Europe
Murder in Moscow

Murder in Moscow

Former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov was shot dead as he walked from Red Square arm-in-arm with Anna Durytska, a 23 year-old Ukrainian model, just days before he was set to appear before an anti-war rally. The assassination has opened up an array of questions for Russian society, none of which will easily be ignored. More»

SYRIZA, Take Two

SYRIZA, Take Two

Few ruling parties have their legacies written and the successes and failures declared in less than a month’s time in power, but left-wing critics have decided there are new rules for SYRIZA, the radical left coalition elected in Greece at the end of January. More»

Ukraine in Half-Sentences

Ukraine in Half-Sentences

‘When talking about Ukraine, the Western left rarely talks about the Ukrainians’. These words, spoken by a Ukrainian expatriate in London, have resonated since the start of the crisis, as those of all political sympathies or none have formed convictions and preconceptions on where they should stand. More»

Favelas in Lisbon

Favelas in Lisbon

Last Thursday night, Portuguese police once again embroiled themselves in brutal violence in the outskirts of Lisbon. Officers have been known to beat and shoot civilians, as well as known social and anti-racist activists, in Cova da Moura. More»

Trade Versus Democracy

Trade Versus Democracy

It was in late March last year that LBC Radio hosted a debate between Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, and UKIP chief Nigel Farage, over whether the UK should leave the European Union. It was meant to be a reasoned debate, where the opposing cases on the EU could be heard and judged by the British public. But, as to be expected, it failed. More»

The Right To Be Wrong

The Right To Be Wrong

The horrifying quality of the attacks at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo and at the Hyper Cacher market in Porte de Vincennes continues to roil Europe. The immediate aftermath saw outpourings of support for the periodical, in particular, and for “free speech” in general, although the definition of the latter was (and continues to be) a matter of some debate. More»

Someone Else's Problem

Someone Else’s Problem

Sometimes it’s easier to perceive a country’s most pressing problems when you don’t speak the language. It was August, 1986. I had only been in Germany a few weeks. All I could really say were sentences like “It is X” and “I am Y”. Understanding others was even harder. But I had already figured out that the words Obdachlosen and Asylanten were crucial for understanding the nation’s future. More»

Will Putin Fall?

Will Putin Fall?

The Russian economy faces crises on multiple fronts: currency devaluation, crashing energy prices, and Western sanctions. This is very bad news for Vladimir Putin, who has straddled the imbalances of post-Communist society for over fifteen years now. His only recourse has been to appeal to Soviet nostalgia and chauvinist nationalism in equal measure. More»

Germany Without Racism

Germany Without Racism

Germany’s fractured twentieth-century history gives racism a different meaning there than it has in the United States, Great Britain or France. The lack of an unbroken colonial legacy and the immigration to which it inevitably leads made people of African and East Asian descent relatively uncommon. Those who did settle down came primarily as guest workers or asylum seekers. And the Holocaust further complicated matters. More»

Die Entzauberung der Welt

Die Entzauberung der Welt

When I was a teen, a boy I loved left me. I was heartbroken. Yes, it was something every girl experiences, but still, it hurts every time it happens. Nothing could fix this feeling, or make things better. My friend Mandy told me about a wonderful fortune teller in our neighborhood, who was reading tarot cards, coffee cups and giving advice to anybody who would pay her. More»

A New European Communism

A New European Communism

After the sad reality of the extreme and populist right-wing gains in the European elections last May, a sober look at the European Union, and what the left should do, is long overdue. More»

Putin's Georgian Adversary

Putin’s Georgian Adversary

I was writing a long SMS to a man who was once a powerful political figure in Georgia. He was a progressive reformer and fighter of corruption and subsequently has become a major source of political knowledge here and abroad. I was expecting a reply packed with just enough wisdom to be used for a good article quote, when suddenly I received a one short note: “What a Twit.” More»