By Markus Salzmann, 14 February 2009

Romania’s grand coalition government is determined to shift the burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of the country’s working people through harsh austerity measures.

The Russia-Ukraine gas conflict and the geopolitical struggle for control of energy resources

By Vladimir Volkov, 3 February 2009

The natural gas dispute sharpened Ukraine’s political and economic tensions, provoked a wave of anger in Europe and reinforced European desires to diversify its sources of gas.

The crisis in Eastern Europe and the lessons of 1989

26 January 2009

Twenty years after capitalist restoration, east European economies confront catastrophe.

Economic crisis unleashes violent protests across Eastern Europe

By Markus Salzmann, 26 January 2009

The international economic crisis has hit Eastern Europe with full force and brought long-simmering social and political tensions to the surface.

Ukraine and Russia reach gas agreement

By Niall Green, 26 January 2009

A deal has been reached to end the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine. Millions across Europe have been left with little or no gas for heating in the middle of winter.

Lawyer and human rights activist Stanislav Markelov murdered in Moscow

By Vladimir Volkov, 23 January 2009

On January 19, Stanislav Markelov was shot in the head and killed in central Moscow. The 34-year-old lawyer and human rights activist was president of the Institute for the Supremacy of Law.

Belarus receives $2.5 billion IMF loan

By Niall Green, 22 January 2009

Belarus has secured a $2.5 billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund. The bailout comes amidst a crisis of the economies of the whole eastern European region.

Russian gas supplies through Ukraine resume

Dispute exposes crisis of European energy strategy

By Niall Green, 13 January 2009

Russia, Ukraine and officials from the European Union have agreed to a deal to resume natural gas supplies to Europe after Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom turned off gas supplies for Ukraine on January 1.

With sub-zero temperatures across Europe

Russia-Ukraine gas dispute leaves thousands without heat

By Niall Green, 10 January 2009

With sub-zero temperatures across Europe Russia-Ukraine gas dispute leaves thousands without heat By Niall Green 10 January 2009  

With sub-zero temperatures across Europe

Russia-Ukraine gas dispute leaves thousands without heat

By Niall Green, 9 January 2009

Natural gas supplies from Russia to Europe via Ukraine have been halted or greatly reduced in the latest stage of a dispute between the ex-Soviet neighbours over prices and allegations of unpaid bills.

Ukraine-Russia gas dispute disrupts European supply

By Niall Green, 8 January 2009

Gas exports from Russia to Europe via Ukraine have come to a complete halt, according to Naftogaz.

Latvia bailed out by IMF and European Union

By Niall Green, 7 January 2009

On December 23 the International Monetary Fund approved a €1.68 billion (US$2.35 billion) rescue loan for the ex-Soviet republic of Latvia, as part of a €7.5 billion (US$10.5 billion) bailout.

Russia cuts off Ukrainian gas supply

Energy conflict threatens EU shortages

By Niall Green, 3 January 2009

The Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom turned off all gas supplies to Ukraine, threatening supplies to the European Union.

Kosovo’s dirty secret: the background to Germany’s Secret Service affair

By Peter Schwarz, 1 December 2008

The arrest of three German secret service agents in Kosovo exposes the sort of society that has been developed with German and American support in this former part of Yugoslavia—one mired in corruption, organised crime and secret service plots.

World financial crisis bankrupts Eastern Europe: The toll of capitalist restoration

10 November 2008

Massive state bailouts throughout Eastern Europe are rendering a historical verdict on the project of capitalist restoration.

BBC describes evidence of Georgian war crimes in South Ossetia

By Simon Whelan, 10 November 2008

Journalists working for the BBC have unearthed evidence of Georgian war crimes against South Ossetian civilians.

A damning admission on the Georgian war

8 November 2008

The New York Times on Friday carried a front-page article citing a report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, whose monitors were in Georgia when the fighting broke out, which demolishes the official US account of the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war, according to which the war was an act of Russian aggression.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

7 November 2008

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Czech government in crisis following election debacles

By Markus Salzmann, 4 November 2008

Prior to taking over the presidency of the European Union, the Czech government has suffered a series of election defeats and is in deep crisis.

Huge IMF bailout for emerging economies

By Peter Symonds, 1 November 2008

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), backed by central banks in the US and Europe, has taken drastic steps over the past week to prop up so-called emerging economies around the world from Asia to Eastern Europe and Latin America.

Eastern European economies face bankruptcy

By Niall Green, 23 October 2008

The economies of central and eastern Europe are being rocked by the crisis of world capitalism, compounded by the corrupt and pro-big business policies of their local elites.

Ukraine: US-Russia conflict provokes government collapse

Cheney’s visit

By Niall Green, 10 September 2008

The coalition government of Ukraine, made up of the party of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the smaller Our Ukraine party of President Viktor Yushchenko, collapsed in bitter acrimony on Wednesday, September 3.

Former Yugoslav war crimes tribunal spokeswoman indicted for contempt

By Paul Mitchell, 5 September 2008

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has indicted Florence Hartmann, the spokeswoman of the tribunal’s former Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte from 1999 to 2006, on two charges of contempt of court.

Cheney in Georgia: Gunboat diplomacy in pursuit of oil

By Tom Eley, 5 September 2008

The US is continuing to ratchet up tensions with Russia in the aftermath of last month’s war in the Caucasus.

International tributes for Russian Marxist historian

Vadim Rogovin buried in Moscow

By our correspondent, 6 October 1998

More than three dozen people gathered at the Moscow Crematorium September 21 to mourn the passing of Vadim Zakharovich Rogovin, Russian Marxist historian and sociologist and author of a six-volume study of the Trotskyist opposition to the rise of the Stalinist regime within the Soviet Union. Rogovin died of cancer on September 18. He was 61 years old.

Vadim Rogovin: 1937-1998

Russian Marxist Historian Dies in Moscow

By David North, 18 September 1998

Vadim Zakharovich Rogovin, the Russian Marxist historian and sociologist, and author of a monumental six-volume study of the Trotskyist opposition to the rise of the Stalinist regime within the USSR, died of cancer early Friday morning in Moscow. He was 61 years old.

International market turmoil: A sea-change in world economy

By Nick Beams, 28 August 1998

World markets went into a tailspin on Thursday, as panic spread over the global implications of the Russian meltdown and the deepening crisis in Asia.

Russian crisis shakes global markets

By Nick Beames, 25 August 1998

The announcement by the Russian government that it was devaluing the rouble, suspending trading in the short-term Treasury bill market and imposing a 90-day moratorium on international debt repayments resulted with the largest one-day fall on the London stock exchange since October 1987

Rival business, political cliques jockey for power in Moscow

Yeltsin's sacking of cabinet jolts Washington

By Barry Grey, 25 March 1998

Russian President Boris Yeltsin's sudden dismissal of his cabinet last Monday apparently took domestic observers as well as Moscow's Western allies unawares.