Abraham Brumberg (1926–2008) was an essayist, editor and translator. His memoir, Journey Through Vanishing Worlds, was published by New Academia in 2007.

Not So Free At Last

August 24 of this year was the first anniversary of the independent state of Ukraine—the new state proclaimed a few days after the failed coup in Moscow and approved by all but a small minority of Ukrainians in December 1991. Many Russians are still bewildered by the loss of so …

Whose Crimea?

Simferopol, capital of Crimea, is a sprawling, dusty town on the shores of the Black Sea. On the square in front of the Supreme Soviet, overgrown with weeds, are scattered small open tents, rickety shacks, and tables piled with books, brochures, leaflets, and petitions that are handed out by middle-aged …

The Road to Minsk

The collapse of the Soviet Union has been hailed by much of the Western press as prefiguring a new and hopeful era in contemporary history. True, there have been occasional pleas for caution and some grim prognostications. Secretary of State Baker has said we must wait to see what will …

Russia After Perestroika

On April 24, 1991, Pravda published the text of a joint statement signed by Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, the chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federal Republic, as well as the leaders of Byelorussia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kirgizia, and Turkenistan. Georgia and the Baltic Republics were …

The Turning Point?

The country facing Mikhail Gorbachev on his return from the Washington summit is more troubled and discontented than at any other time since he took office—not only gripped by fear of sharply rising prices and the worst food shortages in decades but more mistrustful of Gorbachev himself than ever before, …

Moscow: The Struggle for Reform

I arrived in Moscow in December, for the first time in nearly thirteen years. When I was last in the Soviet Union in 1975, no one except outspoken dissidents would talk to me freely, unless we were sitting together in a park or in some out-of-the-way restaurant. This time I …

Poland: The New Opposition

On Sunday, November 29, more than 17 million Polish citizens, among a total population of 37 million, went to the polls to vote in the second referendum ever held in Communist Poland (the first was a rigged vote of approval of the Communist provisional government in 1947). The voters were …

A New Deal in Poland?

For the Poles the decree of September 11, 1986, seemed one of the most astonishing events in recent history. No one had expected it. All of Poland’s political prisoners, the official announcement said, would be released within five days. Zbigniew Bujak, the head of Solidarity’s Provisional Coordinating Committee (TKK), who …

The Ghost in Poland

Anti-Semitism continues to haunt Poland, long after the country’s once populous Jewish community has ceased to exist. As a Polish Catholic writer once bitterly observed, “Polish anti-Semitism…succeeded in achieving something difficult as well as appalling—it out-lived the Polish Jews themselves.”[^1] Many Polish intellectuals—whether Catholic, liberal, social democratic—have condemned the hatred …

After Gdansk: Two Interviews

Jan Litynski, thirty-four years old, studied mathematics at the University of Warsaw and has been active in the student and opposition movements in Poland since the late 1960s. He is one of the co-founders of the Committee for Social Self-Defense (KOR) and a member of the editorial board of the …

The Open Political Struggle in Poland

Most of the reports on the new pope have had something to say about his part in the political opposition in Poland, but few have given any clear sense of who takes part in that opposition or how, over the last two years, it has become one of the most …