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secret police | John Feffer
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Challenging the Warsaw Pact from Within

The Warsaw Pact was not without its internal rifts. When it came together in 1955, after news of West Germany entering NATO, the Soviet-sponsored security alliance included all European Communist countries – except Yugoslavia, which rejected Soviet leadership. In the early 1960s, Albania sided with China in the Sino-Soviet split and stopped cooperating with the Warsaw Pact. In 1968, Romania...
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The Disappearance of the Political Middle

Hungary has long been divided between its liberal and cosmopolitan capital and the more conservative countryside. During the Communist era, a small democratic opposition emerged that eventually, by the end of the 1980s, split into two political forces: the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats (SzDSz) and the more nationalist Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF). In the first free elections in Hungary...
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The Largest Human Rights Movement in the East

We think of human rights movements in terms of voice: the voices of protest, the voices of the marginalized, the voices of the silenced. In East-Central Europe prior to 1989, the faces of the human rights movement were the signatories of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, the dissident writers in Hungary, the Solidarity trade union leaders in Poland, the renegade Party members in Romania. Roland Jahn...
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Helping from Outside

In the wake of the changes of 1989, many outside organizations rushed to East-Central Europe to see how they could be involved. I was hired, for instance, by the American Friends Service Committee to travel through the region and conduct interviews with leading activists and NGO representatives to see how AFSC could help. During my travels, I met with many other outsiders eager to pitch in. In...
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