Romania has 275 kilometers of Black Sea coastline. The country tries to attract tourists by touting its sandy beaches, temperate climate, spas, and resort hotels. It’s tough competition. I met a couple of Romanians who said straight out that they prefer to vacation along Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. And Turkey is a more popular destination… Continue reading Romania’s Resort Tourism
The classic novel about government structures in East-Central Europe is Franz Kafka’s The Castle. A land surveyor, K., arrives in a provincial town after being summoned for a meeting at the local Castle. But the summons apparently has been sent in error. The land surveyor tries to visit the Castle to get to the bottom… Continue reading Making the Castle Transparent
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… Continue reading The Disappearance of the Political Middle
Every few years in East-Central Europe, a new political movement emerges that challenges not only the status quo but the very substance of the political system. Sometimes the movement targets the party patronage system. Sometimes it focuses on the corruption that enriches those who participate in governance. Sometimes it elevates a set of issues that… Continue reading Can Politics Be Different?
During the Vietnam War, the United States dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos, which was, per capita, the most bombed country in history. Nearly one-third of those bombs didn’t explode on contact. It’s been 40 years since the bombing campaign stopped and yet more than 100 people have died over the last couple… Continue reading The Stasi’s Long Shadow