Blog Profile / Eastern Approaches

Filed Under:News / International Affairs
Posts on Regator:802
Posts / Week:2.4
Archived Since:April 18, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Transylvanian surprise

IN A world where politics often seem locked down by political scientists and campaign consultants, it is nice to be surprised once in a while. Opinion polls leading up to Romania's presidential elections on Sunday all predicted a clear...Show More Summary

Shale fail

ON NOVEMBER 25th, fracking experts from across the continent will convene in Warsaw for the Shale Gas World Europe conference. The gathering is a reminder of the heady days, just a few years back, when the Polish government promised to wean the country from dependence on Russian fossil fuels by imitating America's successful exploitation of shale. Show More Summary

A minister comes out

WHEN Edgars Rinkevics, Latvia’s foreign minister, came out as gay last week, he had a good sense of the political and cultural minefield he was stepping into. “All hell is likely to break loose, but #proudtobegay”, his Latvian coming-out tweet concluded. Show More Summary

The dissidents look back

FOR most of the 1980s, avant-garde artist Laszlo Rajk deployed his creative talents towards irritating Hungary’s communist regime. From 1981-83, he ran a samizdat (underground literature) bookshop out of his apartment. “There was an open house on Tuesday evenings, announced on Radio Free Europe, which meant everybody knew,” he says. Show More Summary

Get on with it, already

BRITAIN and Germany want to save Bosnia from death by stagnation. This is the subtext of a plan unveiled in Berlin on November 5th in an open letter from the two countries' foreign ministers to the Bosnian people, at a meeting of Balkan and foreign officials to discuss the region's future (pictured). Show More Summary

Georgian Dream's wake-up call

NOVEMBER is a fateful month in Georgian politics. The Rose Revolution took place in November of 2003. In November of 2007, a brutal police crackdown on demonstrations triggered snap presidential elections. Seven years on, the government is in turmoil again. Show More Summary

Potemkin observers

REBEL commander Alexander Zakharchenko smiled only slightly on hearing that he had won this weekend's elections in Donetsk, Ukraine (pictured). The results were never in doubt: Mr Zakharchenko's nominal opponents openly supported him, and his face was the only one on campaign billboards. Show More Summary

Polls closed

CRITICISMS of Romanian corruption and democratic improprieties are common enough in Brussels. But on Sunday the criticisms came not from EU functionaries, but from Romanian expatriates. Thousands of Romanians living abroad had linedShow More Summary

Cold self-interest

IT IS getting chilly in Kiev. During parliamentary elections on October 26th, as temperatures hit 7° Celsius, polling-station officials huddled in padded coats; one warmed her hand over an electric heater while handing out ballots with the other. Show More Summary

A bit of protest

VIKTOR ORBAN has finally hit a speed bump. The popular Hungarian prime minister had been on an unstoppable roll this year, winning a two-thirds majority in parliament and waving off foreign criticism of his increasingly illiberal policies. Show More Summary

Spy versus politician

LATELY the Czech Republic has become one of the weaker links in Europe's efforts to punish Russia for its interference in Ukraine. For months, critics, especially in Poland and the Baltic states, have accused Czech leaders of insufficient vigilance against Russian aggression. Show More Summary

A coalition for Kiev

THE clock starts now. Ukrainian voters opted for a Western-leaning parliament on October 26, casting off the last remnant of Viktor Yanukovych's reign after nearly a year of revolution and war. President Petro Poroshenko (pictured, holding a ballot) hailed the results as "democratic, reformist, pro-Ukrainian and pro-European". Show More Summary

After the Maidan

On the eve of parliamentary elections, a new political class is agitating for change. Only months ago, they were the revolutionaries

For your coal plants and ours

"FOR your freedom and ours" was a motto used by Polish rebels who fought in various uprisings against the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires between 1830 and 1849, both in Poland and in Hungary and Italy. Their intent was to build a coalition of nationalist independence movements from various ethnicities. Show More Summary

No prize for Leyla Yunus

LEYLA YUNUS did not win the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought this year—it went to Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist who has battled sexual violence against women—but she was one of the three finalists. Show More Summary

Donetsk for me, Lviv for you

Editor's Note: the original version of this post was based on statements by Radek Sikorski, the former Polish foreign minister, that an offer from Vladimir Putin to Donald Tusk to partition Ukraine had taken place. Mr Sikorski has since retracted those statements. Show More Summary

How to buy a (good) reputation

RHEINISCH-BERGISCHE VERLAGSGESELLSCHAFT (RBVG), a German publishing group, looks set to sell its 50% stake in Petit Press, the owner of Sme, a Slovak daily, to Penta, a powerful Central European financial group, via an intermediary. Petit Press also owns Slovakia’s only Hungarian language daily and its one English language newspaper. Show More Summary

A historic football victory

JUST as fears are mounting that Germany is heading for a recession, there is more bad news for Germans, who have become so used to success in recent years. Poland beat Germany, the current world champion, with a 2:0 victory in a qualification game for the European championship. Show More Summary

The Twelve Labours of Putin

VLADIMIR PUTIN turned 62 yesterday. According to the Kremlin press service, he marked his birthday deep in the Siberian taiga, a snow forest 200 miles from the nearest inhabited village. Back in Moscow, the capital was dotted by celebration. Show More Summary

How to deal with Harmony

HARMONY, a centrist party representing the Russian-speaking minority, won more votes than any other party in Latvia’s parliamentary elections on Saturday. Yet Harmony is far from victorious: the Saeima, Latvia’s parliament, has 100 seats and Harmony won 24, well short of a majority. Show More Summary

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