October 31, 2017 - Oleksandra Iwaniuk
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 4, 2017 - Jo Harper
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 - Charles Gati
Sunday September 10th did not start well for Mikheil Saakashvili. The former Georgian President, former governor of Odesa and now former Ukrainian citizen and persona non grata in his adoptive home chose Sunday for his great return to Ukrainian soil. Already in the early morning hours, however, it appeared that nothing was going as planned and few actually believed that Saakashvili would make it across the border.
September 12, 2017 - Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska and Kaja Puto
“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
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
A conversation with Professor Zdzisław Najder, a historian of literature and expert on Joseph Conrad. Interviewer: Grzegorz Nurek
Before he ever left home, Joseph Conrad knew what powerful nations and material interests could do to weaker peoples. Born Jósef Teodor Konrad Nałęcz Korzeniowski, in Berdyczów in modern-day Ukraine in 1857, he belonged to a nation, Poland, which was no longer to be found on the map. His father Apollo, a writer and prominent Polish nationalist, was arrested and exiled with his family for anti-Russian conspiracy when his son was four years old. This was Conrad’s first lesson in the power of empires and the cost of idealism. Life was difficult and by the time he was 11, both his parents were dead. Conrad never forgave imperial Russia: “from the very inception of her being”, he was to write in 1905, “the brutal destruction of dignity, of truth, of rectitude, of all that is faithful in human nature has been made the imperative condition of her existence”. At age 17, the young Korzeniowski went to sea, serving first as an ordinary seaman and later as a ship’s officer, mostly in vessels of the British merchant marine. He learnt English in his twenties and developed an ambition to become a writer in this, his third language.
August 1, 2017 - Douglas Kerr