Tag Archive | "Hungary"

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Where Did We Go Wrong?

Posted on 20 October 2009 by admin

By Thomas Orszag-Land

Just two decades ago, in the spring of 1989, a reform-minded government in Hungary tore down the Iron Curtain and helped clear the way to the reunification of Europe.

Today, the banned, neo-Nazi paramilitary Hungarian Guard regularly terrifies isolated Roma settlements by staging provocative demonstrations. The same communities were recently exposed to nightly visits by hooded death squads that torched homes and fired on fleeing residents, causing seven deaths and many injuries. Continue reading …

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An End to ‘Doubleness’

Posted on 09 October 2009 by admin

By Boyko Vassilev, Lucie Kavanova, Anita Komuves, Wojciech Kosc, Sinziana Demian, and Pavol Szalai

As we look at how life has changed – or stayed the same – over the past 20 years, TOL correspondents in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia asked people in various professions to describe their working life today compared with conditions before 1989. This collection of interviews with artists is the first in the series that resulted.

Part 1: What does an artist, accustomed to using metaphor and subterfuge under communism, do when the lid comes off? Continue reading …

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Democracies Without Democrats

Posted on 07 October 2009 by admin

Why the reality of post-Communist Europe has not measured up to the expectations of 1989.

By Jiri Pehe

“Now we have a democracy,” Tomas G. Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia, said of his new country upon its founding 90 years ago. “What we also need are democrats.”

These words could be applied as aptly to the post-communist countries of contemporary East-Central Europe. The problem of “democracies without democrats” is as real today as it was when Masaryk’s new state rose from the ashes of World War I. Continue reading …

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Making the Impossible Possible

Posted on 05 August 2009 by admin

A crusader for open society recalls the beginning of the end of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. From CNN.com.

By George Soros

I set up my first foundation in Hungary in 1984. The idea behind it was simple. The state dogma, promoted by the ruling communists, was false, and by providing an alternative we could expose its falsehood. Accordingly we supported every cultural initiative that was not an expression of the established dogma. Continue reading …

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End of Innocence

Posted on 27 March 2009 by admin

Stock-taking is in order on the 10th anniversary of Europe’s coming of age.

By TOL

Ten years ago, it felt like the end of an era, and not just because serious commentators were warning that the Y2K bug would knock us all back to the age of vacuum tubes, if not quill pens.

The year 1999 brought a major consolidation of the democratic gains of 1989-1990 in Central and Eastern Europe and a smooth and fateful change of power in Russia, and saw a consortium of European states make war against one of their own for the first time since the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.  Continue reading …

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Gloomy Celebrations

Posted on 10 March 2009 by admin

hungary bridgeHas Hungary lost its way since the heady days of 20 years ago, or is that just the Magyar pessimism talking?

By Istvan Hegedus

What went wrong in Hungary? This year Hungarians celebrate five years of European Union membership and 20 years of democratic development after the collapse of a relatively “soft” communist dictatorship. Outside observers used to deem Hungary a success story. Even most Hungarians saw their country as the star pupil among the new pluralist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe that had started to attend “democracy courses” and to undergo an economic transformation as applicants to the European Union in the 1990s. Continue reading …

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