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Category: 20 years of the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program

Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program Celebrates its 20th anniversary

For 20 years, the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program has been providing one-year stays at Polish universities for young professionals from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Southern Caucasus. Its primary objective is to share Poland’s experience of systemic transformation with the citizens of other countries.

April 6, 2020 - Lane Kirkland Program

The transformation as a learning process

A conversation with Andrew Nagorski, journalist, writer and chairman of the board of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation. Interviewer: Iwona Reichardt

IWONA REICHARDT: Let us start with the memories of a reporter. For many years, you were working for the American press. When was your first encounter with the communist system here in the region?

ANDREW NAGORSKI: My first encounter was as an exchange student at the Jagiellonian University in 1968. After graduating from college and teaching history in the United States, I joined Newsweek in 1973. Eventually I ended up being stationed in Moscow from 1981, but after 14 months the Kremlin decided they did not want me and expelled me. At that point I went to Rome where I was covering the Vatican, including Pope John Paul II. As lovely as that assignment was, I really wanted to get back to covering this region. I ended up going to our regional hub in Bonn in 1985 and from there I started going in and out of all the countries of the then Soviet Bloc.

April 6, 2020 - Andrew Nagorski Iwona Reichardt

Ukraine. Going West despite everything

In 2014 Ukraine found itself at a turning point when the government signed the political and (later) economic parts of the Association Agreement with the European Union. Six years later it has become evident that too little time has passed to fully evaluate this period, but one thing is certain: Ukraine is determined to stay on the path to the West.

In the spring of 2014, shortly after the EuroMaidan victory, I attended regular meetings of bank executives from the National Bank of Ukraine to discuss system stabilisation and reform. The smell of burned tyres lingered in the air as a constant reminder. A feeling of hope and expectation was growing within Ukrainian society. However the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas were in their active phases and the Ukrainian economy was in chaos.

April 6, 2020 - Volodymyr Kuzyo

Moldova. A captured state that remains captured

Despite a brief moment of hope at the end of last year, Moldova continues to experience a period of instability which goes back to 2014. The institutions remain weak and are influenced by the politicians. Their autonomy is on paper only, justice is highly politicised and the economy is in poor shape. Unfortunately the outlook remains grim.

The Republic of Moldova has had its fair share of turmoil over the last several years. After a few years of positive developments on the path towards European integration, the trend reversed in 2014 when three of the country’s biggest banks had been robbed of about one billion dollars, or about one-eighth of the country’s GDP. In a matter of just one month, both the public outrage and the fall of the local currency that followed wiped out the five years of effort that culminated with the association of the Republic of Moldova with the European Union, the signing of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU and the adoption of a visa-free regime for travel to the EU. Moldova’s political life has stood under the sign of the events of 2014 ever since.

April 6, 2020 - Dan Nicu

Georgia. A successful transformation and a challenge to the oligarchs

Georgia is one of the most successful examples of transformation and reform within the post-Soviet space. However current events – the weakening of democratic institutions and informal ruling – threaten the achievement of modernisation as well as the country’s trajectory towards the West.

Starting after independence, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia faced a number of critical challenges. First, a civil war broke out between the supporters and opponents of the first president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. This was followed by the bloody conflicts in Abkhazia and the South Ossetia/Tskhinvali region. As a result of these events, Georgia lost control over a part of its territory, its industry and infrastructure were destroyed, and its GDP fell by 44 per cent. Under the leadership of President Eduard Shevardnadze from 1995 to 2003, the country experienced relative stability, yet this period was characterised by corruption of the state, criminality, and the inability of the state to cope with its functions.

April 6, 2020 - Dimitri Avaliani

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