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Tag: Poland

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

Wherever you may sail, you are always sailing towards Poland

A conversation with Professor Zdzisław Najder, a historian of literature and expert on Joseph Conrad. Interviewer: Grzegorz Nurek

August 1, 2017 - Grzegorz Nurek Zdzisław Najder

Joseph Conrad and the East

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

Joseph Conrad. A Polish and European writer

Joseph Conrad was born as Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in Berdychiv (today in Ukraine) in 1857. He was a child of a Polish noble family that was involved in the conspirational fight for Poland’s independence. After the death of his mother the young Conrad moved to Kraków from where he later emigrated to France and later Great Britain. In Marseille he became a sailor and since then the whole world was his home. According to literary critic Rafał Marceli Blüth, the decision to ”fraternise with the element of the sea and the element of the peoples who were not deformed by civilisation”, as non-Europeans were called back then, were Conrad’s attempts to distance himself from his homeland, his nation and European culture overall. The truth, however, is that he never abandoned any of them. Conrad returned to Poland several times later on in life.

August 1, 2017 - Kinga Gajda

Showing the Holocaust through women’s eyes

“Mother?! What does it mean? Who is this creature called mother, who with great pleasure suffers and gives birth to a new life…”. These are the words from the diary of Rywka Lipszyc – one of the most mysterious heroines of the Holocaust. Her story is the subject of an exhibit of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków, Poland which is held from 28th June 2017 to 31st March 2018.

July 21, 2017 - Monika Szafrańska

Intermarium vs the Three Seas Initiative

The Intermarium strategy was developed in Poland as a political doctrine at the turn of the 20th century. It was an attempt to answer the general question on how to rebuild a sovereign Polish state and how to secure its future. The concept was innovative even if the purpose was not. The Poles alone, and Poland as a sole actor, wouldn’t be able to achieve such a goal. Poland’s enemies, especially Russia, were considered the main obstacle to independence and excessively powerful. The authors of the Intermarium strategy, Józef Piłsudski and his closest associates of the Polish Socialist Party, discovered the potential of nationalistic aspirations of other nations living within the Russian state. The idea was simple: to initiate a national revolt in a suitable moment and split Russia along national divisions. In such a way both major Polish goals would be fulfilled: independence and a secure future. Russia, if pushed from Europe and stripped of its conquest, would be annihilated as an empire and no longer pose a threat to the newly established states.

July 6, 2017 - Daria Nałęcz

Why great national ideas end up on the backstage of regional politics

In the post-Versailles era, Polish leader Józef Piłsudski proposed to the authorities of Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus to forge an Intermarium union for the survival of their states. Piłsudski risked and pushed forward an intellectual speculation on how to strengthen subjectivity and sovereignty of the “young” states in games between major powers. From the perspective of time, this speculation can hardly be defined as a real-life success.

July 6, 2017 - Ostap Kushnir

How to embed Ukraine? The idea of an Intermarium coalition in East-Central Europe

Neither the European Union nor NATO will any time soon be able to fill the security vacuum they have left with their hesitant policies in the grey zones of Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus. Both organisations have, in the past, amply demonstrated their inadequacy as strategically thinking and geopolitically resolute actors. Against this background, some post-Soviet politicians, diplomats and intellectuals are starting to discuss alternative options to, at least partially, increase their countries’ security. The most prominent among these concepts is the creation of a so-called “Intermarium coalition”.

July 6, 2017 - Kostiantyn Fedorenko and Andreas Umland

Kraków’s smog trauma

Every year in winter time Kraków changes beyond recognition. The air is heavy and thick, breathing becomes hard and doctors get used to longer queues in hospital corridors. Many people on the streets wear anti-smog masks and their outdoor activities become limited. All thanks to pollution, which prevents people from  doing sports and enjoying time outside. The effects are felt by everyone.

July 5, 2017 - Monika Michulec and Agnieszka Pelczar

Integration starts at home

“We, the female and male inhabitants of Gdańsk, call with an urgent request ...” begins an appeal to the City Council of Gdańsk to resettle families and orphaned children from the city of Aleppo in Syria. “Idly watching the fate of these people is unbearable and inhumane. Fortunately, we have an independent, local government of the free and proud city of Gdańsk. We are counting on you.”

June 20, 2017 - Anna Fedas

Law and Justice in Poland (part II)

This is part II of In Between Europe’s talk with Christian Davies of the Guardian, explaining the recent changes to the judiciary in Poland.

June 17, 2017 - Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics

Law and Justice in Poland

In Between Europe is a podcast that discusses politics and current events in Central Europe, bringing you experts and a history minute for each episode. The show is hosted by Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics.

June 11, 2017 - Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics

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