Vol 2, No 1, 10 January 2000
R U S S I A:
Bye Bye Boris
The resignation of Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 31 December surprised many people throughout the world. What came as less of a surprise, however, was the host of misleading and misguided analyses of his resignation from the international press.
H U N G A R Y:
Hungary's new Millennium Law has caused a stir amongst the opposition parties. A potent symbol in Hungarian history, some are now worried that the new position of the crown could lead to the country becoming a royal republic.
U K R A I N E:
On the threshold of change?
After a tumultuous year largely dominated by presidential elections, the end of 1999 didn't bring much hope of calmer waters for Ukraine in 2000. The EU's cold shoulder toward Ukraine's membership hopes at Helsinki in mid-December and last week's departure of Russian President Boris Yeltsin promise to test President Kuchma's fine balancing act between Russia and the West well into 2000. Both events warrant a look back at Ukraine's 1999.
C o n f e r e n c e T a l k
World Bank: Global Conference on Capital Markets Development at the Subnational Level
New York, New York: 15-18 February 2000
Agenda | Fact Sheet
Joint Conference on Corruption
Budapest, Hungary, 29 October to 6 November 1999
Michael J Kopanic Jr
At the beginning of November, a conference took place in Budapest at which academics and politicians from various disciplines attempted to wrap their heads around the phenomenon of corruption - examining both historical precedents and contemporary manifestations. Michael J Kopanic Jr was there and shares some highlights.
L e t t e r s to C E R
Vaknin and Smolens's cynicism of the West's intentions in Central Europe misses the mark. Sure the West wants to do business here, but is that so evil? Western aid and the process of European integration have their flaws, but they are still helping the people of Central Europe, not exploiting them.
|Theme of the week:
Crime and Corruption
When the police states fell apart, crime soared. No surprise there. But the scale and diversity of crime and corruption in the past decade has been astounding.
Stealing the Steelworks
Michael J Kopanic Jr
With friends in high places, Alexander Rezeš picked up the Eastern Slovak Ironworks Holding Company for a song and soon became one of the richest men in post-Communist Slovakia. His story is a perfect example of the kind of brazen corruption which has typified post-Communist transition.
Piotr Przychodzki and
Chronic evasion of debt repayment, legitimized by the mechanism of legal procedures, became one of the key factors contributing to the massive and all encompassing crisis of the Russian Federation.
White Collar Crime, the Police and Corruption
In July of last year, the Hungarian government announced its intention to establish a central co-ordination unit to combat organised crime. This represented official recognition of the fact that white collar crime has become a growth industry in Hungary, both in terms of the sheer number of offences committed and of the amounts involved.
|Crime and Corruption in the CER Archives:
Organized crime in Hungary threatens the country's future and reputation abroad. (28 September 1998)
|Studying Law in Prague?
The long-rumoured corruption at the Charles University Law School has been exposed. (5 July 1999)
|The Carpathian Godfathers
Local businessmen and mafia gangs have come into violent conflict in Brasov. (18 October 1999)
|Lithuanian Parliament Fails to Clean House
The failure to strip the parliamentary mandate of convicted member Audrius Butkevicius. (19 July 1999)
The rule of law may very well prevail on Hungary on paper, but in practice it's a different picture. (26 July 1999)
Estonia is awash with pirates - pirates of music, video and software. (11 October 1999)
|Attila Ambrus: Charming Rascal or Arch Villain?
Hungary's most notorious bank robber, Attila Ambrus, first fascinated the country with an escape from police hands (23 August 1999). But a few months later, he was captured (8 November 1999).
CER's Regular Columnists:
ČULÍK'S CZECH REPUBLIC:
Fiasco at Czech Public Service Television
All the criticism of the lack of hard hitting, informed questioning and the lack of investigative ethos in the news and current affairs programmes on Czech (public service) Television seemed to be justified when the current thirty-year old Chief Executive of Czech TV, Jakub Puchalský, suddenly resigned on 15 December 1999.
The Yuletide Collapse
Romania's Prime Minister was dismissed in and extraordinary and allegedly unconstitutional manner over the Christmas season. This manoeuvre could, though, only serve to destabilise the country at a critical time as it tries to establish some measure of economic prosperity.
History Greets the New Year on the Baltic
As Latvia and Lithuania entered the new year, both countries faced difficult dilemmas stemming from history. The visit of a prominent Holocaust victim and the discovery of one of the most notorious alleged perpetrators of Nazi crimes demanded a revisiting of the two countries' painful wartime occupation.
The Rip van Winkle Institutions
The West long assumed that under the upper echelons of corrupt Communist leaders, there was a mass of ordinary honest people who would propel the former Socialist countries through transition. With transition's failures, it is now becoming clear just how much Communism was a collaborative effect that transcended notions of the oppressors and the oppressed.
Science Fiction of the Domestic
Iakov Protazanov's Aelita
Andrew J Horton
Protazanov's extravaganza is often labelled the first Soviet science-fiction film, and modern audiences often perceive it as being Communist propaganda. The reality is rather different, however, and if anything Aelita argues against the concerns of science fiction. Furthermore, its implicit message is decidedly anti-revolutionary.