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Author: Adam Reichardt

Russia saving its energy for January presidential election

Despite the Czech disinformation community being the most advanced and established compared to other Central European states, major challenges remain, especially in light of the upcoming parliamentary elections and the presidential election in January 2018.

October 21, 2017 - Jakub Janda

What is a Russian oligarch?

The use of the term “oligarch” or “oligarchy” in the Russian context speaks to debates about the very nature of the Russian political system. Historians and political scientists have long described Russia as oligarchic.The problem with using the term oligarch, however, is that its usage has changed repeatedly since Soviet times. Today, it seems to be much more about power than anything else.

The term “oligarch” is applied so flagrantly to Russians, it is hard to tell where Russia’s oligarchy begins and ends, who exactly inhabits this coterie and what ring do the oligarchs orbit around Vladimir Putin. Indeed, the meaning of the word oligarch is difficult to separate from Russia. According to the Oxford English Dictionary an “oligarch” means “a very rich business leader with a great deal of political influence”. Though this definition could easily apply to most countries, the OED added a curious addendum: “Especially in Russia.”

October 4, 2017 - Sean Guillory

Conspiracy theories and the fear of others

Anti-West conspiracy theories in Russia which have been instrumentalised since the 19th century became widespread during the Soviet period and are now a common tool for public mobilisation of the Kremlin. The effects of these theories on the nation and its perception of the world will have consequences for the decades to come.

October 4, 2017 - Ilya Yablokov

Has the war really changed Ukrainians?

Three years have passed since the onset of war in Ukraine. As a result some changes have occurred in the Ukrainian mentality but questions still remain: How deep are those changes? And what would it take for a reversal in attitudes towards the West? Results from recent opinion polls may come as a surprise in an attempt to answer these questions.

October 4, 2017 - Andriy Lyubka

Inside Ukraine’s ideological renewal

The Cossack House is a vibrant community centre founded in April 2016 by young nationalist activists. It is widely known for being a civil bastion of the radical Azov movement, dedicated to promoting right-wing views and bringing about a rebirth of Ukrainian nationalism.

October 4, 2017 - Nina Boichenko

Oxford on the Vistula

There seems to be a widely held view that the bout of illiberalism that has spread across Central and Eastern Europe since the economic crash of 2009 came out of nowhere, much like its later cousins Trump and Brexit. And if one were to read nothing but the Anglo-American press coverage of the rise of the current governing Law and Justice (PiS) in Poland, this might appear to be the case. Yet, if one delves into the social fabric of Poland’s post-1989 transition one will see that PiS never wasn't really there, in spirit if not always in office.

October 4, 2017 - Jo Harper

A thief’s fear of punishment is incompatible with democracy

An interview with Anastasia Kirilenko, an investigative reporter based in Moscow. Interviewer: Maciej Zaniewicz

MACIEJ ZANIEWICZ: After watching your film, Who is Mr. Putin, one gets the sense that the whole Russian political system today grew out of the criminal world of the 1990s, which was created by Vladimir Putin himself.

ANASTASIA KIRILENKO: When Putin was a presidential candidate in 2000, journalists rushed to explain who he was. I remember very well the headlines: he is a man who came out of nowhere. In fact, in St Petersburg everyone knew very well who he was. There were enough criminal scandals connected to Putin. In 2000 many journalists were confused. Reporters from the Moscow Times went to St Petersburg and found people who had worked with Putin, but those people could not recall any details about what it was like to work with him.

October 4, 2017 - Anastasia Kirilenko Maciej Zaniewicz

Not dedicated to big political visions

An interview with Jan Šerek, social psychologist and political scientist at the Masaryk University in Brno. Interviewer: Tomasz Lachowski

TOMASZ LACHOWSKI: Lately we have witnessed an increasing popularity of populist politicians winning elections on a conservative agenda and with a relatively high support of young voters. We have seen this in our region of Central Europe – such was the case of Jarosław Kaczyński and the current-ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland as well as Marian Kotleba and the People’s Party of Our Slovakia in Slovakia. Do you see a similar tendency towards populism among young voters in the Czech Republic?

JAN ŠEREK: Without a doubt this new tendency of young people being more conservative is also visible in the Czech Republic. However, we cannot put a whole generation into one box – we need to recognise that their political behaviour and choices depend on many factors, including education. Regarding the popularity of populist movements, especially among adolescents, I have to emphasise the huge role being played by the media.

October 4, 2017 - Jan Šerek Tomasz Lachowski

Connecting histories and geographies: The Jews of Central Asia

Since the late 19th century much has been published about Central Asian Jews who came under Russian – and later Soviet – dominance and who became commonly known as the Bukharan Jews. Yet, it is only now when there are almost no Jews left in Central Asia that the study of Bukharan Jews has seriously started.

October 4, 2017 - Thomas Loy

On prayer and politics in the GDR

A conversation with Markus Meckel, a German Lutheran pastor, theologian and politician. Interviewer: Łukasz Grajewski

October 4, 2017 - Łukasz Grajewski Markus Meckel

Poland’s Protestant diversity

In the 16th century, Polish Protestantism began to flourish and this tolerance brought European civilisation many noble thinkers, including Jan Hevelius, Kazimierz Siemienowicz, Józef Naronowicz-Naronski and Krzysztof Arciszewski.

October 4, 2017 - Andrzej Zaręba

The humble pastor

Juris Rubenis, a Lutheran pastor, helped organise some of the largest anti-Soviet demonstrations in the 1980s. He co-wrote the founding documents for the Latvian Popular Front and signed the official document declaring the independence of Latvia from the Soviet Union. Today, he tries to help Latvians overcome the post-Soviet mentality through spirituality and meditation.

October 4, 2017 - Naphtali Rivkin



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