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Author: Zbigniew Rokita

In the name of Matilda

The controversy surrounding the recent Russian film Matilda reveals a great deal about Russian society today. While the film, billed as a big-budget historical romance of Tsar Nicholas II, fails to impress, the social sensitivities that have emerged as a result of the debate on the film illustrate a dangerous rise in extreme nationalist sentiments that may soon be beyond the Kremlin’s control.

Alexei Uchitel’s film Matilda (released in October 2017) was the most discussed cinematographic event in Russia last year. Similarly, strong emotions were generated in 2014 when the director Andrey Zvyagintsev released his Russian tragedy film, Leviathan. Both productions were accompanied by scandals and received widespread media attention. Admittedly, there is a fundamental difference between the two films. While the latter is a mature piece of artwork (one that tackles the profound problem of the citizen-state relationship), the former has very little to offer, both in terms of content and aesthetics. Assumedly, had there not been a scandal surrounding the release, the world would probably never have learnt about Matilda.

February 26, 2018 - Zbigniew Rokita

A friendship that bore fruit

An interview with Mirosław Jasiński, an activist of the democratic opposition in communist Poland and one of the leading activists of the Polish-Czechoslovak Solidarity. Interviewer: Zbigniew Rokita

ZBIGNIEW ROKITA: When did the post-war contacts between Polish and Czechoslovak opposition start?

MIROSŁAW JASIŃSKI: They started as early as 1948, when the communists took power in Czechoslovakia. That was the same year as the first meeting of Czechoslovak national socialists and the Polish People’s Party. In the next decades their co-operation included different areas: meetings at the highest level, smuggling literature and printing equipment, and active engagement with Polish students of the FAMU Prague Film Academy during the Prague Spring – Agnieszka Holland was among them. Artists who were banned in Czechoslovakia often had exhibitions in Poland. For decades the churches worked together and Czechoslovak priests and nuns were secretly ordained in Poland.

October 30, 2017 - Mirosław Jasiński Zbigniew Rokita


Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said last Friday that he is considering changing the name of his country.

February 10, 2014 - Zbigniew Rokita

All the President’s Birthdays

On July 6th Kazakhstan celebrated Astana Day, a national holiday marking the 15th anniversary of the founding and establishment of its capital.

August 1, 2013 - Zbigniew Rokita

Armenia is also Europe

Zbigniew Rokita talks with Raffi K. Hovannisian, leader of Armenia’s opposition party Heritage. ZBIGNIEW ROKITA: Many people with whom I talked to here in Yerevan as well as the provinces have told me that they didn’t believe that something could change as a result of the presidential elections. How do you plan to convince them that […]

February 22, 2013 - Zbigniew Rokita

A Revolution is in the Air

An interview with Volodymyr Ariev, a member of Ukraine’s parliament in the political block “Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defence” ZBIGNIEW ROKITA: Let’s start with the EURO 2012 football championships. Do you think that Ukraine succeeded? VOLODYMYR ARIEV: There are three answers to this question. First of all, a big thank you to our Ukrainian players who […]

August 8, 2012 - Zbigniew Rokita

Veterans Who Never Smelled the Gunpowder

Victory Day is still quite important to Russians. In fact, recent opinion polls show that it is even more important than Christmas or Easter.

June 4, 2012 - Zbigniew Rokita

Vladimir Putin: Yesterday’s Man

An Interview with Jadwiga Rogoża, analyst and Russian expert at the Centre for Eastern Studies, Warsaw. Interviewer: Zbigniew Rokita NEW EASTERN EUROPE: Who are the people now protesting on the streets of Russia? JADWIGA ROGOŻA: This movement is quite varied with a true melange of all political worldviews. One can come across the radical left, […]

February 26, 2012 - Zbigniew Rokita


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