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Eastern Europe

Ukraine: Eyewitness to the war zone of eastern Ukraine

Residents of "October" district of Donetsk city hard hit by Ukraine army shelling speak to visiting media group on April 16, 2015. Photo Roger Annis.

More on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Roger Annis, Donetsk

April 20, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a version of this article was first published at CounterPunch -- -- I have just returned from participating in a four-day reporting tour to the city of Donetsk and the countryside that lies between Donetsk and the Russian city of Rostov to the south and east.

John Pilger wrong on former Yugoslavia

Kosovans displaced by Milosevic's serb-chauvinist regime.

Click HERE for more on Kosova/Kosovo

By Chris Slee

March 27, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In his article, "New threats of war and fascism",[1], John Pilger rightly denounces the history of US military intervention around the world. But he gives a distorted account of the events leading up to NATO's war against Serbia in 1999. He fails to recognise that the previous actions of the Serbian government created the conditions which made NATO's attack on Serbia possible.

The Serbian-chauvinist regime of Slobodan Milosevic had provoked a rebellion by the Albanian population of Kosova [also referred to as Kosovo]. It had also alienated most of the other nationalities of the former Yugoslavia. This left Serbia isolated when NATO attacked.

Pilger condemns the "criminal record" of the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA), but seems to absolve the Serbian government of any wrongdoing.

Ukraine: IMF package foreshadows a permanent 'winter'

Ukraine hyrvnia
By Michael Roberts

March 17, 2015 -- Michael Roberts Blog, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced a new bailout package for Ukraine. It will disburse up to $17.5 billion over the next three years, subject to all the usual conditions for fiscal austerity and neoliberal reforms conducted by the Ukraine government (see https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/ukraine-a-grim- winter-ahead/).

The bailout package is a joke. As a former IMF economist Robert Kahn, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, put it, The odds of this program surviving intact for four years, or even through the end of 2015, are not much higher than for the original 2014 program."

Ukraine: Kyiv, Russia sign shakey ceasefire

 Most civilian casualties have been caused by the land and air bombardment of populated areas in the east by Kyiv government forces.

More on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Tony Iltis

February 14, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France emerged from negotiations in Minsk, Belarus on the morning of February 12, after 16 hours of talks, and announced that agreement had been reached for a ceasefire in Ukraine's civil war.

The conflict has divided Ukraine since the overthrow of the unpopular, but democratically elected, president Viktor Yanukovich in February last year.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin told journalists that “despite all the difficulties of the negotiation process, we have managed to agree on the main issues”, the February 12 Moscow Times reported.

Ukraine: US/NATO pushes to arm Kyiv's bloody war in the east

February 3 interview on Democracy Now! with Professor Stephen Cohen of New York University and Princeton University.

More on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Roger Annis

February 6, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Kyiv and NATO-driven civil war in Ukraine is taking new and dangerous turns. The United States is threatening to significantly increase its military support to Kyiv's army and the extreme-right militias allied with it, notably in the form of advanced heavy weapons, including artillery systems and anti-tank weaponry. The NATO countries as a whole are increasing their military presence in eastern Europe, including creating rapid-deployment infantry bases.

Increased sanctions against Russia are also on the agenda, although Russia's capacity to withstand sanctions as well as the harmful consequences of sanctions on European countries are cooling the enthusiasm for more sanctions and propelling parallel, military options.

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.

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