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EU-Ukraine Relations after the Ukrainian Parliamentary Elections: A "Plan B" for Brussels's Policies towards Kyiv
Dr. Andreas Umland - 12/22/2012
ABSTRACT: After the manipulated elections to Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada in October 2012, Brussels' relations with Kyiv are in deadlock. Ukraine is not fulfilling the conditions for signing the already initialed Association Agreement with the EU. Against this background, we outline an eight-point plan of further and alternative actions. We recommend (1) a clearer EU statement on the preconditions for signing the Association Agreement, (2) leaking the Agreement's text, (3) signing Association Agreements with Moldova and Georgia, (4) offering these two countries conditional EU membership perspectiv...
Safrastyan: Time to transfer genocide recognition issue to legal aspect
Prof. Ruben Safrastyan, Ph.D. - 5/27/2012
The Hundredth anniversary of Armenian Genocide will be marked in 2015. Achievements accomplished in recognition process of genocide and its condemnation so far, as well as expectations towards 2015 have been highlighted with Ruben Safrastyan, director at Oriental Studies Institute.
The Hubris of East Europe's Peasants
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/19/2011
The denizens of the former Soviet and socialist countries are marked by their resistance to learning from others. Now that the West is mired in multiple troubles and failures, they feel that their way of life and their mentality, their choices and their policies have been vindiacted and are superior to the West's. Smug hubris is everywhere I look. Add to this access to the Internet, this great equalizer of the stupid, and everyone in these shabby countries - from Macedonia to Russia - holds himself or herself to be a genius and not in need of further edification.
EU and NATO Policies in Eastern Europe: Contradictory or Complementary?
Dr. Andreas Umland - 6/11/2011
When evaluating the role of various Western organizations in current Western policies towards Eastern Europe, one should keep in mind that the 28 NATO and 27 EU member countries have 21 countries in common.
Martial Law in Poland: A Precursor to Communism’s downfall
Michael Werbowski - 2/22/2010
“Solidarity in Poland successfully defied communist martial law for almost a decade and compelled a political compromise that ended the communist monopoly of power, which then precipitated the upheavals in neighbouring Czechoslovakia and Hungary, culminating in the collapse of the Berlin Wall.”
The Battle of Books against Television in Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/3/2010
The cramped offices of Toper, Macedonia's leading publisher of reference works, are a shrine to the book. Thickset tomes - mainly translations from the English - are strewn everywhere. The proud owners show us their latest crop: two beautifully bound, quality paper volumes - the Concise Britannica with more than 14,000 entries.
Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Global Recession and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/4/2008
Part I. The Republic of Macedonia - A Case Study (2007)
Ever since its reluctant declaration of independence in 1991, Macedonia occupied the bottom of the list of countries in transition from Communism, as far as absolute dollar figures of FDI go. At 80.6 million USD, FDI in 2003 barely budged from previous years. In 2004, FDI reached 139.5 million USD, only to shrink to 116.2 million USD in 2005. Discounting the sale of ESM, the electricity utility, FDI remained static in 2006 (total FDI was 350.7 million USD or 124.7 million USD, without ESM).
Straf - Corruption in Central and Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/31/2007
The three policemen barked "straf", "straf" in unison. It was a Russianized version of the German word for "fine" and a euphemism for bribe. I and my fiancée were stranded in an empty ally at the heart of Moscow, physically encircled by these young bullies, an ominous propinquity. They held my passport ransom and began to drag me to a police station nearby. We paid.
Is Transition from Communism Possible?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/11/2007
Can Socialist Professors of Economics Teach Capitalism? Is Transition from Communism Possible? Lest you hold your breath to the end of this article - the answers to both questions in the title are no and no. Capitalism cannot be "learned" or "imported" or "emulated" or "simulated". Capitalism (or, rather, liberalism) is not only a theoretical construct. It is not only a body of knowledge. It is a philosophy, an ideology, a way of life, a mentality and a personality.
The Criminality of Transition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/5/2007
Human vice is the most certain thing after death and taxes, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin. The only variety of economic activity, which will surely survive even a nuclear holocaust, is bound to be crime. Prostitution, gambling, drugs and, in general, expressly illegal activities generate c. 400 billion USD annually to their perpetrators, thus making crime the third biggest industry on Earth (after the medical and pharmaceutical industries).
Eastern Europe: Leapfrogging to Cellular
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/15/2006
The government of former Yugoslavia, usually strapped for cash, has agreed to purchase 29 percent of Telekom Srbija, of which it already owns 51 percent. It will pay the seller, Italia International, close to $200 million. The Greek telecom, OTE, owns the rest.
Europe's Four Speeds
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/16/2006
Pomp and circumstance often disguise a sore lack of substance. The three days summit of the Central European Initiative is no exception. Held in Macedonia's drab capital, Skopje, the delegates including the odd chief of state, discussed their economies in what was presumptuously dubbed by them the "small Davos", after the larger and far more important annual get together in Switzerland.
Pharmaceuticals in Central and East Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/4/2006
Novartis, the Swiss drug giant announced in January 2003 that it will unite its 14 brands of generic drugs under the Sandoz name, harking back to its origins as a manufacturer of affordable, off-patent, medication and raw materials ("active ingredients"). The rebranding will engulf the company's central and east European units, including Biochemie in Austria and Azupharma in Germany - but not Lek in Slovenia.
Healthcare in Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/27/2006
Transition has trimmed Russian life expectancy by well over a decade. People lead brutish and nasty lives only to expire in their prime, often inebriated. In the republics of former Yugoslavia, respiratory and digestive tract diseases run amok. Stress and pollution conspire to reap a grim harvest throughout the wastelands of eastern Europe. The rate of Tuberculosis in Romania exceeds that of sub-Saharan Africa.
The Role of Central Banks in Banking Crises
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/11/2006
Central banks are relatively new inventions. An American President (Andrew Jackson) even cancelled its country's central bank in the nineteenth century because he did not think that it was very important. But things have changed since. Central banks today are the most important feature of the financial systems of most countries of the world.
Eastern Europe: The Mendicant Journalists
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/3/2006
Aleksandr Plotnikov died in June 2002 in his dacha. He was murdered. He has just lost a bid to restore his control of a local paper in Tyumen Oblast in Russia. Media ownership is frequently a lethal business in eastern Europe. The same week, Ukrainian National Television deputy chief, Andryi Feshchenko, was found dead in a jeep in a deserted street of Kyiv. Prosecutors suspect that he was forced to take his life at gunpoint.
Eastern Europe: The Bones of the Grenadier
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/9/2006
The (cyclical) victory of capitalism led westerners of all colours and stripes to believe in solving problems by throwing money at them. Prosperity, international trade, foreign investment, globalization and joint ventures are the new magic formulas. Mathematically put this superstition is often presented thus: the propensity to fight decreases in direct proportion to the amount of economic common interests of the potential rivals. Thus, instead of tackling core issues - the West tries to drown them in a green deluge of US dollars. Where the west should have tackled a corrupt and autocratic me...
Eastern European Arms Sales to Rogue States
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/25/2005
In a desperate bid to fend off sanctions, the Bosnian government banned In October 2002 all trade in arms and munitions. A local, Serb-owned company was documented by the State Department selling spare parts and maintenance for military aircraft to Iraq via Yugoslav shell companies.
Post-Communist Nation: Micromanaging Malignant Optimism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/20/2005
"(America risks adopting)... a grasshopper mode - peripatetic, noisy, hopping into other people's backyards, and unready when the weather turns nasty."
Soccer: The East European League In Development
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/12/2005
The Champions League is a rich man's club, complain football teams from nine south and east European countries. They are bent on setting up an alternative dubbed the "Eastern League". The revolt is led by Dinamo Bucharest and Greece's Olympiakos Pireu and has been joined by 14 other clubs: Steaua and Rapid from Romania, The Turkish Galatasaray Istanbul and Besiktas PAOK Salonic of Greece, the Serbian Steaua and Partizan Belgrade, Hajduk Split from Croatia, the Cyrpiot Apoel Nicosia, Maribor from Slovenia, the Bulgarian teams TSKA Sofia and Levski Sofia and the Ukrainian contributions of Shakhtor Donestk and Dinamo Kiev.
The European Bank for the Retardation of Development
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/11/2005
In typical bureaucratese, the pensive EBRD analyst ventures with the appearance of compunction: "A number of projects have fallen short of acceptable standards (notice the passive, exculpating voice - SV) and have put the reputation of the bank at risk". If so, very little was risked. The outlandish lavishness of its City headquarters, the apotheosis of the inevitable narcissism of its first French Chairman (sliding marble slabs, motion sensitive lighting and designer furniture) - is, at this stage, its only tangible achievement. In the territories of its constituencies and shareholders it is ...
The Demonetization of Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/16/2005
In December 2002, Poland decided to purchase 48 F-16 Falcons from Lockheed Martin Corporation - an American defense contractor. Pegged at $3.5 billion, this is the biggest defense order ever issued by an east or central European country. The financial package includes soft loans and a massive offset program - purchases from Polish manufacturers that more than erase the costs of the deal in foreign exchange.
Vojvodina - The Hungarian Kosovo
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/13/2005
In October 2005, Parliamentary Assembly of Europe members tabled a draft resolution castigating the human rights situation in the province of Vojvodina. As EU accession looms larger for Serbia and Montenegro, such resolutions are bound to proliferate. Vojvodina is widely regarded as a test case and the touchstone of Serbia's post-Milosevic reforms.
Pathological Envy in Post-Communism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/4/2005
The distinction between fiction and non-fiction became ever subtler in the "Underground" world of post-socialism, "After the Rain" of communism. In a lethal embrace, in an act of unprecedented intercourse, literature penetrated reality as only the most fervent lovers or the most avid haters do. A topsy turvy continent adrift among the gales of newspeak, under the gaze of a million grey bureaucrats passing for big brothers. A motion picture gone awry: the plot long forgotten, the actors wondering forlornly on a dilapidated scene and the credits flashing over and again, in an endless loop.
How the West Lost the East
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/18/2005
The Pew Research Center published in December 2002 a report expansively titled "What the World Thinks in 2002". "The World", reduced to 44 countries and 38,000 interviewees, included 3500 respondent from central and east Europe: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Uzbekistan stood in for the formerly Soviet central Asia. The Times-Mirror 1991 survey, "The Pulse of Europe" was used as a benchmark.
Game Theory: Could Western Techniques Be Implemented In Eastern Europe?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/14/2005
Could Western management techniques be successfully implemented in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)? Granted, they have to be adapted, modified and cannot be imported in their entirety. But their crux, their inalienable nucleus – can this be transported and transplanted in CEE? Theory provides us with a positive answer. Human agents are the same everywhere and are mostly rational. Practice begs to differ. Basic concepts such as the money value of time or the moral and legal meaning of property are non existent. The legal, political and economic environments are all unpredictab...
Eastern Europe: Switching Empires
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/11/2005
European Union (EU) leaders, meeting in Copenhagen in December 2002, signed an agreement to admit ten new members to their hitherto exclusive club. On May 1, 2004, they were officially admitted to the EU. Eight of the fortunate acceders are former communist countries: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. Bulgaria and Romania are tentatively slated to join in 2007. The exercise cost in excess of $40 billion over the next three years. The EU's population grew by 75 million souls.
Migration To Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/10/2005
The 2003 census in Russia, the first since 1989, found more than 2 million immigrants in residence. The Macedonian Ministry of the Interior, based on initial census figures, estimates that there are well over 20,000 foreigners in this country of 2 million people.
East European Media
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/27/2005
"I have gone into the outer darkness of scientific and philosophical transactions and proceedings, ultra-respectable, but covered with the dust of disregard. I have descended into journalism. I have come back with the quasi-souls of lost data."
Charles Hoy Fort in "The Book of the Damned"
"Let me have the three major American networks and three leading newspapers for a year and I'll bring back public lynchings and racial war in the US."
Charles Simic quoting a Belgrade journalist
"We do not have censorship. What we have is a limitation on what newspapers can report."
Louis Nel, Deputy Minister of Information, South Africa
East Europe's Expat Experts
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/27/2005
In "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", Lewis Carroll wrote:
"Curtsy while you're thinking of something to say. It saves time."
What a missed career. He should have been an expat expert. To paraphrase a sentence originally written about women (no misogynism implied): "What else is a foreign consultant but a foe to friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil nature, painted with fair colours?" (Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, They Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image (London: Pe...
Understanding East Europeans - The Magla Vocables
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/26/2005
The Macedonians have a word for it - "Magla", fog. It signifies the twin arts of duplicity and ambiguity. In the mental asylum that the swathe of socialist countries was, even language was pathologized. It mutated into a weapon of self defence, a verbal fortification, a medium without a message, replacing words with vocables. Easterners (in this text, the unfortunate residents of the Kafkaesque landscape which stretches between Russia and Albania) don't talk or communicate. They fend off. They hide and evade and avoid and disguise. In the planet of capricious and arbitrary unpredictability, of...
Communism and The Rip van Winkle Institutions
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/26/2005
The West - naive, provincial and parochial - firmly believed that the rot was confined to the upper echelons of communist and socialist societies. Beneath the festering elites - the theory went - there are wholesome masses waiting to be liberated from the shackles of corruption, cronyism, double-talk and manipulation. Given half a decent chance, these good people will revert to mature capitalism, replete with functioning institutions. It was up to the West to provide these long deprived people with this eagerly awaited chance.
East Europe's Eureka Connection
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/25/2005
A common, guttural cry of "Eureka" echoed as the peoples of East Europe and the Balkans emerged from the Communist steam bath. It was at once an expression of joy and disbelief. That the West should be willing to bankroll the unravelling of a failed social experiment, freely entered into, exceeded the wildest imaginings. That it would do so indefinitely and with no strings attached was a downright outlandish fortuity.
The Author of This Article is a Racist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/24/2005
Or, so say many of the readers who react vehemently - not to say minaciously - to my articles. They insist that I demonize, chastise, disparage, deride and hold in contempt groups of people simply and solely because they are born in a given geographical area or are of a given genetic stock. Few stop sufficiently long to notice that the above two accusations contravene each other. A territory as vast as Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) cannot and is not inhabited by one "race". It is an historical cocktail of colours and origins and languages and bloodlines. Disregarding the pan-Slavic myth for a minute, a racist would find the CEE a very discouraging neighbourhood.
Taxonomy of Political Conflict In Central and Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/21/2005
When the current government of Macedonia came to power and I signed on as its economic advisor, I was asked by local journalists, with genuine amazement: "what are you doing with these villagers?" "Villagers" is just about the most pejorative word applied here to rivals and adversaries. In a Macedonian, the word evokes the image of uncouth, rough-hewn and yahoo usufructuaries.
The Golden Sham - Privatizing with Golden Shares
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/12/2005
In a rare accord, both the IMF and independent analysts, have cautioned Bulgaria in early 2002 that its insistence on keeping golden shares in both its tobacco and telecom monopolies even after they are privatized - will hinder its ability to attract foreign investors to these already unappealing assets. Bulgaria's $300 million arrangement with the IMF - struck in late 2001 by the new and youthful Minister of Finance in the Saxe-Coburg government - was not at risk, though.
Electricity Markets in Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/8/2005
Russia's lower house, the Duma, debated, in November 29, 2002 a far reaching reform in the bloated and inefficient electricity generation sector. Worried by resurging inflation, the Russian government scrapped its plan to allow the Federal Energy Commission to fix tariffs for gas, power, and railways. A Commission spokesman complained to Moscow Times that government officials have overridden its authority to regulate the prices of natural monopolies. It threatened to take the matter to court.
The Capitalist Experiment in Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/8/2005
The implosion of communism was often presented - not least by Francis Fukuyama in his celebrated "The End of History" - as the incontrovertible victory of economic liberalism over Marxism. In truth, the battle raged for seven decades between two strands of socialism.
Slovenia - The Star Pupil
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/31/2005
The most exciting event in Slovenia in December 2001 was when a group of young army recruits spat on the national flag and sang the anthem of the now defunct former Yugoslavia. They were sent to a military psychiatrist for observation. Indeed, economically speaking, a preference for any other part of the late Federation over Slovenia would indicate mental deformity.
The Great Deception: An Interview With Petr Cibulka on Communism in Czech Republic
Ryan Mauro - 5/26/2005
Q: What is the European and Czech people's opinion about America in Iraq and the war in general and what is the official press saying about it?
The New Europeans
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/25/2005
Many of the nations of central and east Europe have spent most of their history as components of one empire or another. People in this region are used to be at the receiving end of directives and planning from the center. Though ostensibly fervid nationalists, they are ill at ease with their re-founded and re-found nation-states.
Interview with Vladimir Hucin: The Communists Strive for Power in Europe
Ryan Mauro - 4/19/2005
RM: Mr. Hucin, there were charges against you that you discussed with JR Norqvist in March 2002. Can you update us on what has happened regarding your case since then?
VH: The Constitutional Court (CR) decided that judicial decision of custody, its extension, was unlawful. There were also attempts made to exclude my defense lawyer, former BIS director Stanislav Devaty, from my process, with an intentional excuse of him not having a security clearance. Even here, the Constitutional Court decided in this matter, and with its promulgation of a judgment it was decided there there is no need for my defense lawyer to be subjected to a security clearance.
Foreign Direct Investment in Central and East Europe During Global Recession
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/17/2005
The brief global recession of the early years of this decade - which was neither prolonged, nor trenchant and all-pervasive, as widely predicted - had little effect on Central and Eastern Europe's traditional export markets. The region were spared the first phase of financial gloom which affected mainly mergers, acquisitions and initial public offerings. Few multinationals scrapped projects, scaled back overseas expansion and canceled long-planned investments.
Eastern Europe's Change of Climate
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/6/2005
The 185 member states of the United Nations Climate Change Convention will meet shortly to contemplate what steps may be needed to implement the Kyoto protocol, now ratified by more than 130 countries, including Russia and the European Union. Signatories have ten years - starting in 2003 - to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases.