Paweł Kowal


Paweł Kowal is a Polish politician and member of the European Parliament. He is Chairman of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee in the European Parliament.

3(VIII)/2013 - Why Culture Matters


Issue 3(VIII)/2013: Why Culture Matters


The summer 2013 issue of New Eastern Europe opens up by illustrating why culture is important in order to better understand the political and social realities that exist in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

Lithuanian philosopher and member of the European Parliament, Leonidas Donskis, points out in his text about the art of difficult dialogue that despite its apparent divisions, Europe is united by a universal culture and values. Géza Kovács, the director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra also notes the importance of culture in this region: “Central and Eastern Europe is brimming with examples of links between the performing arts and political change.” While Janusz Makuch passionately explains why he, a Pole, has been organising the Festival of Jewish Culture in Kraków for the last 25 years: “Jews have always been an integral and organic part of Poland’s history and culture and we are obliged to take care of this Jewish heritage and to commemorate it.”

Commemorating history, however, is not always easy, especially the most painful cases; as illustrated in Ireneusz Kamiński’s article on the 1940 Katyń case and the lack of a Russian investigation into the massacre, which is now being heard in front of the European Court of Human Rights. Paweł Śpiewak’s portrait of Janusz Korczak describes the final days of a figure that continues to shape Polish society decades after his death, while Ana Dabrundashvili explores the heritage and meaning of Joseph Stalin in Georgia and the controversy surrounding the desire of local Georgian villages to commemorate this controversial figure.

In addition to the discussion on culture, this issue also looks at matters that relate to international relations including an interview with Jerzy Pomianowski on the newly established European Endowment for Democracy; Poland’s leadership role in the Visegrad Group; Russia’s use of religion in foreign policy; and the lack of a comprehensive approach to this region by the Obama administration.

Finallly, the issue commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Singing Revolution in the Baltic states with an interview with Estonian expert Andres Kasekamp and a historical piece about the songs of the Singing Revolution by Jonathan Bausfield.

The issue is also available via our app on Apple AppStore and Google Play.


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Painful Past, Fragile Future: No. 2(VII)/2013

This issue is available in Print and Digital format. Available on Apple AppStore and Google Play (electronic) March 25th 2013; and on newsstands worldwide (print) starting April 2nd 2013. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS. 



The spring 2013 issue of New Eastern Europe provides special coverage of a complex region marred by a painful past but facing a hopeful, yet fragile future – the western Balkans.

Vesna Goldsworthy, a Serbian writer and poet, opens this feature with an original poem written especially for this issue. The feature includes acclaimed writer and journalist, Miljenko Jergović, who analyses Croatia’s entry into the European Union by comparing the countries of the region to a bazaar. Polish journalist Ziemowit Szczerek draws attention to the remaining conflict-prone areas and shows that borders still matter – even on a continent that is so proud of having broken them. Skopje-based Artan Sadiku and Katerina Kolozova show their city as divided to the point of being schizophrenic. While Blerim Reka, former Macedonian Ambassador to the EU, argues for a new approach in the region by opening up the borders and creating a Balkan Benelux. Other articles in the issue explore the promises and challenges of Serbia’s new government, the slow process of reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Yugo-nostalgia, a phenomenon of longing for the old system.


In addition to the feature on the Balkans, the issue also includes an essay by philosopher and sociologist, Zygmunt Bauman – who asks whether the idea of Solidarity, so important in the 20th century, is relevant today?

Ukrainian People’s Deputy, Volodymyr Ariev, shows us how the elections in the fall of 2012 do not reflect the will of the Ukrainian people. While Paweł Kowal, a member of the European Parliament, argues that it is high time to consider a way to work with Ukraine’s oligarchs instead of disregarding them as part of the problem.

Lastly this issue gives an insightful look at Azerbaijan with an interview with opposition writers Arzu Geybullayeva and Emin Milli as well as a discussion on Azeri-Iranian relations and a report from Gadabay – a city built on gold.

The issue closes with reviews of books from the region, along with a special review of a recent exhibit of Czech surrealist Jan Švankmajer.




Table of Contents 2(VII)/2013


New Eastern Europe Issue 2(VII)/2013: Painful Past, Fragile Future



Opinion & Analysis

A Word in Search of Flesh: Solidarity

Zygmunt Bauman

The world in which we live in is not particularly hospitable to solidarity. But this does not mean that the spirit of and hunger for solidarity will give up.


Balkan Poets
Vesna Goldsworthy

The Merchants of Europe
Miljenko Jergović

Presidents and prime ministers of Balkan countries have been convincing Europe that they represent the only guarantee that the Balkans won’t descend back into war.


The Yugo Aftershock
Ziemowit Szczerek


The Struggles of Skopje

Artan Sadiku, Katerina Kolozova


Towards a Balkan Benelux 

A conversation with Blerim Reka

“The countries of the Balkans have no choice apart from the EU. Euro-Atlantic integration is our destiny. Peace in the Balkans can only be maintained under the security umbrella of NATO, and only under the EU as an institutional export towards aspiring countries.”


The Long Road toward Reconciliation

Sevan Pearson


Solving the Unsolvable

Zoran Vučković



Dorota Majkowska-Szajer and Tomasz Szajer


A Pact with the Oligarchs

Paweł Kowal

The fate of Ukraine lies in the hands of a group of the richest families, and any sensible policy towards Ukraine must take this into account.


The Illusion of Elections

Volodymyr Ariev


Expectations and Reality Collide in Tiraspol

Kamil Całus and Piotr Oleksy

In January 2013, Yevgeny Shevchuk, the president of Transnistria, completed his first year as head of this unrecognised state. But has the young politician managed to fulfil any of the domestic or international expectations during his first year in office?


Power Politics and Identity in Azerbaijani-Iranian Relations

Anar Abdullayev




Life After Nazerbayev

A conversation with Dosym Satypajev

“Everyone is waiting for Nazarbayev’s decision on who his successor will be. Nobody would dare to question the president’s choice, as long as he is alive. But what happens afterwards is anybody’s guess.”


Remembering Sasha

A conversation with Marina Litvinenko, the wife of Alexander Litvinenko




An Oasis in the Siberian Desert

Marcin Kalita


A City Built on Gold

Gani Nasirov


History Goes to the Movies

Lukasz Wojtusik

Until recently, Polish cinematography has been moderately successful at presenting historical narratives. While large productions were meant to stir patriotic feelings, the more ambitious directors stayed away from history. This has recently changed.


People, Ideas, Inspiration

A Cause to Live For

A conversation with Emin Milli and Arzu Geybullayeva

“In Azerbaijan, we don’t just need good politicians to change our society. We need even more good journalists, creative writers, courageous businessmen and responsible citizens.”


The Hidden Fruit of the Underground

Evgeny Kaprov 


Books and Reviews 

Lana Ravel – Listening to Bosnia’s Ghosts

On Selvedin Avdić’s Seven Terrors


Maia Lazar – Complicated Diplomacy

On Branislav Radeljic’s Europe and the Collapse of Yugoslavia: The Role of Non-State Actors and European Diplomacy


Zośka Papużanka - Lessons Not Learnt

On Joanna Bator’s Ciemno, prawie noc (Dark, Almost Night)


Grzegorz Nurek - Behind Poland’s Success

On Tadeusz Mazowicki’s Rok 1989 i lata następne (1989 and the Following Years).


Maryana Prokop - At the Crossroads of Democracy

On Mykola Riabchuk’s Від "хаосу" до "стабільності". Хроніка авторитарної консолідації (From “Chaos” to “Stability”. A chronicle of an authoritarian system).


Zemowit Szczerek – The Revenge of Kaplan.

On Robert D. Kaplan’s The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us about Coming Conflicts and the Battle against Fate.


Piotr Oleksy – International (In)significance? 

On Moldova: Arena of International Influences, eds. M. Kosienkowski and W. Schreiber


Michael Stein – The Last of the Great Surrealists

Jan Švankmajer: Dimensions of Dialogue – Between Film and Fine Art. October 26th 2012 to February 3rd 2013.