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balkans | John Feffer
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The Pankow Peace Group

It was one thing to establish an independent peace group in Poland or Hungary during the last decade of the Communist era. Freedom and Peace challenged military service in Poland, where there was a long tradition of independent organizing. In Hungary, perhaps the most liberal country in the region outside of Yugoslavia, Dialogus opposed nuclear weapons on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Both...
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Recreating Central Europe

In 1991, when they disbanded the Warsaw Pact, the countries of Central Europe officially declared their independence from the Soviet Union (though the breaking of the bond really took place two years earlier). This newfound independence did not, however, translate into a common voice or common position based on history and circumstance. The region almost immediately broke into several rival...
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The Misrule of Law

The success of the free market reforms that took place in East-Central Europe after 1989 was predicated to a large degree on the rule of law. The privatization of state assets, for instance, required a high degree of transparency and a strong set of regulations. Otherwise corrupt individuals and groups could easily vacuum up the assets at low prices and make a killing. Two decades after these...
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Germany’s Post-Reunification Foreign Policy

Germany has played an outsized role in Europe after reunification in 1990. But that role has largely been economic. There were many fears at the end of the Cold War that a reunified Germany would destabilize Europe. Margaret Thatcher kept a map of Germany’s 1937 borders in her purse to illustrate her anxieties about the “German problem,” and many of her French and Polish interlocutors...
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Following the Magic

In the early 1990s, Eastern Europe entered the list of expatriate wonderlands, like the Left Bank of Paris in the 1920s or Tokyo of the 1980s. Prague was the most powerful magnet: Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution was relatively cheap, jobs teaching English were plentiful, and the city was full of beautiful buildings and creative energy. Caleb Crain’s new novel Necessary Errors...
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