Cold War Leftovers

Yesterday was the celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a symbolic event in the dissolution of the Cold War stasis that had divided Europe since the end of World War II. Many countries of Central and Eastern Europe have emerged from that past to adapt well to market economics and prosper. There have been some nations left behind from the fall of Soviet-led communism in Europe.

  • Belarus – After leaving Russia, this country did not really know what to do and has remained the only remaining dictatorship, headed by Alexander Lukashenko since 1994. It remains one of the poorest countries in Europe, its population still suffers effects from the Chernobyl accident, yet it is also a major conduit for European energy.
  • Transnistria – This is a strange little breakaway republic situated between Moldova and Ukraine broke away after a short war in 1992 and is a relic of the Soviet past much as Belarus is. It uses Moldovan written in Cyrillic and recognizes Russian and Ukrainian as official languages as well. Not much really goes on there other than sporadic border problems yet it still insists on full independence from Moldova proper.
  • Kaliningrad – This is an exclave of Russia situated between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic sea and continues to be held by Russia to maintain its Baltic Fleet. It was formerly a part of the Hanseatic League then became the capital of Prussia. It remains one of the Russia’s few possessions left over from WWII.
  • Bosnia-Hercegovina / Republica Srpska – This Serbian republic within the Bosnian state remains a tough and now ignored political issue within the Balkans. Whereas Kosovo was recognized around the world on the day of its nationhood announcement, the Republica Srpska has been hindered in its efforts to move away from the Bosnian Federation and towards merging with Serbia.