Note from the LeftEast editors: The Central European University – a private University in Budapest founded by George Soros’s Open Society Foundation – has attracted the attention of the world media with its strife against the Victor Orban government in Hungary. A struggle over its right to remain in the country ensued in early 2017 when the notorious bill remembered as LexCEU was hastily passed by hungarian legislators. It contained a Catch 22 clause making the functioning of the institution built os symbol of the transition from state socialism to liberal democracy impossible within the Hungari ..
Protest movements Pravda za Davida and Pravda za Dženana may help change Bosnia’s dysfunctional system of governance. While they probably will not make the country’s system of corruption disappear anytime soon, they are likely to become a long-term threat to the country’s political establishment. “We have the potential to change something, to do something against nationalism”, Suzana Radanović, mother of young David Dragičević whose death at the hands of the police in March 2018 led to mass protests in Banja Luka and spread across Bosnia and Herzegovina, told me in an interview. We spoke after a ..
Note from LeftEast editors: The main political event of 2018 on Russia’s domestic scene was probably the pension reform and the unsuccessful resistance against it. In this piece published in Russian in Sotsiologia vlasti 30(4)2018 co-translated for LeftEast by Kate Seidel, Ana Gurau, and Dasha Vodchic, Ilya Budraitskis takes this episode as a lens on the government modus operandi and on the logic driving the different segments of the opposition. The Russian authorities’ actions in as they were preparing to raise the retirement age in summer 2018 involved both a thought-out strategy and a relatively weak propa ..
Hungary is a landlocked country positioned on the EU’s eastern border. Today, it is also a major route for migrants and refugees travelling to Western Europe. The Hungarian government has responded by building a large border fence, and by scapegoating and persecuting the migrants passing through. This week, Tariq is speaking to sociologist Attila Melegh, who has also been a victim of government scapegoating for defending the rights of migrants and asylum seekers.
In the last days, thousands of students have flooded the narrow street where the Albanian Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth is located. Demonstrations of this magnitude are not alien to the public. In the last three decades there have been plenty of anti-government demonstrations in Albania, and apart from a few notable exceptions, they have been successfully co-opted by various mainstream political parties. Thus, one of the main features of this protest has been a clear collective attempt to keep it unaffiliated with any political party, the main reason for this being the fear of losing the credibility. The ..
Note from the editors: In the week following a non-violent demonstration on the campus of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul against a pro-government Islamist student group handing out sweets to celebrate the victory of the Turkish Army and its allied militias in the Syrian-Kurdish district of Afrin, Turkish police have repeatedly swept into the campus in pursuit of anyone suspected of involvement in the anti-war action. The ongoing wave of detentions on the Boğaziçi campus form part of a strategy familiar from earlier police action on university campuses in Turkey, and which intensified even before the Presiden ..
The recent protests against the destruction of the national park in Bulgaria’s Pirin mountain reveals the relation of forces in Bulgaria’s green movement. The start of Bulgaria’s EU Council presidency on 11 January 2018 put the country into the focus of European public opinion. As usual, the spotlight was on the progress of Bulgaria’s integration into the EU and, unsurprisingly, on the ‘cloud of corruption’ hanging over the country. While PM Borisov obediently promised to tackle this issues within the next two to three years, people across Bulgaria took to the streets, seizing the opportunity ..
Victoria Lomasko is a fixture at Moscow’s trials and protests, documenting the tumultuous processes that shape today’s Russia. Not content to limit herself to the political life of the country’s capital, Lomasko travels around the country and through the former Soviet republics, exploring the domestic, psychological, and spiritual condition of its diverse marginalized groups. Sex workers in Nizhny Novgorod, women in underground lesbian clubs, teachers in a remote village school, and children at the juvenile prison colonies, where Lomasko volunteers as an art teacher, have been some of the subjec ..