Eastern Europe

The fall of Stalinism in Eastern Europe — Workers' Liberty 3/25

Download as pdf, or read online below. Timeline Introduction 1. The risen people: Eastern Europe after the revolutions 2. What’s in the coffin at the funeral of socialism? 3. Lies against socialism answered 4. Stalin’s system collapses 5. Why socialists should support the banning of the CPSU 6. The triumph of unreason: market madness in the ex-USSR 7. What was the Bolsheviks’ conception of the 1917 revolution? 8. Why the workers want to restore capitalism 9. In the beginning was the critique of capitalism 10. An open letter to Ernest Mandel 11. Trotsky and the collapse of Stalinism 12. And...

Belarus: strike plans from 25 October

On 13 October, following increasing attacks and imprisonments on protestors in Belarus, exiled oppositionist Svetlana Tikhanovskaya gave her “People’s Ultimatum” to president Lukashenko. Tikhanovskaya was the challenger to Lukashenko in the rigged 9 August election. She declared that if political prisoners (now running into thousands, including leaders of the liberal opposition, are not released); if Lukashenko doesn’t stand down; and if the attacks on protesters on the streets don’t stop, then she would call on Belarusians to “paralyse the life of our country” from 25 October. The following...

Belarus: crackdown and gestures

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, opposition candidate in Belarus’s rigged 9 August election, declared on Telegram on 13 October: “The regime has 13 days to fulfill three main requirements: 1. Lukashenko must leave. 2. Street violence must stop completely. 3. All political prisoners must be released. If our demands are not met by 25 October, the whole country will peacefully take to the streets with the People’s Ultimatum.” Evidently the opposition assesses that it is strong enough at least to have a chance of this “ultimatum” having at least some force. Sunday 11 October saw street protests again...

Over 10,000 protesters jailed in Belarus

On 4 October 100,000 people marched through Minsk in the latest mass protest against the rigging of the presidential election of 9 August. It was the 57th day of protests, and the ninth successive Sunday of mass demonstrations in the country’s capital. Despite some two months having passed since the election, the size of the demonstration in Minsk, and smaller demonstrations in other Belarussian cities and towns, shows that the anti-Lukashenko opposition remains as determined as ever to win its demands: a re-run of the presidential election; the release of all political prisoners; and...

Belarus workers press for strikes

Belarusian workers with a banner saying "Strike" in Russian Belarus’s dictator Lukashenko held his inauguration for a new term as president on 23 September, but protests continue. Universities had resumed and many students had joined demonstrations and sit-down protests held throughout the week. The weekend demonstrations were slightly smaller in Minsk on 26-27 September, but they continue to spread and grow outside the capital. The police response gets increasingly violent and threatening. In Grodno, shots were fired over the heads of demonstrators. Sub-machine guns were brandished by police...

The nature of the Lukashenko regime

While Belarusian and Russian troops have been staging joint military exercises ("Slavic Brotherhood 2020"), Belarus President Lukashenko's story about the events reveals the undemocratic nature of his regime. The current wave of protests, claims Lukashenko, is the product of ten years of preparations by the USA and its "satellites" — Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Ukraine — each of which "has had their own role to play". "Just as in Syria and Venezuela" attempts were made to undermine the electoral base of the country's leader. Tactics "borrowed from the Arab, Armenian, Polish and...

Belarus workers fight for democracy

Again on 19-20 September, mass demonstrations across Belarus demanded democracy. The last two Saturdays have seen tens of thousands of women in the capital, Minsk. They have faced police attacks, but the last two Sunday demonstrations have both attracted over 150,000. The women defended each other heroically — stopping state security arresting their comrades and pulling off the balaclavas behind which the security thugs hide their identity. One hero of the women's marches is 74 year old Nina Baginskaya. Escaping arrest on 12 September, she was eventually arrested at the 19 September...

Giant Belarus potash mine joins strikes

The slogans for the massive demonstrations on 13 September across Belarus, including one of 100,000 in Minsk, included “We won’t let him [neo-Stalinist president Alexander Lukashenko] sell the country”. Police attacked demonstrators, and even the official government figure said 774 had been arrested. Incidents caught on camera show that the police are now, for the first time, willing to openly use violence against female protesters – but also women fighting back successfully. The protests are not fading. Strikes have also continued to spread. The workers’ committee at the huge Beluruskali...

Belarus: calculation or confusion?

The Morning Star is usually clear-cut on international issues: for them (and their political masters, the Communist Party of Britain), the world is divided pretty neatly into goodies and baddies. The goodies are the “anti-imperialist” forces (Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.) and regimes like Cuba, Iran and Venezuela. The baddies are the US (with or without Trump), the EU and all liberal democracies. Putin doesn’t quite fit into the Morning Star’s neat division of the world, but it’s pretty obvious that on the whole, they reckon he’s more sinned against than sinning. First and foremost amongst the...

Jiři Menzel: 1938-2020

One of the great European “auteurs”, Jiři Menzel, has died aged 82. He is one of the last of a generation of film directors the likes of which will never be seen again. They included his fellow Czechs Miloš Forman and Vera Chytilova, the Hungarians Miklós Jancsó, Marta Mészáros and István Szabó, and, from Poland, Andrzej Wajda. From the Soviet Union, Andrei Tarkovsky and Elem Klimov. From other parts of Europe: Theo Angelopoulos from Greece, the doyens of the French New Wave such as Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Agnes Varda, Germany’s Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Margarette von Trotta...

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