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Category: Articles and Commentary

Who remembers the Warsaw Uprising?

The 1944 Warsaw Uprising saw the destruction of one of Europe’s great cities. But it is a story not widely known outside of Poland, something the Polish government wants to put straight. We asked a random selection of Germans in Bonn what they know about the uprising as Poles commemorate its 73rd anniversary. 

August 1, 2017 - Jo Harper and Jan Darasz

Joseph Conrad and the East

Before he ever left home, Joseph Conrad knew what powerful nations and material interests could do to weaker peoples. Born Jósef Teodor Konrad Nałęcz Korzeniowski, in Berdyczów in modern-day Ukraine in 1857, he belonged to a nation, Poland, which was no longer to be found on the map. His father Apollo, a writer and prominent Polish nationalist, was arrested and exiled with his family for anti-Russian conspiracy when his son was four years old. This was Conrad’s first lesson in the power of empires and the cost of idealism. Life was difficult and by the time he was 11, both his parents were dead. Conrad never forgave imperial Russia: “from the very inception of her being”, he was to write in 1905, “the brutal destruction of dignity, of truth, of rectitude, of all that is faithful in human nature has been made the imperative condition of her existence”. At age 17, the young Korzeniowski went to sea, serving first as an ordinary seaman and later as a ship’s officer, mostly in vessels of the British merchant marine. He learnt English in his twenties and developed an ambition to become a writer in this, his third language.

August 1, 2017 - Douglas Kerr

Joseph Conrad. A Polish and European writer

Joseph Conrad was born as Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in Berdychiv (today in Ukraine) in 1857. He was a child of a Polish noble family that was involved in the conspirational fight for Poland’s independence. After the death of his mother the young Conrad moved to Kraków from where he later emigrated to France and later Great Britain. In Marseille he became a sailor and since then the whole world was his home. According to literary critic Rafał Marceli Blüth, the decision to ”fraternise with the element of the sea and the element of the peoples who were not deformed by civilisation”, as non-Europeans were called back then, were Conrad’s attempts to distance himself from his homeland, his nation and European culture overall. The truth, however, is that he never abandoned any of them. Conrad returned to Poland several times later on in life.

August 1, 2017 - Kinga Gajda

The Kyiv Uprising scenario

On August 1st at exactly 5pm, Warsaw will remain motionless. Sirens and horns will shriek, people will pause, and all traffic – cars, buses, and trams – will stop in its tracks. As every year, for a few minutes, it will feel as if time is standing still. This is done to pay homage to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The uprising that began on August 1st 1944 and lasted for 63 days has become Poland’s national symbol of martyrdom. But the commemorations and tributes to the veterans that are still living are always accompanied by a national debate: “Was it worth it?”

July 27, 2017 - Maciej Olchawa

The problem with Georgia’s political brand

Georgian security officers might have been complicit in the abduction of Afgan Muktarli, an exiled Azerbaijani journalist, which took place on May 29th in Tbilisi. Later on, Mukhtarli was found in a Baku detention facility. Local opposition and non-governmental organisations argue that the country is retreating from its democratic path and that the ruling Georgian Dream is supporting the regime in Baku.

July 25, 2017 - Archil Sikharulidze

Hybrid deportation from Crimea

In February 2014 troops lacking military insignia invaded Crimea and swiftly took over key military and strategic sites. A referendum was hastily organised, even though it violated Ukrainian law and international norms. The Russian press claimed that 97 per cent of those who voted were in favour of annexation and 83 per cent of the electorate had turned out. While these figures were cited by international news media sources, a report by the President of Russia’s Council on Civil Society and Human Rights (that was posted at the president-sovet.ru web site) showed that only between 15-30 per cent of Crimean citizens voted for unification with Russia. With the bogus referendum swept under the rug, a treaty was signed between the newly proclaimed Republic of Crimea and the Russian Federation to initiate a process of integration.

July 24, 2017 - Greta Uehling

Trump declares support for Georgia despite Russian encroachment

US President Donald Trump’s connection to Georgia can be traced to 2011 after a meeting of then business tycoon Trump and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Trump Tower in New York. Later in 2012 Trump visited Batumi, a Georgian Black Sea resort, turning it into the main touristic hub in the region with an attempt […]

July 20, 2017 - Beka Kiria

Why the reforms in Ukraine are so slow?

Ukraine: The European frontier - a blog curated by Valerii Pekar.

July 19, 2017 - Valerii Pekar

Ukraine’s reforms: Taking off or yet to take off?

Following the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine has put its hopes in a new generation of reformers and seeks to, or rather has to, break free from its corrupt power circles. This was the conclusion reached at a major Chatham House event on Ukraine’s transformation last week, just one day before the UK-Ukraine conference that launched Ukraine`s Reform Action plan 2017-2020. Although the conference began with a negative tone in reference to the ongoing war in the eastern parts of the country, it brightened, looking at the promising future for investors and young professionals in Ukraine.

Does Ukraine matter to Europe? This was the question that seemed to be at the core of the discussions. However, the overall answer to the question was rather mixed. What can and must Ukraine do to become a competitive and advanced European country, rather than a state which needs continuous help while failing to deliver on its own promises?

July 13, 2017 - Agne Dovydaityte

A bittersweet victory: Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU

After more than ten years of negotiations, the Association Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine came into full force in July 2017. The Agreement, which establishes an economic and political association between the two parties, had been provisionally in force since January 1st 2016.

July 10, 2017 - Oksana Khomei, Alena Permakova, Dmytro Sydorenko and Balazs Jarabik

Passion over censorship

This piece originally appeared in Issue 3/2017 of New Eastern Europe. Subscribe now.

July 7, 2017 - Mykola Riabchuk

Shifts of FDI – a lesson for Ukraine?

The role of foreign direct investment, or FDI, as an accelerator of economic growth of the receiving, i.e. the host, country is difficult to dispute (although, as there are always exceptions to every rule). These benefits include the increase in the level of investment, higher wages, transfer of technology, transfer of know-how, etc. Therefore, it is in the best interest of a country to attract such investments. This is especially true for developing economies. One of the reasons is because it is much more efficient to buy or receive new technologies than to develop them on your own.

In order to attract FDI, the economy has to first satisfy several conditions. These conditions depend on the reason for an investor to be interested in the host economy. Generally, in the literature on FDI, there are four main reasons: searching for new markets, searching for resources, searching for strategic assets and searching for efficiency. The last one involves such aspects as low-cost labour.

July 6, 2017 - Tomasz M. Napiórkowski

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