The night that the Berlin Wall collapsed was certainly one of the most dramatic moments in the cascading events of 1989, events that brought the era of Communist rule in Eastern Europe to a close. What follows is an examination of the intersecting developments that led to the collapse of the Communist regimes in 1989. [more inside]
So, what is the balance-sheet of transition? Only three or at most five or six countries could be said to be on the road to becoming a part of the rich and (relatively) stable capitalist world. Many are falling behind, and some are so far behind that they cannot aspire to go back to the point where they were when the Wall fell for several decades. Despite philosophers of “universal harmonies” such as Francis Fukuyama, Timothy Garton Ash, Vaclav Havel, Bernard Henry Lévy, and scores of international “economic advisors” to Boris Yeltsin, who all phantasized about democracy and prosperity, neither really arrived for most people in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The Wall fell only for some.On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall Branko Milanovic looks at how the transition to capitalism worked out for the ex-communist countries of the USSR and Eastern Europe.
Leigh Bardugo writes haunting, Eastern-European inspired fairy tales (Previously) often highlighting the experience of women in a unfair world. Tor.com presents two new stories, the somber "The Too-Clever Fox" and the subversive "Little Knife."
The Age of Imperialism is over, but its impact remains, leaving behind a long-lasting legacy through cultural norms. Comparing individuals on opposite sides of the long-gone Habsburg Empire border within five countries, it shows that firms and people living in what used to be the empire have higher trust in courts and police.
Starting by fighting for her own children's rights, she ends up in government implementing the UN Convention on Disability Rights.
The BBC World Service has put together a special report on the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe (they also have a simpler portal). There is a wealth of material, including TV reports on key events from the BBC archives, interviews, a map timeline, a report on Catholicism's role in the 1989 revolutions, a first-hand report of what it was like to gather news in East Germany during that time and much more.
Karel Zeman was a Czech animator probably best known for his movies Journey to the Beginning of Time and The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. He used stop-motion animation, cartoons, puppetry, colorization, and live action to create surreal and otherworldly films of amazing beauty. Sadly (for some), there's not a lot on the internet in English about the man. [more inside]
Learn the Truth is an excellent (Flash) presentation on the years after Stalin's death in Poland and Hungary. There's also a plain HTML version.
Be Warned: some very disturbing and NSFW intravenous drug abuse images from Eastern Europe. [More Inside]
Azerbaijan is a secular former Soviet state with a rocky past, but this week they are moving towards democracy in an election on November 6th. Bloggers headed to the area are covering the upcoming election and documenting it all.
Espionage and the Orange Revolution -or- How Ukranian spies prevented a crackdown on protestors in Kiev. (NY Times)
Stop-motion clips from some of Eastern Europe's greatest masters. From "DarkStrider, Explorations in the Art of Stop-Motion Animation".
Watercolor landscapes of Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Hungary by Thomas Ender (1793-1875). The main frame for each painting allows you to open a large view, or read about the region depicted.
Radzilow. Memorial to a once-vibrant Jewish shtetl.
Beyond the Fall. The former Soviet block in transition 1989-1999. Outstanding photojournalism.
I live in Prague and I've been looking for English language sites for expats living here recently. Prague TV is the best I can come up with. There are a few others, some that look promising but not fully functional yet, some absolutely terrible, and a some not so bad, but not really community sites. Do you live or work in Eastern Europe? Know any decent English language sites?