Brickbats and bouquets after a summer of reflection

A quiet, tranquil August gives our columnist a chance to assess the situation in Europe’s eastern states

Nothing much happens in August, supposedly, which is why European Voice and many of the people it writes about take the month off. Having just returned from my Devon cliff-side retreat (no internet, no mobile phone signal, no television = bliss) my first thought is gratitude. Covering the revolutions in eastern Europe in 1989-91, I was spared the horrors being uncovered in Libya now. The loopy megalomaniac Nicolae Ceaus¸escu built tunnels under Bucharest, and the dying days of his Romanian regime involved a lot of rather mysterious shooting, but nowhere in the region did the new era break with a frantic search for prisoners in hidden bunkers, or the stench of decomposing bodies. 

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