Eastern Europe

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.

From left, Rafik Bakhishov, Zafar Ahmadov, and Tofig Yagublu take part in a hunger strike at the headquarters of the opposition party Musavat in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Jan. 15. (Khadija Ismayilova)

Hunger Strike Gains Momentum in Azerbaijan

Seeing Baku as a strategic partner, the United States and Europe overlook rights violations.

Protesters attend an anti-government demonstration in support of abortion rights in Warsaw on April 9, 2016.

Poland Is Trying to Make Abortion Dangerous, Illegal, and Impossible

Ireland voted to liberalize abortion laws. The far-right government in Warsaw is moving in the opposite direction.

Bulgarians light candles during a vigil in memory of Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova in the city of Ruse on Oct. 8. (Photo by Dimitar Dilkoff /AFP/Getty Images)

When Killing the Messenger Becomes the Norm

More journalists are assassinated than die in war zones.

Activists protest during an anti-corruption rally in front of the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on Oct. 22, 2017. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

The Corrupt Shall Inherit Ukraine

In a country where even the anti-corruption prosecutors abuse their power, it's hard to say who the good guys are.

People attend a demonstration against Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Sept. 16 in Budapest as the European Commission considered disciplinary action against Orban's policies. (Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images)

The End of Viktor Orban’s Peacock Dance

As the European Union takes long overdue measures to punish the Hungarian regime, the prime minister appears to be moving from rhetorical to real repression.

Protesters hold a banner reading "Stand up for decent Slovakia" during a protest in Bratislava, Slovakia, on June 22, 2018, four months after the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee.

Press Freedom Is Still Under Attack in Slovakia

A journalist’s murder shocked the country in February, but it hasn’t led to a more independent media.

Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist to U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks at a debate at Zofin Palace on May 22, 2018 in Prague, Czech Republic.

The Nationalist Internationale Is Crumbling

Steve Bannon is trying to sell Trumpism to Eastern Europeans—but shared ideologies die hard when they run into economic and military realities.

A woman is locked up in a transparent suitcase reading "Stop Human Trafficking! 60 Years of Human Rights" on a luggage belt at the airport in Munich, Germany, on December 11, 2008. The Human Rights organization Amnesty International staged the action to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Putin Doesn’t Care about Sex Trafficking

Russia could have done something to prevent sexual exploitation of foreign women during the World Cup. It chose not to.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stepping out of a 212 A submarine of the German Marine in Rostock Warnemuende, northeastern Germany. (JENS BUETTNER/AFP/Getty Images)

3 Versions of Europe Are Collapsing at the Same Time

Post-1945, post-1968, and post-1989 Europe are all different — and none of them make sense anymore.

The first migrants from the Aquarius, a ship that was turned away by Italy and Malta sparking a major migration row in Europe, disembarked at the Spanish port of Valencia on June 17, 2018.

Spain Rescued a Ship. It Won’t Rescue Europe.

The new Spanish prime minister has refused to follow Italy in a race to the bottom, but that doesn’t mean that Madrid will lead the EU to adopt more humane migration policies.

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