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Tag: Central Europe

New separatisms. Or what could happen if the West disappeared from Eastern Europe?

In Central and Eastern Europe, the West used to play a revolutionary role while Russia was that of a reactionary usurper. Today, the West has been hoisted by its own petard and the roles of the two powers in the region have reversed.

The West was once the defender and champion of the rights for those who suffered from unfavourable geopolitical arrangements after the Second World War. At least, it played this role in the territories where it competed with the Soviet Union and later the post-Soviet autocracies which emerged after the post-Cold War chaos of the 1990s. The West helped bring down communism in the region and its remains which were trying to survive in Russia and Serbia. It defended the rights of Kosovo’s Albanians, Muslim Bosniaks and Croats attacked by Serbs. Before that it was the main defender of the residents of the Eastern bloc, and all the nations that wanted to free themselves from Soviet rule. Today, the situation is entirely different.

April 26, 2018 - Ziemowit Szczerek

On mythical identities of mythical countries

A conversation with Miljenko Jergović, a Balkan writer. Interviewer: Aleksandra Wojtaszek

ALEKSANDRA WOJTASZEK: We are meeting thanks to the recent publishing of a collection of your essays by the Kraków-based International Cultural Centre tilted Muscat, lemon and turmeric. It seems that a common denominator for these essays is Central Europe, which binds the descriptions of cities and biographies in your texts together. Do you believe that a Central European identity exists? If yes, what are its features?

MILJENKO JERGOVIĆ: I believe that we could talk about it in an unorthodox fashion. What is common to all of the peoples living in Central Europe is primarily all the traumas of the 20th century, such as the concentration camps. We are also connected by historical experiences such as being a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or the bloc of socialist countries after the Second World War. In one sense, we lived our lives in a border region.

April 26, 2018 - Aleksandra Wojtaszek Miljenko Jergović

Elections in Hungary: What Next?

In the latest episode of the "In Between Europe" podcast, the hosts speak with Zsuzsanna Szelényi, an independent MP in the outgoing Hungarian parliament to make sense of Fidesz’s third supermajority and explore the future trajectory of Hungary’s politics. History Minute: Gramsci and the Rural Vote in Hungarian History

April 16, 2018 - Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics

What will 2018 bring for Central Europe?

Welcome to 2018! In this episode In Between Europe look back at the tumultuous events of last year and discuss what 2018 has in store for the region. Their guest is Tsveta Petrova, faculty at the European Institute at Columbia University, where she teaches and advises the MA students in European History, Politics, and Society.

January 26, 2018 - Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics

Czech presidential election: A vote on Europe

The results of the January 26th and 27th Czech election will determine the relations between Central and Eastern Europe and Brussels: If Zeman wins, nationalistic positions will prevail in the region. If Drahos is elected, Central and Eastern Europe will not present a uniformly Eurosceptic front. In future struggles over individual freedoms and European funds this will be of importance.

January 23, 2018 - Cyrille Bret

Central Europe is more vulnerable than it appears

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, far-right and extremist organisations in Central Europe have redirected their attention to geopolitical issues. They not only agitate against NATO and the European Union, but also share a particular sympathy towards Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Clear evidence points to direct support for groups coming from Russia or pro-Russian sources.

In April 2014, just a few weeks after Russia annexed Crimea, Tamás Gaudi-Nagy, a Hungarian lawmaker from the far-right party Jobbik, gave a speech to the Council of Europe’s General Assembly. The tone of his speech reflected his t-shirt which read “Crimea legally belongs to Russia, Transcarpathia legally belongs to Hungary”. After the “legitimate” annexation of Crimea by Russia, he argued, it was time for Hungary to take back lost territories such as Transcarpathia – a part of Ukraine that belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1920.

One year later, in autumn 2015, Gaudi-Nagy made an even stranger statement during a TV debate: he claimed he was encouraged by his Russian counterparts while he was delegated to the Council of Europe to revise the border with Ukraine, hinting that Russia would back such a move. He said the time has come to change the course of history. But these performances were not the only actions by the far-right and extreme right to put pressure on Hungarian and Ukrainian authorities to aid in the secession of Transcarpathia.

October 31, 2017 - Edit Zgut Lóránt Győri Péter Krekó

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

Where the heart of Central Europe beats

There is no multi-culti here, people are Catholic, conservative, vote for right wing parties, just like in Podhale” – explains one of the protagonists of Ludwika Włodek’s book Four Flags, One Address. But Spiš – or Spisz, depending on whom one asks – a tiny historical region in the Carpathian Mountains, located on the territory of Poland and Slovakia, has been home to more ethnicities than just the two main national groups. So is there really no multi-culti?

August 24, 2017 - Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska

The perils of hybrid threats in Central Europe

Some 25 years ago, warfare and international security were understood more or less solely through the lens of military features. The changing nature of threats to security has determined a change in the way security is perceived, encompassing today threats from a variety of sectors such as political, economic, societal, militarily or environmental. Although not new, hybrid threats pose one of the biggest risks in the contemporary security and political environment since they comprise a mixture of means (i.e. technological, financial, diplomatic, legal, economic and military) intended to exploit weaknesses and undermine governments, government agencies and the democratic process hinder the decision making process.

August 21, 2017 - Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska

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