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Category: Books and Reviews

Postcolonialism in the Soviet Bloc

A review of Socjalistyczny postkolonializm. Rekonsolidacja pamięci (Socialist Postcolonialism: Memory Reconsolidation). By: Adam F Kola. Publisher: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń, Poland, 2018.

During the latter half of the 1980s I was a student of English language philology and literature at the University of Silesia in Katowice. Through assigned readings we were introduced to the western discourse of postcolonialism, but the lecturers took care to not operationalise these analytical instruments for any research on books and essays written and published in communist Poland or the Soviet bloc. Some conclusions that we could arrive at about our own communist regime might be ideologically dangerous for ourselves and our tutors. When communism collapsed in 1989 and the Soviet Union broke up two years later, the imageries and analytical approaches of postcolonialism suddenly began to make much sense to my colleagues and myself.

November 5, 2018 - Tomasz Kamusella

A fresh look at political culture in Russia and Ukraine

A review of Ukraine and Russian Neo-Imperialism: The Divergent Break. By: Ostap Kushnir. Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham MD, USA, 2018.

Ukrainian political culture presents an intriguing and rather unique case for analysis. Often a cause for debate, its origin and development, influenced by the rigorous winds of history and political geography, are not easy to grasp or apprehend. The complexities of the country’s relations with Russia, in particular, tend to leave the outside observer in a state of bewilderment. This response tends to lead to an overgeneralisation and simplification of the problem, which does not contribute to finding good solutions. Ostap Kushnir’s new book, Ukraine and Russian Neo-Imperialism: The Divergent Break, does not aim to add further complexity. On the contrary, it seeks to deconstruct the phenomenon and replace confusion with clarity.

November 5, 2018 - Margaryta Khvostova

Countering the realists on Russia and Ukraine

A review of The Sources of Russia’s Great Power Politics: Ukraine and the Challenge to the European Order. By: Taras Kuzio and Paul D’Anieri. Publisher: E-International Relations, Bristol, England, 2018.

Since the onset of Russian aggression in Ukraine in early 2014, there has been a plethora of works dedicated to the conflict, its impact on the West and the liberal world order, and Russia’s motives in pursuing such a bold strategy. Ukraine Crisis: What it Means for the West by Andrew Wilson and Russia and the New World Disorder by Bobo Lo are just a few (excellent) examples that seek to bring light to the ways in which the conflict in Ukraine is affecting international politics.

November 5, 2018 - Daniel Jarosak

Past Continuous: Is Bandera replacing Lenin?

A review of Past Continuous: Історичнаполітика 1980-х-2000-х: Українатасусіди, (Past Continuous: Political History 1980s-2000s: Ukraine and its neighbours). By: Georgiy Kasyanov. Publisher: Laurus, Kyiv, 2018.

Historical policy is among the most discussed issues in post-Maidan Ukraine, and the discussion goes beyond Ukrainian borders. Important changes have taken place since 2014, namely decommunisation and the glorification of Ukrainian nationalism – including the controversial leader of Ukrainian nationalists, Stepan Banders, who is generally considered an extremist. This generates heated discussion outside Ukraine.

November 5, 2018 - Marek Wojnar

A miracle from the inside

A review of Wszyscy ci wspaniali chłopcy i dziewczyny. Osobista historia czeskiego kina. (All the bright young men and women: a personal history of the Czech cinema). By: Josef Škvorecký. Polish edition published by Wydawnictwo Pogranicze, Sejny, 2018.

This year the Polish publishing house Pogranicze published the first translation of Josef Škvorecký’s work on Czech cinematography – a book like no other. Hence four decades after it was original published it is worth reflecting on this book. Škvorecký, the author of the book, left Czechoslovaka in 1969, first heading to the United States and later to Canada where he spent the rest of his life.

November 5, 2018 - Maciej Robert

A welcome addition to North Caucasus scholarship

A review of From Conquest to Deportation: The North Caucasus under Russian Rule. By: Jeronim Perovic. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Oxford, United Kingdom, 2018.

September 1, 2018 - Neil Hauer

A portrait of Jobbik

A review of The Hungarian Far Right. Social Demand, Political Supply and International Context. By: Péter Krekó and Attila Juhász. Publisher: Ibidem-Verlag, Hanover, Germany, 2017.

August 23, 2018 - Adam Balcer

A pioneer in St Petersburg

A review of Nieprzetartym szlakiem. Wspomnienia pionierskiej farmaceutki Antoniny Leśniewskiej (An Unexplored Track. The Memoirs of Antonina Leśniewska, the Pioneer Pharmacist). Publisher: The Polish Consulate General in St Petersburg, 2017.

August 23, 2018 - Margarita Vladimirova

Following a grandmother’s life

A review of Babushka's Journey: The Dark Road to Stalin's Wartime Camps. By: Marcel Krueger. Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd., London, 2017.

August 23, 2018 - Zofia Bluszcz

Democracy – not just an American thing

A review of How Democracies Die? What History Reveals about Our Future. By: Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky. Publisher: Penguin Books, Boston, USA, 2018.

August 23, 2018 - Matteusz Mazzini

Forgetting Chechnya

Review of Irena Brežná's "She-Wolves from Sernovodsk: Notes from the Russo-Chechen War" and Polina Zherebtsova's "Ant in a Glass Jar: Chechen Diaries, 1994–2004".

July 10, 2018 - Tomasz Kamusella

Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder

A review of Amy Knight's book on the circumstantial evidence linking the Kremlin to a number of high profile murders.

June 6, 2018 - Artem Patalakh

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