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Tag: Poland

Covering up cross-border co-operation between Lithuania and Kaliningrad

On the Eastern border of the European Union, a new stage of cross-border co-operation with Russia has begun. Yet, new joint initiatives are unravelling in a tense atmosphere.

On January 23rd this year a particularly cold morning breaks on the border between the European Union and the Russian oblast of Kaliningrad. At 8 am, Lithuanian anti-corruption officers wrapped in thick coats are conducting a search at the Jurbarkas District Municipality building. Their heavy steps wake up the provincial bureaucracy. The gossip that the search is related to Russia spreads rapidly through the building’s dark corridors and soon reaches local and national media.

August 26, 2019 - Gil Skorwid

Polonia in Israel

The concept of Polish Diaspora and antisemitism.

August 23, 2019 - Tomasz Kamusella

Talk Eastern Europe episode 16: Do Americans support NATO?

In the latest episode of Talk Eastern Europe, co-hosts Adam and Maciek delve into security-related issues in Central and Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on Poland’s view and its desire to increase American presence in the country. Adam then interviews Ivo Daalder, President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former US ambassador to NATO.

July 19, 2019 - Adam Reichardt Maciej Makulski

Kashubia: One needs two lungs to breathe

Kashubians have always lived in the seaside region of Pomerania. This land has been both under German and Polish influence, but Kashubians have managed to retain their unique culture.

June 7, 2019 - Agnieszka Zielonka

Talk Eastern Europe 13: European Parliament elections part II

In this second part of the two-part special podcast, Talk Eastern Europe dissects the results of the European Parliamentary elections in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

June 4, 2019 - Adam Reichardt Maciej Makulski

What was a hundred years ago will not return

Interview with Miriam Synger, director of the Emuna Foundation, which supports the Jewish community in Łódź. Interviewer: Daniel Gleichgewicht.

May 23, 2019 - Daniel Gleichgewicht Miriam Synger

Eastern Europe’s last tango. A journey through the interwar musical scene

The early Polish interwar music, which merged traditional folk motifs with intoxicating modern rhythms, spoke of a more technologically minded, progressive Polish musical scene where arrangements altered day-by-day as musicians skipped between bands, and new compositions could be finalised overnight. But it was the tango which often took centre stage. And this was true for many other countries in the region at that time.

C’est sous le ciel de l’Argentine, où la femme est toujours divine (It is under the sky of Argentina, where the woman is always divine), croons the absorbing refrain of the French “Le Dernier Tango” (“The Last Tango”) – a seemingly commonplace helping of the early 20th century tango-fever which had taken Western Europe by storm. Though written in 1913 by French musicians, it was still unquestionably Argentine. The melody had been pilfered from the 1903 “El Choclo” (“The Corn Cob”) by Argentine composer Angel Villoldo and the French lyrics bore those familiar flashes of delirious desire prevalent in any tango of the period.

May 2, 2019 - Juliette Bretan

The circle of hope: Samizdat, tamizdat and radio

I left Poland in 1970 with no hope that things would ever change for the better. Back then, would you dare to hope that Soviet communism could implode with just a little outside help?

I first got involved in dissident activity with a group of friends in high school during the early 1960s. During my studies at Warsaw University, my engagement with the movement grew. However it was all rather innocent then – mostly discussions about the past, present and the future, and some attempts to unnerve communist activists during public meetings at the university by asking awkward questions on issues such as the Katyń massacre or the exploitation of Poland by the Soviet Union. It was innocent until Jacek Kuroń and Karol Modzelewski were imprisoned for three years in 1965. After that, our group – built around Adam Michnik – started to be harassed by the secret police.

May 2, 2019 - Eugeniusz Smolar

The Polish Round Table. A bird’s-eye view

Today, the 1989 Round Table is still a topic of an important discussion in Poland, one that in the last years has become more intense than before. Many participants of the discussion are still active in Polish political life, including former presidents and prime ministers. A majority of them stress the positive aspects of the negotiations. Yet the Round Table has always had fierce critics.

The Polish Round Table negotiations, which started in February 1989, were one of those events whose meaning was not clear from the very beginning. In a way, we can compare this moment of Polish history to Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon in 49 BC, after he ignored the order of the senators who were well aware of his high ambitions and wanted to keep him away from Rome. It marked the beginning of the end of the Roman republic, while from that moment on, the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” refers to a decision, or a historical event, which brings about irreversible consequences.

May 2, 2019 - Paulina Codogni

Saving the forgotten homes of the borderland

Centuries ago, thousands of Dutch and German Mennonites fled religious persecution and settled in the Żuławy region of Poland, introducing their arcaded houses, windmills and dykes to the area. Though this rich cultural history has deteriorated since the Second World War, some inhabitants are determined to revive it.

April 2, 2019 - Máté Mohos

Kashubian Poles: Struggling with the “fifth column” label

Kashubia was once a culturally independent community in what is now known as the Pomeranian region in Poland. After a history filled with wars, Germanisation, Polonisation, and Sovietisation, where should the boundaries of Kashubian cultural identity be drawn today – and to what extent does it matter?

March 18, 2019 - Balsa Lubarda

A western in Warsaw

A Covert Action. Reagan, the CIA, and the Cold War Struggle in Poland. By: Seth G. Jones. Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2018.

When on December 13th 1981 the Polish communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski introduced Martial Law in Poland, Ronald Reagan, the US president at that time, was vacationing at Camp David. The interpretation of this fact still remains ambiguous today: were the Americans surprised by the decision of the Polish communist authorities? Or was the president’s weekend outing a demonstration of his peace of mind? This question remains unanswered, even though it is widely known that the defecting Polish Colonel, Ryszard Kukliński, had informed the CIA about the communists’ plans to introduce Martial Law. Why, in that case, did the Americans not warn the Polish underground?

March 4, 2019 - Andrzej Brzeziecki

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