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Identity politics is nothing new

A conversation with Francis Fukuyama, professor, writer and public intellectual. Interviewer: Maciej Makulski

MACIEJ MAKULSKI: I would like to focus our conversation on your new book Identity Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment and to give our readers a proper context of what your new book is about. Why, in your opinion, is the concept of identity so central now? In your book you provide a very interesting history of how the concept of identity has evolved over the centuries, which means, for me, that identity has been present within the public debate for a long time. Why, then, it is so relevant for politics in the 21st century?

FRANCIS FUKUYAMA: I think that the politics of the present has shifted from 20th century politics. In the 20th century the big political divisions were really over economic ideology. It was divided by a left that was social democratic, and in some cases Marxist, that wanted greater economic equality, more redistribution and more social protections; and a right that was more oriented towards the free market and towards individual freedoms.

November 13, 2019 - Francis Fukuyama Maciej Makulski

A cold summer in Russia. A new wave of repressions and the rise of solidarity

The scale of repression in Russia is now more serious and terrifying than in 2012. At the same time, the Russian public has become more mature and fearless. Independent groups of lawyers provide free legal advice, journalists and activists defend human rights, and various crowdfunding campaigns provide financial assistance to those detained. As a result, prisoners feel encouraged even when they face the brutality of the system.

This summer was marked with a series of unprecedented political protests in Moscow, which started on June 12th and finished on September 29th. First, Russian citizens demanded justice for investigative journalist, Ivan Golunov, who was absurdly charged with the possession of an illegal substance with intent to distribute. Golunov was released days after the charges as a result of pressure from journalists, human rights activists and protesters on the streets of Moscow.

November 13, 2019 - Artem Filatov

We want to transform Ukraine

A conversation with Sviatoslav Yurash, a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with the Servant of the People party. Interviewer: Kateryna Pryshchepa

KATERYNA PRYSHCHEPA: Can you tell us the story how you became an MP?

SVIATOSLAV YURASH: In February 2019 I joined Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his presidential run. It has a backstory, but I joined in February, and I have been with the president ever since. I think the president has his heart in the right place, and has the right team to put his mind in the right place – and the mind of the whole Ukrainian nation. And for me it was clear that a man like this could one, defeat Petro Poroshenko, and two, unite the Ukrainian nation. And that is what he has done.

November 13, 2019 - Kateryna Pryshchepa Sviatoslav Yurash

Slovakia’s new wave and its limits

The new Slovak president illustrates that an alternative to Central European populism is politically viable. But her power is tamed by constitutional limits and the lasting and deep political polarisation between liberal democrats and conservative nationalists. The latter can particularly bar her allies from building a stable government after the February 2020 parliamentary elections.

Three days before the June European Council meeting, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini was still against the target of reaching climate neutrality in 2050. But two days before the summit, Pellegrini met the new Slovak President and made a U-turn the very same day. He said Slovakia was in favour of the EU goal, steering away from the other countries in the Visegrad Group.

November 13, 2019 - Pavol Szalai

Authority without power?

In his electoral campaign Gitanas Nausėda presented himself as a peacemaker. He promised a new standard in Lithuanian politics, one without intrigue or fighting. He explained that problems can be solved with dialogue. During the campaign he tried to appeal to all voters, but the people do not want a president without an opinion.

It was May 26th, almost midnight, when it became clear who will take over Dalia Grybauskaitė’s chair as Lithuania’s president. Gitanas Nausėda stood on the stage in front of the presidential palace, together with his wife, and celebrated his victory. “Things will be different,” Nausėda said in his victory speech. It has been over two months since Nausėda’s inauguration and the question remains – what has changed in Lithuania? What changes does Nausėda want to bring about and does he have a power to change much at all?

November 13, 2019 - Liepa Želnienė

From revolution to politics

For almost a year, Armenia has been undergoing a process of state reforms. Expectations are high. However, despite some initial positive results, any true success is still distant. The problems faced by the state are systemic in nature and cannot be solved through revolution alone.

Elected in May of 2018, the government of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was in a honeymoon phase until the end of the year. At that time, it only had nine mandates in the 105-seat National Assembly which put any bigger reforms at risk of being blocked from moving forward. The situation changed in December with early parliamentary elections when the political alliance called My Step received a constitutional majority and now has the power to build, at least in theory, a “new Armenia”.

November 13, 2019 - Mateusz Kubiak

A hot summer in Georgia

Georgia has witnessed strong political tension over the last several months. Tbilisi Pride, anti-Russian and anti-government protests, trouble with the construction of the Anaklia sea port, resolving the ownership dispute of the country’s popular opposition TV channel Rustavi 2 and the change of prime minister. A year ahead of parliamentary elections, Georgian politics is shaken as the Georgian Dream decided to go on an all-out offensive aiming at electoral victory.

November 13, 2019 - Wojciech Wojtasiewicz

International justice on hold

It has been over five years since the conflict has broken out in Ukraine, which saw Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea as well as direct military support for separatism in Donbas. Yet little has been done to achieve justice for the civilian victims of these devastating events. Recent steps taken by the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court may indicate some slow progress ahead.

The inauguration of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, recent parliamentary elections and the formation of a new government have brought the question of justice back to the forefront of Ukrainian politics. Until now, little has been achieved in terms of ending impunity for criminal acts and human rights abuses perpetrated during the 2013-14 EuroMaidan and events in Crimea and Donbas.

November 13, 2019 - Quincy Cloet

Big brother to the rescue? Can artificial intelligence help in Ukraine’s fight against corruption?

The US Ukraine scandal has been in the news 24/7 in the United States for over a month now. Consistent with the origin of the inquiry, the focus has been more on the United States than Ukraine. This article examines a recent development in Ukraine’s fight against corruption that got lost amidst the all other Ukraine-related news.

November 12, 2019 - Kristina V. Arianina

Why NATO is not brain dead

After 70 years in the security and defence business, NATO is still the most successful alliance the world has ever seen, and still the only “kid on the block” able to defend Europe against the villains in its the neighbourhood.

November 12, 2019 - Wojciech Michnik

Negotiations failed? Nagorno-Karabakh conflict reaches dangerous stage

A risky combination of official Armenian rhetoric and the exhaustion of Azerbaijani patience raises concern that another full-scale war could break out in the South Caucasus.

October 8, 2019 - Vasif Huseynov

History today is at the crossroads of many disciplines

A conversation with Dipesh Chakrabarty, a professor of history at the University of Chicago. Interviewer: Povilas Andrius Stepavičius

October 7, 2019 - Dipesh Chakrabarty Povilas Andrius Stepavičius

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