March 28, 2018 - Maxim Rust
The 1944 Warsaw Uprising saw the destruction of one of Europe’s great cities. But it is a story not widely known outside of Poland, something the Polish government wants to put straight. We asked a random selection of Germans in Bonn what they know about the uprising as Poles commemorate its 73rd anniversary.
August 1, 2017 - Jo Harper and Jan Darasz
The assassination of Boris Nemtsov in front of the Kremlin on February 27th 2015 marked the first time since the execution of Lavrentiy Beria in 1953 that a viable contender for Russian power was summarily eliminated. By the time Brezhnev forcibly ousted Khrushchev from power in 1964, the Soviet elite had tacitly agreed that power struggles between them would not result in murder; Khrushchev died eight years later, with a pension. Since 1953, the Russian political elite who came to power through illiberal and undemocratic means did not generally purge the allies of their predecessors for fear that the same would be done to them if and when they were succeeded. Perhaps, whoever ordered the assassination of Boris Nemtsov harbours no such fears.
May 31, 2017 - Naphtali Rivkin
Georgia is among those few former Soviet countries that fought for independence. The euphoric sense of freedom in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, however, started to slip away soon as the disturbing reality of the Soviet legacy took over before Georgians’ eyes. Living for nearly 70 years under the Russian yoke had completely incapacitated their ability to self-govern. Inexperienced in how to build up state institutions from scratch in a way which would safeguard the inclusivity and diversity of their traditionally heterogeneous society, Georgians became embroiled in a string of ethnic and civil wars throughout the 1990s. The initial attempt to embrace freedom of expression, market economy and other western values, so alien to the Soviet system, backfired as Georgia slowly descended into poverty and chaos.
March 16, 2017 - Shalva Dzidziguri
Ukraine as an independent state has turned 25. It is a difficult age in human years: full of contradictions and alternating states of elation and frustration, potency and powerlessness. The time when a young adult, one desperately tries to carve out one’s individual space, but finds it hard to cut the umbilical cord. It is an age when one has a clear idea about who his or her friends (or foes) are, but is still uncertain about what is really important in life. At 25, we often hide our inexperience behind conservatism and our self-doubt behind paraded pride.
November 8, 2016 - Joanna Fomina
According to some in academia and journalism, Russia seems to be obsessed with masculinity. Stereotypical images of strong and heroic traditional masculinity permeate mass media and popular culture - who is not familiar with pictures of a horse riding, bare-chested Putin, or with Soviet-style military parades proudly displaying their disciplined soldiers? As part of a political discourse, these images play an important role in contemporary Russian politics and history, and are key to understanding Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
October 12, 2016 - Erik Vlaeminc
The word “decommunisation” has become a familiar one in Ukrainian society. It is a means of fulfilling the mandate of the so-called Memory Laws of the spring of 2015, and the programme of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance (UINR), founded originally in 2006, but organised in its current form as subordinate to the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers in November 2014. The process has involved the removal of Lenin statues, of other statues linked to the Soviet period as well as Soviet symbols and monuments. It also entails changes of names in cities, towns, and streets and their replacement with more acceptable ones not linked to the Communist period.
September 16, 2016 - David Marples
On 2 June 2016, Germany's Bundestag passed a resolution qualifying the Ottoman era Armenian killings as genocide. A few days before, the Yerevan population welcomed a monument to Garegin Nzhdeh, a Nazi collaborator.
July 20, 2016 - Rusif Huseynov
The post-war history of West Berlin (and later unified Berlin) is above all the history of migration. Today, Berlin is the dreamed-of destination for refugees from the Middle East, but only thirty years ago it was Poles who submitted the majority of asylum claims in West Germany. Unfortunately, despite having had similar experiences to Middle Easterners, Berlin-based Poles do not show much empathy towards the newcomers.
July 5, 2016 - Kaja Puto
The celebrations of Victory Day in Russia each year are increasingly pompous and spectacular. Over the last few years, the cult of the “Great Victory” has become a quasi-religion and the main narrative in uniting Russian society.
May 25, 2016 - Oleksii Polegkyi