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Peace, Quiet & Kaczynski

Peace, Quiet & Kaczynski

Whether it’s the influence of the silly season, the unusual heat wave, or the successful campaign of nationalist populism across Central Europe, international media such as The New York Times and El Pais, have again started to pay some attention to the leader of the Polish conservatives, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. After a few years in the […]

Nabucco’s Final Curtain

Nabucco’s  Final  Curtain

The European Union needs natural gas. It needs it to fuel its economy and to keep households warm in winter. It needs it because it is a versatile energy source with multiple uses and because it is the least contaminating fossil fuel. And although the EU itself does not have much gas, its neighbors have […]

At IWM: Not Quite the “End of History”

At IWM: Not Quite the “End of History”

Free chairs were hard to find at the Institute for Human Sciences (Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, IWM) on the evening of 10 June, when Yale-Historians Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands, The Red Prince) and Marci Shore (The Taste of Ashes) along with Ivan Krastev of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria were on […]

A Tour of Corrupt Prague

A Tour of Corrupt Prague

At Jungmannovo Náměstí, a small cobbled square in central Prague, a guide waits for customers for a tour that is sold as “entirely unique in the history of tourism”. Edita Čechová, dressed in tall black boots, a black cloak with a large flat cap atop her flowing blond hair, works for Corrupt Tours which, according […]

Hungary: Still Struggling Over Values

Hungary: Still Struggling Over Values

All is not well in the state of Hungary: Anti-Semitism, paramilitary actions against Roma and Sinti, censorship of inconvenient artists and writers, a heavily disputed media law – Austria’s neighbour and important trading partner is facing heavy criticism under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Fidesz). At their embassy in Vienna, Peter Györkos, Hungary’s ambassador to the […]

A Czech Legal Revolution

A Czech Legal Revolution

Artur Ostrý orders pizzas every Friday for an in-house lunch with his colleagues in his small law office in Prague’s posh Anděl business district. Here they sit around the table in a meeting room and prepare for the revolution. No other word could better characterise the coming change to the Czech legal system from January […]

Central Europe’s Nationalist Paradox

Central Europe’s Nationalist Paradox

Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, a nationalist? On the contrary. Would he then sign partnership agreements with large foreign investors? And Slovakia’s Robert Fico picking up right-wing voters and thus shifting toward nationalism? Hardly, or he wouldn’t be dedicating so much energy to saving the country’s largest private employer, the U.S. Steel ironworks in Kosice, which the […]

Plamen Goranov – Martyr Of the ‘Bulgarian Spring’

Plamen Goranov – Martyr  Of the ‘Bulgarian Spring’

In a desperate act of protest against goverment austerity measures, 36-year-old Bulgarian Plamen Goranov set himself on fire in front of the City Hall in Varna. He is one of six self-immolators in Bulgaria in the course of just one month, the most recent being a 41-year-old man from the village of Sitovo, he remains […]

Tropical Fish, Beer, Porno­graphy and Havel

Tropical Fish, Beer, Porno­graphy and Havel

Czech president Vaclav Klaus will soon leave office, and as only the second leader of post-revolution Czech Republic, he spends much time attacking and devaluing his predecessor’s legacy. One day he refers to “nothing but holes in the walls” he allegedly found in Prague Castle when he took over from Vaclav Havel, suggesting the former […]

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