The Slovak national anthem begins with this dramatic stanza: “That Slovakia of ours / has been asleep so far / but the thunder’s lightning / is rousing it / to come to.” And it continues in a similar spirit: “Slovakia already arises / tears off its shackles.” While the author Janko Matuška, a member of the insurgent mid-nineteenth-century Romantic movement, referred to the then incipient “awakening” of the Slovak nation, the image conjured by the opening lines is even today reflected in one of the Slovaks’ favourite autostereotypes: that they are “sleepy” i ..
This text was originally published in Russian in OpenLeft.ru. We would like to thank Eliza Ivanova for the translation. Introduction On March 26th, people in many Russian cities participated in rallies connected to the recent anti-corruption investigation by Alexey Navalny’s Anti-corruption Foundation. One could say that these were the most numerous street protests of the past few years. In contrast to the Bolotnaya protests of 2012, which focused on demanding fair and open elections, the main issues these rallies addressed were the unjust distribution of resources and the Russian oligarchical system. Many of ..
How ‘Freedom Day’ went in Belarus, and what to expect next: comments from Belarusian activists On 25 May 2017, demonstrations marking Freedom Day took place in cities across Belarus (Freedom Day is the anniversary of the announcement of the self-proclaimed Belarusian People’s Republic on 25 March 1918; it is celebrated mainly by Belarusian nationalists). The government’s reaction to the demonstrations was quite brutal: in Minsk the unauthorized rally, attended by several thousand people, was dispersed by the police and about seven hundred participants were detained. Similar rallies were held in Gomel, Bre ..
Note from the LeftEast editors: As a part of a broader series of comments and analyses from different actors and groups in the Romania Left about the recent protest wave in the country, we are now publishing the policy statement/manifesto of the new left formation DEMOS. DEMOS is a leftist and environmentalist political platform from Romania established in 2016. Its members, previously active in various social movements and campaigns, decided to form it as a response to the growing inequality, severe poverty, destruction of the public goods and services and environmental degradation in the country, issues which ..
Over at the Budapest Beacon, Lili Bayer has a very interesting interview with Gaspar Miklos Tamas that people should check out… As protests continue across Romania for the ninth day, the Hungarian leadership and media from across Hungary’s ideological spectrum are watching the country’s eastern neighbor closely. Demonstrations broke out in Romania last Tuesday, when the government in Bucharest issued a decree that would have protected corrupt politicians. The decree – which the government withdrew under pressure on Sunday – would have exempted abuse-of-power offences involving sums below $48,000 fro ..
A decision of the Social Democrat government to pass an urgent decree, which partly decriminalized the abuse of office and other related misconduct, brought more than half a million Romanian people onto the streets since last week. The government was wrong to pass this decree. There is no doubt that one of the main beneficiaries would have been Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the Social Democrats and Chamber President who is indicted for abuse of office. His case is pending. The argument that the government had to pass this decree in order to respect a previous decision of the Constitutional Court holds no water. Ne ..
Note from the LeftEast editors: This article originally appeared in the Serbian publication Masina on 10.06.2016. It was composed in the months following a series of nocturnal demolitions in the Belgrade neighbourhood of Savamala. The demolitions, conducted by unidentified workers in balaclavas, are widely perceived to be the vanguard actions of Belgrade on the Water, a controversial ‘urban renewal’ project that has been the focus of continuous protests led by the civic initiative Ne da(vi)mo Beograd (a name that simultaneously means: ‘Let’s not give Belgrade away’ and ‘Let ..
Note from the LeftEast editors: a Bulgarian version of this text first appeared on the pages of Kultura weekly newspaper. Christina Grozeva and Peter Valchanov’s The Lesson (2014) is probably the first feature film that explains the Bulgarian winter of discontent in 2013. It tells the story of a “normal” week in the life Nadezhda (Margarita Gosheva), a Bulgarian school teacher from a small town. While she tries to punish one of her students who committed theft in a morally instructive way, life teaches the instructor a much more serious moral lesson. The Lesson is based on a true story from 2010, sensation ..
Note from LeftEast editors: We republish this text by Alexander Moldovan from marxist.com, where it was originally published on the 26th of January 2016. On the 20th of January, a new government in the Republic of Moldova was sworn in to the tune of mass protests outside of its Parliament buildings. Opposition figures claimed an attendance of 100,000 people in Grand National Assembly Square in the capital, Chisinau. Demonstrators clashed with police officers and ultimately broke into Parliament in an attempt to stop the swearing-in-ceremony of Pavel Filip of the Democratic Party as Prime Minister. The new gover ..