n.36 June 2011

It wasn’t easy to tackle the Japanese crisis so soon after the event itself. With the intensity of 21st-century media coverage, finding subjects that haven’t been covered is challenging. At the same time, we we wanted to dig a little deeper: the earthquake, tsunami and its effects on nuclear power were simply too compelling to bypass. But instead of playing outsiders looking in, we instead asked insiders to tell us what it was like on the ground. In this issue you’ll find reports brave, interesting and believable reports from Stefano Carrer, Simone Pieranni and Diana Santini. Their views, supported by exclusive photos from Paola Ghirotti, represent the meat of our Dossier section. You’ll also find an interview with economist and university professor Pippo Ranci, the former head of Italy’s energy watchdog group, as well an in-depth analysis of ties between China and Japan in the wake of Fukushima crisis. Turning to Central and Eastern Europe, you’ll find a regional “family” economic portrait that examines how each nation has bounced back from the global downturn. We also examine the substantial challenges faced by Poland as it begins its presidency of the European Union. Hungary, which recently passed a new and controversial constitution, is also seen under a microscope. As always, Russia is on our minds. Astrit Dakli examines the possibility of a hard-fought race for the presidency between Vladimir Putin and one-time pupil Dmitri Medvedev. We also examine the current state of relations between Moscow and Beijing. Lev Gudkov, the head of Moscow’s Levada Institute, provides some startlingly useful data on how Russians view their Soviet past, often with considerable nostalgia. Many, in fact, don’t even want to remember the decade-long effort at reform, seeing it as an abject failure. Reporting from Kazakhstan, Polish reporter Wojciech Jagielski and Francesco Guarascio examine the often surreal aspects of that former Soviet republic, most of its landscape a desert. Finally, we have a favor to ask our readers. A questionnaire is attached to this issue. Questionnaires are annoying, period. We know it. At the same time we urge you to take a moment to fill out ours. We’re eager to know what you like so that we can make the magazine better suit your needs and interests. Most of the questions regard content and the way we present it. It’ll take very little time to get out of the way, and the results, in the end, will serve you, the reader. As for non-subscribers, we ask the same favor. You’ll find the questionnaire online at www.eastonline.it. To show our appreciation for your time and effort, we’ll give you a free issue of the magazine, whether you’re a subscriber or a casual reader. It’s not a king’s ransom but a way to sincerely thank you for helping us help you.



If the speed and scope of the upheavals sweeping through Arab world in recent months was to some extent predictable — many regional observers long believed the existing order in a number of Arab countries was susceptible to change — no one could have foreseen either the timing or the means.

A year ago Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said he wanted to avoid a power struggle and refused to tip his cards about the possibility of 2102 bid for re-election. His tone has toughed since then.

Unlike the early 1990s, when the Russian population heralded democracy and progressive thinking while applauding collapse of communism, the “new” Russia dwells instead on nostalgia and tends to dislike the reformers it once applauded.

Have contributed to this issue:
Alessandro Arduino
Federigo Argentieri
Claudia Astarita
Antonio Barbangelo
Stefano Bottoni
Stefano Carrer
Astrit Dakli
Marco Frigerio
Marina Gersony
Paola Ghirotti
Francesco Guarascio
Lev Gudkov
Wojciech Jagielski
Francesca Lancini
Andrea Maglio
Giuseppe Mancini
Fabio Mucci
Fernando Orlandi
Soli Ozel
Antonio Picasso
Simone Pieranni
Farian Sabahi
Diana Santini
Carla Tonini
Cecilia Tosi
Maria Elena Viggiano
Nick Witney