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Author: hp

Issue 5/2017: Homo post-sovieticus

Stories of an unfinished transformation Anyone interested in Central and Eastern Europe understands that this region is far from monolithic, also in the implementation (or lack thereof) of western economic and political systems. At the same time we cannot deny there is something idiosyncratic about the former Soviet bloc, something which links its societies together. Either through common experience or history (or both).

October 7, 2017 - New Eastern Europe

Traces of the Soviet Union

Is talking about a post-Soviet reality justified? Or is it more of an offence? Does the term “post-Soviet” even make sense today – 26 years since the Soviet Union collapsed? Political scientists tend to answer this question with a “no”. Yet, the works of a collective of photographers, known as Sputnik Photos, show that what we are seeing now is something of a “Soviet afterlife”.

In early April this year I attended a presentation in Berlin of a photo project titled Lost Territories. The project was carried out between 2008 and 2016 by a group of photographers, collectively referred to as Sputnik Photos. During the Berlin event one of the photographers, a Pole named Michał Łuczak, presented the main purpose of the project. His presentation was followed by a discussion with a Russian writer, Sergey Lebedev and me. During the conversation we came to the conclusion that the greatest value of the project did not lie in the artistic quality of the photographs or the interesting travel recollections that were shared by the photographers. Rather, it was how it captured the traces of the Soviet Empire, both material and non-material, which can still be found today in what some call the post-Soviet space. Does this fact mean the Soviet Union, which formally ceased to exist over a quarter century ago, has survived, despite conventional wisdom? Or perhaps, its death is a slow and painful process?

October 4, 2017 - Wojciech Górecki

A 21st century Homo sovieticus?

Instead of portraying the remnants of the Belarusian Homo sovieticus as a problem, we should see it as a challenge and potential advantage: subservience and passivity as potential openness; collectivism as a chance to build a civil community; adaptability and opportunism as resourcefulness; and the multi-layered identity as an expression of a modern civil nation.

October 4, 2017 - Maxim Rust

A new Georgia?

The more peripheral an Eastern European country is, the more vigorously it waves the European Union flag. Georgia waves it the most vigorously, even though it is located in Asia. Europe could not have been moved to Georgia neither with pleads, nor with threats. Thus, Georgia has decided to settle for an imitation.

October 4, 2017 - Kaja Puto

Seeking the ties that bind

One would not consider Slovakia and Georgia to have much in common. However, there are some common denominators worth exploring. A visit to both states brought some surprising results, defying our expectations.

October 4, 2017 - Katarina Novikova and Wiktor Trybus

Tired of the status quo

An interview with Nikolay Artemenko, co-ordinator at the Vesna Youth Democratic Movement. Interviewer: Iwona Reichardt IWONA REICHARDT: What is the face of the Russian youth that we saw on the streets in March and June 2017? NIKOLAY ARTEMENKO: There is no single face of those who came to the streets this year. They represent different social groups, different professions, different lifestyles, etc. What brings them to the street is the feeling of being very tired.

October 4, 2017 - Nikolay Artemenko

Polish encounters

Zbigniew Brzezinski's death this year is a huge loss to me and my wife. He was America's greatest strategic thinker and had a significant impact on my professional life, as did many other Polish and Polish-Americans throughout the last 40 years or so. I have visited Poland frequently since the 1970s. As an American teacher and scholar on Central and Eastern Europe, I found it useful to meet not only academics but politicians as well. Although I do not speak Polish, I could pronounce most of the names fairly well; the name of Janusz Onyszkiewicz was among the more difficult ones. My Polish encounters were largely limited to those who spoke English. The irresistible Adam Michnik was an exception: our conversations needed an interpreter. If I may say so, our friendship has managed to develop nevertheless. I try to see him every time I am in Warsaw, most recently in the autumn of 2016.

October 4, 2017 - Charles Gati

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