Eastern Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron (right) jokes with U.S. President Donald Trump (center) next to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) as they arrive for the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11, 2018.

Don’t Blame Turkey for NATO’s Woes

Emmanuel Macron thinks the Atlantic alliance is brain-dead, but its problems have deeper roots than the recent U.S.-Turkish spat over Syria.

Gergely Karacsony addresses an audience in Budapest, Hungary, after his victory in the capital city's mayoral election.

Europe’s Populist Governments Have a Problem: Their Capitals

City-level opposition could be the key to defeating populism in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and beyond.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with his Lithuanian counterpart, Saulius Skvernelis.

Lithuania Is Forming a New Relationship With Its Past—and With Israel

As political ties flourish, the country is taking tenuous steps to confront its Holocaust history. But it hasn’t gone far enough.

Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain on the third day of Turkey's military operation.

Our Top Weekend Reads

Turkey bombs Syrian Kurds, Poland goes to the polls, and the NBA bows to Chinese pressure.

European flags wave in front of the Berlaymont building in Brussels on Jan. 14. (Michele Spatari/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

For Eastern Europe, Brussels Is the New Moscow

After upcoming elections in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania, healing Europe’s east-west divide will be more urgent than ever.

Protesters hold a giant Polish national flag during a demonstration against a judicial reform pushed through by the right-wing government but criticised by the EU as a threat to judicial independence on July 24, 2018 in Warsaw.

Poland Is Purging Its Prosecutors

The PiS government is rooting out, relocating, and demoting political critics in the name of judicial reform.

Bosnian women flee Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Oct. 31, 1992.

For Bosnian Women, No Justice—and No Seats

In the Balkan wars, women were targets. In postwar governments, they’ve been pushed out of sight.

Ukraine's then-president, Petro Poroshenko, listens to then-presidential candidate and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky during an election debate in Kiev on April 19.

Once Again, Ukraine Steps Into the Unknown

A comedian-turned-president, a rockstar-turned-party leader, and a sea of new faces in the parliament: Meet the new political reality in Ukraine.

Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage (L) speaks with European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans (R) prior to a debate concerning Hungary's situation during a plenary session at the European Parliament on September 11, 2018 in Strasbourg, France.

Europe Must Not Allow Enemies of Democracy to Choose the Next EU Commissioner

The illiberal leaders of Hungary and Poland falsely claim Frans Timmermans would divide Europe. What they really fear is his commitment to the rule of law.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Pope Francis inspect an honor guard at the presidential palace in Bucharest on May 31.

Pope Francis’s Warning

A transcript of the pontiff’s remarks in Romania.

Romanian orphans in a Bucharest orphanage shortly after the December Revolution in 1989.

What Actually Happens When a Country Bans Abortion

Romania under Ceausescu created a dystopian horror of overcrowded, filthy orphanages, and thousands died from back-alley abortions.

Volodymyr Zelensky celebrates after the announcement of the first exit poll results in the second round of Ukraine’s presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev on April 21.

Ukraine’s Pretend President Now Faces a Real Test

In his fight against corruption, Zelensky will face real challenges—not least from his own constituents.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban shake hands at a summit of 16 Central and Eastern European leaders looking to woo Chinese investment in Bucharest on Nov. 25, 2013. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images)

How China Blew Its Chance in Eastern Europe

Seven years on, the 16+1 project has largely flopped.

Presidential candidate Zuzana Caputova (C) waits for the first exit polls at her election headquarters during the first round of the presidential elections in Bratislava, Slovakia, on March 16, 2019.

Can Zuzana Caputova Save Slovakia?

A political newcomer is poised to become president by standing up for liberal democratic values—and seeking to halt the spread of right-wing populism across Central and Eastern Europe.

Participants at a gay pride festival in Prague celebrate on Aug. 17, 2013. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)

Can the Czech Republic Tear Down Europe’s Rainbow Curtain?

Eastern Europe has long resisted same-sex marriage. Prague might be about to change that.

A woman sits in front of a riot police cordon after a standoff during a demonstration against Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic outside the presidential building in Belgrade, on March 17, 2019.

Serbia’s Protests Aren’t the Beginning of a Balkan Spring

Demonstrations against Aleksandar Vucic’s authoritarian government won’t achieve anything until the opposition can present a coherent alternative.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech under the rain during celebrations for Navy Day in Baltiysk in the Kaliningrad region on July 26, 2015.

Don’t Believe the Russian Hype

Moscow’s missile capabilities in the Baltic Sea region are not nearly as dangerous as they seem.

An elderly woman casts her ballot in a mobile ballot box in Bardar, Moldova on Feb. 24, 2019. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images)

People of the World, Stop Looking at Moldova!

Politicians in this corner of Eastern Europe insist their country is a stage for geopolitical rivalry between the West and Russia—the better to profit from the attention.

Joan Wong illustration for Foreign Policy/Photos by Andriy OnufriyenkoSTR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

You Only Wish You Had Ukraine’s Democracy

Despite attacks from abroad and corruption at home, Ukrainian democracy isn't failing—it's thriving.

Vice-chairman of the Momentum party Anna Donath at a protest in downtown Budapest on Dec. 16, 2018. (Peter Kohalmi/AFP/Getty Images)

Hungary Finally Has an Opposition Worth a Damn

The country’s youngest party has united the left and right against Viktor Orban.