Russian actions in Ukraine in 2014 have prompted an urgent reassessment of the defense posture of many European nations. The Nordic states in particular are grappling with a 2-decade legacy of defense drawdowns and repositioning for expeditionary warfare. The challenge for these nations is how to resurrect a credible military deterrent in the face of continuing Russian assertiveness. One attractive option is closer defense cooperation between the Nordic states, but moves in this direction are slow and faltering. Continue reading →
Regression to the mean: unveiling a bust of Hungary’s one-time ruler Miklos Horthy, 2013. (Laszlo Balogh / Courtesy Reuters)
Europeans love to celebrate anniversaries, especially those commemorating a terrible past overcome. This year will offer many such moments, marking as it will 100 years since the outbreak of World War I, 75 years since the beginning of World War II, and, most uplifting of all, a quarter century since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Such milestones are bound to make everyone feel good about European unity.
But another important anniversary is less likely to be celebrated, precisely because it would put a damper on those good feelings. Ten years ago, eight eastern European states joined the European Union, followed by Bulgaria and Romania three years later. Europe seemed to have overcome not just Cold War divisions but also deeper historical differences. The EU had brought East and West together, consolidating the fragile democracies that had emerged from the fall of communism. Continue reading →
By Diana Simeonova Published September 13, 2013 AFP
People attend a service marking 35 years since the death of Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian disident killed in London in 1978, in a church in Sofia on September 11, 2013. Bulgaria is set to close a 35-year probe into the spectacular “umbrella killing” of Markov. Markov’s murder has gone down as one of the most daring and extraordinary crimes of the Cold War. (AFP)
Bulgarian dissident Georgy Markov is shown in this undated photo. Markov died on September 11, 1978 after being stabbed with an umbrella while walking across London’s Waterloo Bridge. Markov, 49, developed a high fever and died in hospital four days later. An autopsy revealed a miniscule metal pellet in his thigh that could have contained ricin or some other powerful poison. (AFP/File)