Text resize: A A
Change contrast
new Eastern Europe Krakow new Eastern Europe

Category: History and Memory

War was not inevitable

A conversation with Dominic Lieven, professor of history at Cambridge University. Interviewers: Adam Reichardt, Andrzej Zaręba and Edmund Young (New Eastern Europe).

NEW EASTERN EUROPE: Could you tell us a little about you relatives from the old Russian aristocracy?

DOMINIC LIEVEN: Well, they were Russian in the broadest sense of the term. They would often be described as Baltic German. Ultimately, they were Livonian. They were there when the German knights arrived. And of course in terms of identities and mixtures, they were everything you could imagine – but Russian can be a good shorthand here.

March 4, 2019 - Adam Reichardt Andrzej Zaręba Edmund Young

The second homeland. Georgian Jews throughout the centuries

In the spring of 2018 the Georgian government officially recognised the “26 centuries of Georgian-Jewish friendship” as an intangible cultural heritage of the country. Yet, the story of Georgian Jews still leaves many questions and further research is required.

"When I went to Tbilisi, I went to the synagogue one evening… it was packed. Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia, from which there's a major movement." Marshall Weinberg's Report on his trip to the USSR to the JDC Administration Committee, October 25th 1972.

The movement which is mentioned in the 1972 report refers to the movement of Georgian Jews outside the Soviet Union, mostly to Israel. “Every single Jew we met, there were 80 or 90, was talking about Israel, Israel, Israel,” Weinberg wrote. As soon as the Soviet Union lifted the ban on Jewish emigration in the 1970s, thousands of Georgian Jews moved to Israel.

March 4, 2019 - Yulia Oreshina

The other history of Ukraine

The recently released book The Pages of Jewish history of Ukraine is an important achievement. Despite the fact that it was written as a textbook for high schools, it is accessible to readers from different backgrounds and gives a comprehensive overview of the 2,000 years of Jewish presence in Ukraine.

In May 2018 the Kyiv city council passed a decision to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Koliyivshchyna – a peasant revolt which spread through right-bank Ukraine in 1768-1769 and was a response to the Bar Confederation (a political and military revolt of the Polish nobility against the politics of King Stanisław August Poniatowski, a protégé of Catherine the Great which took place partially on Ukrainian territories resulting in victims among Ukrainian orthodox civilians). The Koliyivshchyna rebellion could be seen thus as an episode of Ukraine's religious wars.

March 4, 2019 - Kateryna Pryshchepa

Words matter. Bulgaria and the 30th anniversary of the largest ethnic cleansing in cold war Europe

Bulgarian communist dictator Todor Zhivkov led campaigns of forced assimilation and ethnic cleansing against non-Bulgarian minorities, particularly Turks and Muslims. Three decades after the 1989 ethnic cleansing and the subsequent transition to democracy, Bulgaria still has yet to reconcile with its past.

February 25, 2019 - Tomasz Kamusella

Ukraine’s prelude to Babyn Yar

Boris Maftsir has crafted a film which hardly shies away from historical controversy and nuance.

January 10, 2019 - Nikolas Kozloff

Women’s rights in imperial Russia. Outcasts of history

The thaw of the 1980s allowed Russian historians to become re-acquainted with the pre-revolutionary and non-Marxist methods of interpreting historical events. These approaches paved a new way for interpreting history, allowing a departure from merely descriptive methods. Since the 1990s a new understanding of women’s rights in pre-Bolshevik Russia began to emerge.

I grew up listening to Soviet propaganda, praising the regime for giving women so much: education, ability to have a career and money on par with men, benefits for mothers, divorce and so on. To a certain extent, reality was confirming the party message. Women worked as teachers, doctors, and engineers. Valentina Tereshkova even went to space. Would something like this be possible during the tsarist rule? No, of course not. That is why our history textbooks presented life in pre-revolutionary Russia as full of suffering and exploitation, accompanied by rebellions and wars. Then the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution came, which changed Russia and the world, or at least that is what we were taught.

January 2, 2019 - Irina Yukina

The failure of mapmaking and territorialisation of statehood in Polesia and Belarus in 1918

For various reasons, the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty, signed on March 3rd 1918 between the Central Powers and Soviet Russia, was published without the agreed upon map. This insufficiency may have had dire consequences on the success of an independent Belarusian People’s Republic, which was later overtaken by the establishment of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus in 1919.

Why was the map of the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty neither published nor handed down? It was an integral part of the binding international treaty that was adopted on March 3rd 1918. Instead of a written definition of the border demarcation, Article III of the treaty contained a fleeting reference to a map in the annex. The border was drawn according to a map kept in the Political Archive of the Foreign Office in Berlin since June 1918 at the latest. The original map is very large, on a scale of 1:800,000, and allowed the territorial assignment of places that are only ten kilometres apart. However, this graphic representation was never used.

November 5, 2018 - Diana Siebert

Nord Stream: The narrative of a new Molotov–Ribbentrop pact?

The debates that took place on the first Nord Stream pipeline exemplify the politically detrimental consequences that can arise from the misuse of the past for political gains. Carefully analysing the context and history of the comparison shows that Polish politicians are not trapped in memories of the past, rather they have developed tools to play on their audience’s sensitivity to its own history.

History appears in various shapes within the public debate. Though not a Polish specificity, the Polish political sphere offers fertile ground for memory studies. History can be the object of public policy, as in the ongoing debate on the 2018 amendments to the 1988 Act on the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN law).

November 5, 2018 - Francis Masson

Traces of memory at the Galicja Jewish Museum in Kraków

A discussion on the Polish-Jewish past, today and future.

October 17, 2018 - New Eastern Europe

Renaming streets. A key element of identity politics

Like many governments in history, the current Polish government has been no stranger to regulating historical interpretations through law. The ruling party has pushed several memory laws related to decommunisation in Poland. One initiative focuses on the renaming of streets and has caused further tension in an already divided society.

April 26, 2018 - Uladzislau Belavusau and Anna Wójcik

Memory of independence. A gap-filling exercise

2018 is the year Poland celebrates its 100 years since regaining independence. However, not all of today’s Polish territory was a part of Poland a century ago. This creates a dilemma for these regions and highlights, once again, issues of memory, identity and belonging.

In 2018, Poland becomes “infinitely independent”. At least that is the message on the official logo of the 100 years of Polish independence, which is composed of the infinity symbol coloured in white and red. Independence is to remain in Poland once and for all. But this total, somehow all-encompassing message transpiring from the logo may also be seen through different lenses – those of geography. In other words, as infinity has no borders in time, it should have no borders in space either. It is therefore possible to draw an assumption that the century of Poland as an independent state ought to be celebrated equally in all parts of the country, from its western extremes to eastern borders and from the northern seaside to the mountains in the south.

April 26, 2018 - Mateusz Mazzini

A “Eurasian” Ukraine

In Ukraine it has become popular to view the country as a bulwark of democratic Europe, one that protects the continent from Moscow’s expansion or Eurasian despotism. This vision, however, neglects the fact that for centuries Ukraine was connected to the Great Steppe, stretching from the Carpathians to Korea.

The Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine has given new life to the archetype of Ukraine as a bulwark which defends Europe. As Mykhailo Hrushevskiy, the father of Ukrainian historiography, once wrote, Ukraine has played “an honourable role in protecting European civilisation from Asiatic hordes”. Ukrainian nationalists tend to orientalise Russia which is portrayed as an Asiatic or Eurasian tyranny formed by the allegedly authoritarian Mongols.

February 26, 2018 - Adam Balcer

Partners

Terms of Use | Cookie policy | Copyryight 2019 Kolegium Europy Wschodniej im. Jana Nowaka-Jeziorańskiego 31-153 Kraków
tworzenie stron www : hauerpower.com studio krakow.