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Author: Jan Brodowski

Selective memory in the South Caucasus

This year is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the short independence in the South Caucasus. Politicians in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have used this opportunity to remind about the history of statehood and present their own vision of those times and the current situation. Sadly, what is presented today is largely distant from the visions for these countries 100 years ago.

It was a sad morning in Batumi. Noe Zhordania – the founding father of an independent Georgia in 1918 – was standing on the deck of a ship waiting for his departure. The beautiful view of the mountains towering over the Black Sea coast was probably the last one he saw before leaving his homeland forever. At that moment he was unaware, but the prospects of his return were not too optimistic.

November 5, 2018 - Jan Brodowski

To understand Russian nationalism

A review of Lost Kingdom. A History of Russian Nationalism from Ivan the Great to Vladimir Putin. By: Serhii Plokhy. Publisher: Basic Books, New York, 2017.

In the 19th century Russian poet and diplomat Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev wrote:
“Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone,
No ordinary yardstick can span her greatness:
She stands alone, unique –
In Russia, one can only believe”.


Tyutchev was strongly involved in the pan-Slavist movement, often criticising the West. After defeating Napoleon and before the Crimea war in the middle of the 19th century, Russia was considered a superpower. Parallels between Russian imperial times and the Kremlin's policy today are clear. Particularly so, if we look at the way Russia is confronting the West and forging its own vision of politics – not only when it comes to its international position but also the role of the Russian nation. The question which constantly returns is thus: how to understand Russia?

January 2, 2018 - Jan Brodowski

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