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Category: Interviews

The complex reality of radicalisation in Central Asia

An interview with Bhavna Davé, a senior lecturer in Central Asian politics with the department of politics and international studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Interviewer: Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska

October 31, 2017 - Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska Bhavna Davé

Russia is unprepared for the next world order

An interview with Bobo Lo, expert on Russia and China and author of the books Russia and the New World Disorder and A Wary Embrace: What the China-Russia relationship means for the world. Interviewer: Adam Reichardt

ADAM REICHARDT: It has been two years since you published Russia and the New World Disorder in which you concluded that Russian foreign policy is not well suited for the current geopolitical context. Yet, if we look at Russia since 2015, it has projected itself as a strong country, one that can defend against sanctions, intervene in Syria, advance its interests in its near abroad and project an image of itself as a real global player. Would you still argue that same thesis today?

BOBO LO: This is a question I often get asked. I stand by my original thesis. True, Russia is not going to become a minor power straight away, the regime will not collapse anytime soon, and Russia will not buckle under western pressure and be forced into concessions. However, we need to look at Russia and the world in the longer term. What will happen over the next decade, two decades, three decades and beyond? Can Russia adapt to a world that is changing in all sorts of uncontrollable and unpredictable ways? This is about much more than just Russia’s interaction with the United States, the United Kingdom, France or Germany. It is about whether it can operate effectively in a more complex, disaggregated and disorderly international environment crowded with competitors – not just the West and China, but many others as well.

October 31, 2017 - Adam Reichardt Bobo Lo

Eastern Partnership: 20 deliverables for 2020

"The upcoming Summit is an opportunity to build on our achievements to-date and to inject new dynamism into our partnership. We need to be ambitious, but also realistic and credible", says Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations.

October 17, 2017 - Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska Johannes Hahn

Modern Leaders: Breaking or making trans-Atlantic relations

Populism appears to be gaining traction on both sides of the Atlantic with some leaders seizing the opportunity. Who or what will defend our present values and political establishments to bring us back to where we were before we lost ground? What are the risks to the trans-Atlantic partnership? Does the rise of populism mean […]

October 4, 2017 - Adam Reichardt Tod Lindberg

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

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

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

China’s One Belt One Road Initiative – A push for influence or debt?

An interview with Sijbren de Jong, a strategic analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. Interviewer: Małgosia Krakowska

MAŁGOSIA KRAKOWSKA: When the Chinese president announced the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR), it was hailed as the “project of the century”. A report that you co-authored for the Hague Centre on Strategic Studies sheds much less optimism. What raises your concerns?

SIJBREN DE JONG: The answer is hidden in the modus operandi of the project. “The One Belt” refers to the land, economic belt, while the “One Road” refers to the maritime corridor. Under the scheme, Chinese financial institutions issue loans to countries in which the proposed OBOR related infrastructure will be constructed. Countries with a poor trade balance, for example in the Western Balkans, may benefit from the Chinese loans but also see their debt burden increase as a result. 

September 27, 2017 - Małgosia Krakowska Sijbren de Jong

The power of digital crowd

Interview with Christiaan Triebert, Bellingcat’s investigator. Interviewer: Kataryna Pryshchepa.

August 30, 2017 - Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska

Russia’s meddling gets more credit than it deserves


Interview with Mark Galeotti,  a senior researcher at UMV, the Institute of International Relations Prague. Interviewer: Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska. 

July 31, 2017 - Mark Galeotti

We’re back in the 19th century

An interview with Charles King, professor of international affairs and government at Georgetown University. Interviewer: Aleksander Kaczorowski

ALEKSANDER KACZOROWSKI: You have written some excellent books on the Black Sea, Caucasus, Istanbul and Odesa. How did you first get involved in Eastern European issues?

CHARLES KING: Where I grew up, if you wanted to be strange at that time, the best way was by being interested in communism. I grew up in a rather conservative part of the United States, in the south, in Arkansas. During the Cold War in the 1980s this part of the world might as well have been on another planet, at least to the society that I grew up in. And I think I was always fascinated by the idea that people who live as far away as Europe or even in the Soviet Union must be real people, need not have two heads...

You know, “the Russians love their children too”?

You mention this song, of course it was a silly pop song, but in a way I think to the 15-year-old me that was a bit of a revelation: “Oh yes, I guess they must”. So then I just became fascinated by the communist world, as we used to call it, and my first time out of the United States was to the Soviet Union. I had never left the US before. I got my passport, they sent it to you through your post office back then, and headed to my Russian classes in Leningrad and Moscow.

July 14, 2017 - Charles King

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