Osteuropa

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On 19 October, the European Court of Justice issued an injunction on Polish laws that the European Commission claims undermine the separation of powers in the country. On the political substance of a highly complex, legalistic assault on democratic institutions and the question of how far the ECJ ruling is likely to put a halt to a process well underway.

Oleg Sentsov’s hunger strike has reached a critical stage. Sentsov is calling for the release of all Ukrainians imprisoned in Russia on political grounds. The human rights initiative OVD-Info, in collaboration with the Memorial Centre, has compiled documentation on the 88 prisoners, most of whom are from Crimea.

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In the pursuit of cultural hegemony, Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz government has carried out a full-scale assault on the Hungarian cultural establishment, taking over funding bodies, defaming critics and putting loyalists in positions of influence. The result today is almost total conformity to the Hungarian nationalism of Fidesz and the sidelining of independent culture.

This year marks 100 years since the momentous revolutions in Russia in 1917. The Russian government’s stance on the anniversary is deeply ambivalent, but 2017 offers Ukraine a chance to explore its own centenary of (short-lived) independence, as well as other parts of its national story, as Tatiana Zhurzhenko explains.

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