East

These Afghan refugees hide in the forests of Vojvodia, Serbia, awaiting the safest moment to cross into Hungary. Photo: Sima Diab/The Guardian.

Hungarian police to patrol border between Serbia and Macedonia

Hungary is sending 20 police officers and will install thermal imaging cameras to help monitor Serbia’s southern borders, in an attempt to stop a growing number of refugees from making their way into the European Union through Macedonia and Serbia. This move follows heightened tension between Budapest and Belgrade, after the Orbán government’s unilateral decision to erect a four metre-high […]

by · June 22, 2015 · East
Asylum-seekers arriving to the borders of the European Union.

Refugee claimants in Hungary and the EU: A statistical overview

According to figures released Thursday by Eurostat, as part of its quarterly report, Germany and Hungary received the most refugees of all member states in the European Union. The number of asylum seekers increased by 86% in the EU. Kosovars formed the single largest group of refugees arriving to EU member states, followed by Syrians and Afghanis. Forty percent of […]

by · June 18, 2015 · East
A mouse on Barbara Bernát's Hungarian national 10 euro note.

Majority of Czechs still oppose the euro and fewer Hungarians support common currency

While the adoption of the euro is off the table in Hungary until at least 2020,  Czech popular opinion remains torn on the issue, with a clear majority still opposing the replacement of the koruna with the common currency, according to a study published this week. CVVM, a scholarly pollster in Prague, found that 69% of Czechs oppose introducing the euro […]

by · May 17, 2015 · East
Troops from the Donetsk People's Republic watch Vladimir Putin on TV. Photo: Reuters.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine likely to erupt again, as sanctions against Putin fail

Ukraine may not be in the headlines at the moment, as a lull in the fighting that claimed over 6,100 lives in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions appears to be largely holding, but both the U.S. State Department and experts on Russian foreign foreign policy strongly suggest that it’s merely a matter of time before the war is reignited. Russia […]

by · May 3, 2015 · East
Liberland: A new self-proclaimed “state” just south of Hungary

Liberland: A new self-proclaimed “state” just south of Hungary

A group of young Czech libertarians planted a flag on a 7 square kilometer tract of land, nestled between Croatia and Serbia, which has been abandoned, uninhabited and disputed since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990’s. The heart-shaped plot of land, located along the shores of the Danube, is considered to be a terra nullius, although according to an agreement […]

by · April 28, 2015 · East
Armenians demonstrate against the Orbán government.

The Armenian genocide and the Orbán government’s shameful stand

By now, I lived most of my adult life in California, and I consider myself a proud citizen of this state, which is also the home to the largest Armenian community outside Armenia. April 24th is the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, and there were commemorations all over California. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the massacre of more than […]

by · April 27, 2015 · East
A flashback to 1990: A Russian customer at the first McDonald's in Moscow gives a thumbs up, standing alongside George Cohon, the chairman of McDonald's Canada. Photo: Rudi Blaha/Associated Press.

A great idea from Moscow: Russia to open state-funded fast food chain

Someone quickly phone Andy Vajna, aspiring Hungarian oligarch and pro-regime filmmaker. There’s a great idea coming out of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and it is sure to resonate in Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Hungary as well. The Russian government has confirmed that it is pumping $13 million (or 680 million rubles) into launching a national and patriotic fast […]

by · April 12, 2015 · East
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, in Kazan, Tatarstan. Photo: Hungary's MFA.

Hungary’s foreign minister gets gushing reception in Tatarstan

The fact that Hungary’s pro-Moscow foreign policy has managed to alienate key partners like the United States, Germany and regional allies within the Visegrád Group isn’t much of a success story for Budapest. But at least Hungary’s 36 year old Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, got an admittedly warm reception in Tatarstan this week, where he inaugurated the Hungarian […]

by · April 11, 2015 · East
German Chancellor Merkel shares a light moment with Klaus Iohannis (left) President of Romania and Jean-Claude Juncker (middle) President of the European Commission

Romania’s new president ignores Orbán’s nationalist rhetoric

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Johannes Bloos the Deputy Consul General of the German Consulate in San Francisco, California. Mr. Bloos is a Saxon; his parents were part of this German speaking community in Brasov, Romania, before they immigrated to Germany. We talked about another Romanian-Saxon, Romania’s new president – Mr. Klaus Iohannis. His recent election was […]

by · March 23, 2015 · East
Christian Reformed from Hungary hand out three bus loads of food in Ruthenia.  Photo: Ákos Stiller, hvg.hu

Humanitarian crisis looms in Ukraine’s multiethnic Ruthenia

The mayor of the Hungarian-dominated town of Beregszász (Berehove) gave a startling glimpse into what a year of war in Ukraine has meant for the western-most region of the country, which is home to over 150,000 ethnic Hungarians, as well as large numbers of Romanians, Roma and Slovaks, in addition to Ukrainians. Mayor Zoltán Babják remarked that the situation in […]

by · March 3, 2015 · East