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Eastern Europe

The propaganda war over Crimea’s break from Ukraine

Celebrations in Lenin Square, in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, after the Crimean people voted to make the peninsula a part of Russia. More pictures at http://mashable.com/2014/03/16/crimea-votes-the-day-in-pictures/.

By Roger Annis

December 17, 2014 -- submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author, first published on Truthout, December 10, 2014 -- In the propaganda campaign being waged by the NATO countries and the government of Ukraine against Russia and in support of Kiev’s war in the east of the country, the events in Crimea of the past nine months occupy a pivotal place.

The secession from Ukraine that followed the March 16 referendum vote in Crimea is the number one pretext to justify the war as well as NATO’s rising aggression in Eastern Europe.

Ukraine: A year after Maidan, 'nothing has changed for the better'

US vice-president Joe Biden (right) sees eye to eye with Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko during his visit to Kyiv on the Maidan anniversary, November 21, 2014.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints from the region on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Andriy Manchuk, translated by Renfrey Clarke

New website for Ukraine news and analysis

By Roger Annis

November 26, 2014 -- Following several months of preparatory work, a new website providing information and analysis of the war and political crisis in Ukraine is now online. The website is titled The New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond. You can read it and subscribe to it at this link. Please "like" our Facebook page.

The New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond is a project of the international delegates who attended the antiiwar, anti-fascist conference that took place in Yalta, Crimea on July 6 and 7, 2014. That conference adopted an anti-war declaration that serves as a guide to the information assembled and presented on the new website.

The website already contains a vast storehouse of information and analysis. The content is expanding daily. One feature designed to assist readers is "Editors’ picks", a selection by our editors of the items posted to the website that are varied and that we consider particularly informative.

Building a united left in Slovenia: interview with Miha Kordiš MP

[Click HERE for more on Slovenia and more on Eastern Europe.]

Miha Kordiš interviewed by Denis Rogatyuk

November 27, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Miha Kordiš (pictured above) is a member of the Slovenian national parliament for the Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS), a radical left political party, which is part of the United Left electoral front.

* * *

Miha, could you tell us about recent developments of the United Left in Slovenia? You’ve had national parliamentary elections, the European election and, more recently, local elections. How do you feel it all went?

Heaven or hell? Books look back on the German Democratic Republic

Stasi Hell or Workers’ Paradise? Socialism in the German Democratic Republic ― What Can We Learn From It?
By John Green & Bruni de la Motte
Artery Publications, 2009
50 pp.

Red Love: The Story of an East German Family
By Maxim Leo
Pushkin Press, 2013
272 pp.

Reviews by Barry Healy

November 16, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The German Democratic Republic (GDR, or "East Germany") disappeared a quarter of a century ago after 41 years’ existence. The East German state is mostly remembered as “Stasiland”, as Anna Funder’s history of its secret police is called.

Yet, for all of its Stalinist failings, East Germany’s values still stubbornly retain many Germans’ endorsement, especially those of the eastern regions. In 2008, Der Spiegel surveyed young Germans nationwide and discovered that most defended what the GDR stood for.

This is usually dismissed as merely a form of nostalgia, but these two texts grapple with the fuller picture. What they recall are memories of when the fear of fascism could motivate whole nations ― and the promise of socialism inspired.

Husband and wife team Bruni de la Motte and John Green have personal links to the GDR. Born in Britain, Green studied in the GDR between 1964 and '68 and then worked on GDR television for 20 years.

Ukraine: 'Without peace, humanitarian crisis will be uncontrollable', warns European Left

Statement of a delegation of the Party of the European Left just returned from Kiev

November 17, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A delegation of the Party of the European Left (EL), headed by two of its vice-presidents, Margarita Mileva and Maite Mola, returned on November 16, after a four-day visit to Kiev.

The aim of the trip was to learn about the situation of the conflict in Ukraine on the ground, in such difficult moments in which the tension increases dangerously and threatens to put an end to the ceasefire, the Minsk agreements and to restart large-scale combats in the province of Donbas.

During these days, the delegation met with activists of social movements, non-governmental organisations, organisations in defence of civil and human rights of Kiev and Donbas, with independent journalists and media activists as well as the Communist Party of Ukraine.

Croatia, Slovenia: 'The left is rising again'

Demian Vokši interviewed by Vladimir Unkovski-Korica

November 5, 2014 -- LeftEast, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

The Radnička fronta (Workers’ Front, Croatia) has been recently founded and often calls itself the "Croatian Syriza". Could you tell us something more about the emergence and program of the Workers' Front? Who are you, how many are you, what do you stand for?

The Workers' Front was founded in May 2014 by a group of workers, trade unionists, students, activists and unemployed. Our goal is to create a broad progressive platform, combining the activity of a political party with direct action at the workplaces and political activism in general.

At the centre of our mission is the provision of a coherent critique of the capitalist system, and together with other progressive groups, to employ direct strategies against it. We think that a fundamental change of Croatian politics and society is necessary because the capitalist system, which is currently on the offensive in dismantling the remnants of welfare state, is inherently producing inequality, destroying the environment and increasing the ability of rich and the powerful to live off the work of the oppressed and the neglected, while simultaneously diminishing the latter’s ability to influence the political process in any meaningful way.

Volodymyr Ishchenko on Ukraine: Maidan, the far right and civil war

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints from the region on the political situation in Ukraine. Another video is below. For more by
Volodymyr Ishchenko
.

By Volodymyr Ishchenko

November 4, 2014 -- Danyliw Research Seminar on Contemporary Ukraine -- How significant was the participation of the far right in Maidan? Unfortunately, this question quickly falls  victim to extreme politicisation due to two phenomena: first, active propaganda aimed at discrediting Maidan by its opponents, including the Russian media, and second, by whitewashing attempts by Maidan's (left-) liberal or moderate nationalist supporters.

Eastern Europe: For whom the Wall fell? Balance sheet of the transition to capitalism

The Berlin Wall comes down, 1989.

By Branco Milanovic

November 3, 2014 -- Globalinequality, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal --  As I was leaving Berlin less than a week before the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and as celebrations there were going strong, I decided to look at the balance sheet of transition countries (even if the term is no longer fully adequate) over the past quarter century.

I am originally from one of them, I worked on most of them in the 1990s, and I discussed and documented the Great Depression there in my 1998 book Income, inequality and poverty during the transition to market economies. So, I was going back to a familiar terrain.

Ukraine: Election confirms right-wing government and its austerity and war aims

Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine, with the new modernised main battle tank T-72B for the Ukrainian National Guard.

More on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Roger Annis

November 11, 2014 – A version of this first appeared at Truthout, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The general election to Ukraine’s parliament (the Verkhovna Rada, or Supreme Council) on October 26 was another step by the country’s wealthy power brokers to consolidate their pro-Europe, pro-austerity economic course and related war against the rebellious population in the east of the country. A large, neo-conservative and far-right majority now controls the Rada.

Boris Kagarlitsky: Rebel eastern Ukraine republics between war and elections

Polling station inside a rebel military base during elections in the city of Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints from the region on the political situation in Ukraine.

For more by Boris Kagarlitsky, click HERE.

By Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow; translated by Renfrey Clarke

November 10, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the elections that took place in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics on November 2, 2014, the winner was the Russian presidential administration. This, and only this, was the political point of the voting. But the victory remains precarious and conditional.

Vasily Koltashov and Boris Kagarlitsky: Will Putin abandon eastern Ukraine’s rebels?

Vladmir Putin and John Kerry: "Let's deal?"

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints from the region on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Vasily Koltashov and Boris Kagarlitsky[1], translated by Gaither Stewart, notes by Renfrey Clarke

Bulgaria: Wealthy EU governments target 'freedom of movement' for poor workers

GERB leader Boyko Borissov and his political role model Angela Merkel.

By Raya Apostolova

September 30, 2014 -- Left Perspectives/Left East -- The election in Bulgaria scheduled to take place on October 5, 2014, comes in the midst of a deep political crisis and social disarray. Bulgaria’s right-oriented vote in the past two decades has resulted in non-existent public services and social destabilisation. Thousands of Bulgarian workers journey to Germany’s slaughter houses or Poland’s agricultural fields as they cannot secure employment in Bulgaria. The unfolding enmity towards the working poor on a European scale, as expressed in the openly declared battle against migrant labour from eastern Europe, may cost Bulgaria's shaky social peace. Bulgaria needs to immediately address social inequalities.

NATO’s new cold war redraws left, liberal views on imperialism and war

The right-wing Canadian government endorsed a "Ukrainian Independence Day" celebration in Toronto that openly raised funds for the fascist Right Sector organisation and at which the group's red and black flags were displayed prominently.

By Roger Annis

September 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Just under 25 years ago, the Cold War ended with a capitalist triumph. The nationalised economies and political structures of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe collapsed and a transition to a harsh, anti-social capitalism began.

In the years that followed, an eastward expansion was undertaken by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military alliance of the imperialist countries of Europe and North America. Many of the countries of eastern Europe joined the alliance, in explicit defiance of agreements by NATO with post-Soviet Russia not to expand in this way.

The fight for socialism in Slovenia: interview with Anej Korsika (Initiative for Democratic Socialism)

For more on the Initiative for Democratic Socialism, click HERE.

Anej Korsika interviewed by James Robertson

September 1, 2014 -- Left East, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

James Robertson: Let’s start with a brief history of the Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS) and its role in the formation of the Združena levica (UL, United Left) earlier this year. What are the origins of IDS? 

Anej Korsika: The Initiative for Democratic Socialism, to use the old cliche, has a short history and a long past. Officially, the party was founded on March 8 this year. However when one wants to grasp the gradual formation of the party, one needs to take into consideration a much longer timeline.

민병대와 과두세력 사이의 동부 우크라이나 인민공화국

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4008.]

이후로는 외국의 진보적 매체의 글들을 정기적으로 번역하여 게재할 예정이다. 이번에는 최근 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewald에 실린 우크라아니 동부지역의 분리그룹 내부 움직임에 대한 러시아 좌파 활동가 보리스 카갈리츠키의 글을 번역하여 싣는다. 번역은 델라님께서 맡았다. <편집자>

Redian.org
———————–

* Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal은 우크라이나의 정치적 상황에 대해 다양한 좌파적 견해를 발표해왔다. 이 글들이 반드시 발행인의 의견을 대변하지는 않는다. 아래는 모스크바의 Boris Kagarlitsky의 글이다. (Renfrey Clarke 번역)

우크라이나 정부와 노보로시야 Novorossiya 공화국(노보로시야는 ‘신러시아’라는 뜻. 우크라이나로부터 독립을 선포한 도네츠크 주와 루간스크 주 일대 지역이 모여 결성한 국가) 사이의 전쟁은 점차 교착상태가 되어가고 있다. 양쪽의 자원은 소모되고 있고, 전투 역량도 바닥을 보이고 있다.

Ukraine army defeat forces ceasefire, underlying political conflicts unresolved

Destroyed Ukrainian military hardware is strewn across the outskirts of Mariupol, reports the Guardian.

Click for more on the political situation in Ukraine

By Roger Annis

September 9, 2014 --  A version of this article was first published at Truthout, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- A ceasefire in the war in eastern Ukraine was announced in Minsk, Belarus on September 5. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko made a simultaneous announcement in Wales, where he was a special guest at the summit meeting of the NATO military alliance.

East of the West: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland after the EU election


A supporter of the the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) at a party rally.

By Jirí Málek

[This analysis was presented at the international workshop of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation “On the situation of the left in Europe after the EU elections: New challenges”. Held July 21-23, 2014, in Berlin.]

Transform! Network -- Before me is the task of speaking in a limited time on things that can hardly be responsibly described in brief. For that reason please allow me to make use of a method that could be compared to tossing a flat stone along a flat surface – ever grazing the water, making a couple of little waves and flying off a little more to brush the surface again. With regards to several issues I too will merely brush the surface and rush on to others. And it is likely more questions will arise than answers.

What will I be speaking about? The Karlovy Vary Film Festival has a section called: East of the West. Likewise we will devote this time to the area east of the West, though in the slightly narrower sense of the part of Central Europe otherwise known as the Visegrad Four: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland (total 106 European parliament seats – 14.1 %).

Behind the Kiev/NATO war on the people of eastern Ukraine

Market in Luhansk hit by Ukraine government shelling, August 2014.

The following is an edited version of a talk by Roger Annis on August 22, 2014, that was delivered to a session of the Peoples Social Forum that took place in Ottawa from August 21 to 25. Also on the panel was David Mandel, a professor of political science in Montreal and expert in the history of the working class movements in Russia and Ukraine. You can read Mandel's talk, titled "Understanding the civil war in Ukraine", HERE.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.

* * *

David Mandel: Understanding the conflict in Ukraine

Ukraines' President Petro Poroshenko (second from left) greets US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine.

By David Mandel

August 24, 2014 -- The Bullet, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The Ukrainian conflict, like most political phenomena, is multi-dimensional and highly complex. As such, it calls for a holistic – dialectical, if you wish – approach.

But to judge by US and NATO spokespersons and by their mass media, there is only one really decisive factor that explains everything: Russia's imperialism, Vladimir Putin's determination to dominate and further dismember the Ukraine as part of his plan to restore the Soviet empire. In this simplistic view, Ukraine, with benevolent support from the West, would be quite capable of dealing with its problems and would soon be on its way to becoming a prosperous, Western-style democracy.

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