Stories written by Zoltán Dujisin
Zoltán Dujisin is presently based in Prague and covers the post-communist transformation of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine for IPS.
Zoltán introduced himself to IPS in 2004 when he was based in Kiev, Ukraine, covering the country’s “Orange Revolution”. Since then he has gradually expanded the region’s coverage, working two years in Budapest, Hungary, and travelling extensively in the region.
A political science graduate from the Technical University in Lisbon, Portugal, his studies brought him to the Czech Republic, Belgium and the Ukraine. He recently concluded a master’s degree in nationalism studies at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.
Monday’s resignation of Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas over a massive corruption scandal may well mark a new era of judicial independence in the Czech Republic and possibly the whole post-communist region.
As the European Union accuses Hungary of shifting towards authoritarianism, a spike in emigration from the country has led many to speak of a politically motivated exodus. Others suggest that economic conditions play a role in the westward flow of brainpower that is leaving Hungary's future uncertain.
Protests in Hungary and Romania are the first signs of anti-systemic mobilisation in the Eastern half of the continent. While protests in both countries indicate dissatisfaction with their governments’ authoritarian turn, their origins differ, as does the European Union’s reaction to them.
The massive overhaul of Hungary’s political system by the conservative Fidesz party is raising fears the country’s days as a liberal democracy may be numbered. With opposition parties powerless, it is civil society that has awakened to support a more participatory democracy.
A year after slamming the door on the International Monetary Fund and announcing that a small country like Hungary could pursue an independent economic policy, conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been forced to kneel to the IMF and ask for help. Was there ever an alternative?
Accused of being unfriendly towards journalists, Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich has surprised the world by starting an investigation for abuse of power against former president Leonid Kuchma over the murder of an opposition journalist in 2000.
As European leaders increasingly question the concept of Europe without borders and follow each other in announcing the end of multiculturalism, the media response has been mostly to present migrants as destabilising Europe’s labour markets and welfare states.
In the aftermath of the anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in history, Ukrainian authorities have pledged not to abandon those still in need of assistance. But many of the country’s policies may be increasing the risk of a new catastrophe.
It was almost 6am on April 26, 1986, when Alexey Breus left his flat in Pripyat and headed towards Chernobyl’s infamous reactor number 4, unaware that it had been five hours since his workplace had witnessed the beginning of the world’s worst nuclear disaster: "Only when I arrived with the bus I saw the destruction," he told IPS. "My hair stood up."
Following the approval of a restrictive media law that led to widespread domestic and international condemnation, Hungarian society is trying to come to terms with the broader consequences of the country’s alleged descent into authoritarianism.
Twenty years ago when the Berlin wall fell, radical privatisation was promoted as a solution to the ills of Eastern European economies. The one country that ignored the West’s recipe– Slovenia – seems to be faring far better.
As the Hungarian government continues its efforts to limit the consequences of a tragic toxic leak last week, it has also used the opportunity to attack a supposed former communist-turned capitalist oligarchy that allegedly runs the country's economy.
"There's no way we can stay. It smells like cholera," says pensioner Imre Fabian as he shovels the red toxic mud from his kitchen floor. The flood of toxic waste that hit people in Devecser is there to stay, and locals are beginning to accept that their life as they knew it is over.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has slapped IMF in the face, shocking an international community used to news of economic difficulties coming from this small Central European nation. But most Hungarians have welcomed it, at least so far.