For much of the nineteenth century, Finland was under Russian rule. This began in 1809 when Finland was made part of the Russian Empire. As part of the Russian Empire, Finland was autonomous in domestic policy but not foreign policy. Finland was allowed to create its own laws through its parliament, but Russian tsars controlled Finland and decided Finnish foreign affairs. Finns generally had no problem with this situation because the Russian government did not interfere with internal affairs.
Russia first occupied Lithuania and introduced a program of “Russification,” an attempt to eliminate Lithuanian language and culture in favor of Russian culture, in the mid-19th century. After 22 years of independence from Russia, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939 reintroduced the Soviet Union’s dominance over Lithuania—as well as the other Baltic states: Estonia and Latvia. The Soviet Union publicly stated that Lithuania had joined the USSR willingly, although secret protocols of the pact disputed this. Following World War II, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania.
The Ogoni region is a highly oil-rich area in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, populated by approximately 500,000 members of the Ogoni People. Since the Shell Petroleum Development Company discovered oil in Ogoniland in 1958, the region has been plagued with serious environmental degradation resulting from the over 100 oil wells in the area.
The Naga people have been entrenched in a largely violent struggle with the Indian government since the 19th century in an attempt to unify and secure the independence of areas in northeast India that are primarily populated by members of the Naga community. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)--the leading Naga rebel group--declared a ceasefire with the Indian government in 1997 in order to begin peace talks, but little progress has been made since that point.
On February 7, 1986, Haiti's dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier fled the country for France after a non-violent campaign for his removal (see "Haitians overthrow regime, 1984-1986"). Before leaving, he set up the National Governing Council (CNG), under the leadership of Henri Namphy, to rule the country.
In July 1977 Z.A Bhutto, the democratically elected president of Pakistan, was removed from power by the Pakistani military, which was at that point under the control of General Muhammad Zia-ul Haq. General Zia promised to hold an election within ninety days of seizing power, yet upon taking office he suspended the constitution and dissolved many of the country’s legislative bodies. Over the next years, Zia repeatedly postponed the promised national elections, leaving the country in the hands of a de-facto military dictatorship.
For a half-century prior to the Acehnese campaign, the Indonesian government had ruled Aceh, located at the northwestern end of the island of Sumatra. The Acehnese suffered a high level of human rights abuses at the hands of the Indonesian government. From the 1950s until 1998, an Acehnese group resisted using violence. But in the late 1990’s, their resistance, led by student activists, took the form of nonviolence in a series of rallies, boycotts and strikes.
The province of Kosovo enjoyed significant political autonomy (which had been accorded under the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution) and cultural rights until the 1980s, when tension began to build up between the Serbian minority and the Albanians in Kosovo. This tension soon translated into difficult relations between the Serbian regime and the province.
In 1988, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) had been under Soviet rule for more than 40 years, and the Berlin Wall had stood erect for nearly 30. Strict Socialist rule meant extreme limits on speech and action. Travel outside the country was prohibited, and many East German citizens were separated from family and friends living in West Germany. Dissenters to government of the GDR and Soviet rule led small protests throughout the years of Soviet rule, though in great fear of punishment from the Stasi, the secret police of the GDR.
Preceding the campaign of 1933, only the eldest man in an Andorran household could vote. Due to Andorra’s long life expectancy, this meant that even middle-aged men were often unable to vote.
In order to strengthen their hold on political and economic power, the white settlers of British-controlled Northern Rhodesia sought to unite the British colonial territories of Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland during the late 1930s and 1940s. This was a response to the growing strength of African organizations (e.g.
Kefaya (meaning ‘Enough’ in Arabic), is the moniker for the grassroots coalition the Egyptian Movement for Change. Beginning in 2003, Kefaya was a group of Egyptians of various political parties and ideologies that first met to discuss the Egyptian political scene. The group became official after affiliated Egyptian intellectuals and political activists created and signed a petition demanding fair and transparent democratic presidential elections with multiple candidates in August 2004; the petition became Kefaya’s founding declaration.
In the 1950s, revolution was brewing in the Belgian Congo. Africans living in colonized countries felt the winds of change swirling as their mother countries in Europe struggled to stand back up after suffering often devastating defeats in World War II, championing the ideal self determination and freedom while continuing to oppress their colonies.
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. Political reforms in the 1990s expanded parliamentary power in 1992 and 1996, and in 1996 a bicameral legislature consisting of two chambers was established. On his accession to the throne in 1999, King Mohammed VI promised to enact a series of reforms democratizing the monarchy, but this was seen as largely unfulfilled. King Mohammad VI succeeded his father, King Hassan, who had ruled for thirty-seven years. Hassan’s rule, known as the “Years of Lead,” was largely marked by violence against state dissidents.
On 17 September 2000, the Ukrainian government under President Leonid Kuchma kidnapped a journalist, Georgiy Gongadze. Gongadze was known for speaking out openly against the government, using his popular radio show and website to expose the widespread corruption in Kuchma’s cabinet. His decapitated body was found two weeks later. In November, Socialist Party leader Oleksander Moroz released recordings of conversations between members of Kuchma’s party planning the execution.
In 1953 the South African Government passed the Bantu Education Act into law. This act gave the South African government the power to structure the education of Native South African children, separate from White South African children. This law was intended to organize a federal education system that would ensure that all students received an education. But it also engrained an apartheid framed education system that was predicted to impede the advancement of black children. Many ANC members, African parents, teachers, and ministers were unhappy with the way that the
The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) came to power in 2001. Since 2003 some Moldovans were in conflict with the government with regard to issues such as national identity and foreign policy. Many Moldovans still identified as Romanian, creating confusion and division as to which nationality was historically more accurate. Due to constant shifts in rulers and boundaries, there has been debate over whether the Moldovan or Romanian identity should be recognized by the government.
The constitution of Honduras, established in 1982, did not provide structures for popular democratic participation. In June 2009, President Manuel Zelaya called for a referendum on whether a constituent assembly should look to rewrite the constitution or not. He had been elected in 2005 as a cattle-rancher conservative but moved to the left and allied himself with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He maintained that he wanted to guarantee wider and fairer representation to all Hondurans.
the Hydro Electric Commission of Tasmania solidified their plans with the
Australian government to build a dam across the Franklin and Gordon Rivers, in
the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. The Tasmanian Wilderness Society
formed not long after this announcement to take action against the Hydro
Electric Commission and their plans to bulldoze the surrounding wilderness for
the construction of the dam. The director of the Wilderness Society and leader
of the anti-dam campaign for the following seven years was Bob Brown, a local
Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia has spent almost two decades as a quasi-authoritarian state with the ruling Republican Party controlling most of its political, economic, and social institutions. Serzh Sargsyan became President in 2008 and under his rule, Armenia endured slow economic growth, high unemployment rates, and corruption.