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Category: Discussion

Culture is an indivisible good: on the margins of “Ukrainians are calling for a cultural boycott of Russian artists. Is the world ready to listen?”

Many people have now called for an outright boycott of Russian culture, as if it bears some responsibility in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But such a radical move would only harm a new wave of Russian cultural figures attempting to challenge the essentialist understanding of the country’s values, as imposed by Kremlin’s propagandists.

August 4, 2022 - Joanna J. Matuszewska

For our freedom and yours

Ever since 2014 the war in Ukraine has often been thought of as a local conflict, wholly separate from wider issues. If Putin’s full-scale invasion has proven anything, however, it is that Kyiv now finds itself on the frontline of a battle to defend liberal democratic values against authoritarianism.

For at least a few years, if not more, we have heard many intellectuals grimly point to a growing crisis of democracy and an increase in populistic, authoritarian and even dictatorial tendencies in an increasing number of states. This trend has also been evidenced by Freedom House studies. The data these investigations have collected in recent years demonstrate that the number of democratic countries in the world has been on the decline since 2005. In addition, there have been numerous reports on the worsening quality of democracy in countries that may have not formally abandoned the democratic system of governance, but have become illiberal nonetheless.

July 15, 2022 - Mykola Riabchuk

Freedom and censorship in the post-truth era

A debate during the 34th Days of Contemporary Art in Białystok with Edwin Bendyk, Alex Freiheit, Father Wojciech Lemański, Tomasz Sikora, Joanna Wichowska and Serhiy Zhadan. Moderated by: Anna Łazar

January 27, 2020 - New Eastern Europe

Meeting with Dominic Lieven

Meeting with Cambridge Historian Dominic Lieven - November 19 2018, Massolit Books in Krakow, Poland.

December 2, 2018 - New Eastern Europe

Angst and hope on the edge of Europe

The question as to whether Europe is changing can be quickly answered. Yes, Europe is as a matter of fact persistently changing. For the very simple reason that Europe, after all, is nothing but an imagination – a part of what Edward Said once called “imaginative geography”. The conflicts surrounding the construction of the European […]

April 20, 2016 - María do Mar Castro Varela

A struggle for ideals

In early 1916 a book of lectures by a Swedish professor of politics, Rudolf Kjellén, was published as Die Ideen von 1914. Reflecting on contemporary events, Kjellén argued that it was time to reject the individualistic, cosmopolitan and morally confused liberal order that had brought the nations of Europe to conflagration. Instead of freedom (liberté), […]

April 20, 2016 - Matthew Kott

No longer seen as second-class

At present, we are starting to see more and more uniformity in Europe. Old Soviet roads and asbestos-covered houses in Eastern Europe are gradually disappearing and are being replaced with colourful facades, supermarkets and petrol stations. They all look alike, regardless of country or location. At the same time, Europe is becoming increasingly politically radical […]

April 20, 2016 - Natalia Sniadanko

The centre cannot hold

Reflecting on the turmoil occurring in Europe today, one is prone to ask whether it is a symptom of the larger global crisis or a sign of the European Union’s systemic weakness to withstand pressure from within. In particular, has the influx of refugees in 2015 manifest Brussels’ lack of will, means or both to […]

April 20, 2016 - Samuel Abrahám

The perils of invoking “European values”

The past months have been heralded as an “existential crisis” for the European project, with countless appeals regarding the need to “affirm” or “protect European values” made by political leaders at both the national and European levels. Whether in deliberating EU member states’ appropriate reception of refugees or the challenge of preserving open societies in […]

April 20, 2016 - Luiza Bialasiewicz

European ideals are now being tested

Anything can happen at any moment. Even the most careful analyses may turn out to be wrong. In physics, there is something akin to a state of equilibrium when you can make observations and experiment. By contrast, Europe is currently experiencing a state of chaos. It does not look positive to me at all. The […]

April 20, 2016 - Asli Erdogan

An alternative in a world without alternatives

In these less fortunate times, all I can say with certainty is that the 21st century will not be easy. In the worst case scenario, it will be as difficult as, or possibly even more so, than the 20th century, even though we all thought that the horror of the previous 100 years could never […]

April 19, 2016 - Tomas Venclova


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