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Tag: Poland

More than independence. Poland and 1918

After the First World War Poland regained its independence. At the same time, it failed to recreate its former state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and reconstruct a map of western Eurasia.

In 1918 a newly independent Poland appeared on Europe’s stage with a complex and ambitious vision to rebuild the western parts of the former Russian Empire. The new opportunities that Poland saw were a result of Germany and Russia’s defeat in the First World War. Poland, seeing a geopolitical vacuum in the East, came up with three visions.

November 5, 2018 - Adam Balcer

Nord Stream: The narrative of a new Molotov–Ribbentrop pact?

The debates that took place on the first Nord Stream pipeline exemplify the politically detrimental consequences that can arise from the misuse of the past for political gains. Carefully analysing the context and history of the comparison shows that Polish politicians are not trapped in memories of the past, rather they have developed tools to play on their audience’s sensitivity to its own history.

History appears in various shapes within the public debate. Though not a Polish specificity, the Polish political sphere offers fertile ground for memory studies. History can be the object of public policy, as in the ongoing debate on the 2018 amendments to the 1988 Act on the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN law).

November 5, 2018 - Francis Masson

Behind the thaw

For over two decades Polish-Belarusian relations have been connected to Belarus’s relations with the West. There have been oscillations between years of warming relations and colder periods. Since Russia annexed Crimea and the Russian threat in Eastern Europe has become widely recognised, many European countries have re-evaluated their policies towards Belarus, which although authoritarian is not aggressive. Poland is one such country.

The foundations for a new opening towards Belarus were laid before Poland’s 2015 presidential and parliamentary elections. It was in April 2014, during the first weeks of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, when President Alyaksandr Lukashenka asked the Polish government to join in a mediation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Poland’s prime minister at the time, Donald Tusk, turned down the offer for fear that the Kremlin was behind the initiative. Based on information that I have gathered from sources, this proposal called for placing Belarusian peacekeeping forces in Donbas, thereby disregarding the Crimea issue as well as the guarantee of Ukraine’s neutrality.

November 5, 2018 - Michał Potocki

Polish youth powering the economic and social transformation

A new generation of young leaders is asking an important question: How can we fix the economic, social and environmental problems our elders failed to solve? Polish students with the “Education is a Window to the World” programme created the “Global Reading on Global Challenges” project to educate Poles, from juniors to seniors, on the Sustainable Development Goals and climate action ahead of the COP24 Katowice Climate Conference in December.

October 29, 2018 - New Eastern Europe

Poland – update on the local elections

While still awaiting official results, some candidates have already brought out the champagne.

October 22, 2018 - New Eastern Europe

A barbarian in the besieged city

Zbigniew Herbert felt suffocated in communist Poland where he lacked a creative atmosphere. Travelling inspired him and provided him an opportunity to write on a variety of topics beyond social realism. Yet, in the end, he simply could not live without Poland. He disliked communist Poland, but it was still Poland – his homeland.

Zbigniew Herbert is one of those writers that everyone has heard of but very few have read. People in Central and Eastern Europe had high hopes that he might win the Nobel Prize in Literature, but it never happened. Perhaps it was because two Poles (Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska) were already awarded the prize during that period. Be that as it may, now 20 years after the writer’s death, it is worth looking back and examining this outstanding figure from a different perspective: as a deep poet, a sophisticated essayist, a profound thinker, a dissident and an Eastern European barbarian who saw the garden of Western culture in his own way.

September 1, 2018 - Andriy Lyubka

August 80′ forever

Today Poland celebrates the accords of the 31st of August 1980. The Solidarity movement had a profound impact on the countries of the Eastern Bloc under Soviet control. In Poland, the events that led to its creation still continue to influence national politics.

August 31, 2018 - Daniel Gleichgewicht

Where two are fighting

Lithuania and Poland have always had a special relationship with several ups and downs since the fall of communism. These days interests are slowly aligning and a format for future cooperation is being established.

August 20, 2018 - Zbigniew Rokita

Mickiewicz reactivated

For the first time in 190 years, music has been added to the poetry of Poland’s greatest poet – Adam Mickiewicz. The project is a collaboration between a Ukrainian folk rock band and a contemporary Polish writer.

The album, titled Mickiewicz-Stasiuk-Haydamaky, includes 10 poems put to the music of the Kyiv-based band Haydamaky. Andrzej Stasiuk, a renowned Polish writer, is one of the initiators of the project, and appears in some of the tracks reading Mickiewicz’s poetry. The cross-border collaboration reflects the heritage of the poet himself. “Mickiewicz has it all,” Stasiuk says. “The lyrics, rhythm and energy.”

April 26, 2018 - Grzegorz Nurek

Renaming streets. A key element of identity politics

Like many governments in history, the current Polish government has been no stranger to regulating historical interpretations through law. The ruling party has pushed several memory laws related to decommunisation in Poland. One initiative focuses on the renaming of streets and has caused further tension in an already divided society.

April 26, 2018 - Uladzislau Belavusau and Anna Wójcik

Memory of independence. A gap-filling exercise

2018 is the year Poland celebrates its 100 years since regaining independence. However, not all of today’s Polish territory was a part of Poland a century ago. This creates a dilemma for these regions and highlights, once again, issues of memory, identity and belonging.

In 2018, Poland becomes “infinitely independent”. At least that is the message on the official logo of the 100 years of Polish independence, which is composed of the infinity symbol coloured in white and red. Independence is to remain in Poland once and for all. But this total, somehow all-encompassing message transpiring from the logo may also be seen through different lenses – those of geography. In other words, as infinity has no borders in time, it should have no borders in space either. It is therefore possible to draw an assumption that the century of Poland as an independent state ought to be celebrated equally in all parts of the country, from its western extremes to eastern borders and from the northern seaside to the mountains in the south.

April 26, 2018 - Mateusz Mazzini

Why Poland needs a post-Giedroyc doctrine towards Ukraine

Today’s Polish-Ukrainian disputes can no longer be resolved by referring to Jerzy Giedroyc’s ideals alone. Although it has largely gone unnoticed, the Ukrainian component of the Kultura programme has already been achieved.

March 22, 2018 - Wojciech Konończuk

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