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Category: Issue 3-4 2019

Beyond nostalgia

The 30th anniversary of the fall of communism is an important milestone for Romania. Yet this anniversary is not present within the public space. Instead, today’s challenges appear to be far more pressing for society.

For many Romanians, the fall of the communist regime in 1989 was an unexpected moment that brought hope for a different way of life and a better future. Nicolae Manolescu, a Romanian literary critic, public intellectual and politician in The Right to Normality (published in 1991) pleaded for the restoration of normalcy after the political, social and cultural “rupture” brought by the communist regime in Romania. But what did this “normality” mean, and who was asking for it?

May 2, 2019 - Eugen Stancu

Bulgaria’s taboo

In recent years, Bulgarians have gained better clarity about what happened during communism because of the efforts of researchers who dared dig up the dirt and make their findings available to a broader audience. And it is only now that the crimes of communism have been included in the mandatory school curriculum. This transparency is essential for understanding the political processes in Bulgaria post-1989.

I was born in Bulgaria in 1985, but I first learned about the particularities of communism in an academic setting in 2003 when I started university in the United States and enrolled in various classes on political science and history. Until then, my understanding of communism was entirely based on conversations with my family and the obscure samizdat books which my grandfather kept in his library.

May 2, 2019 - Radosveta Vassileva

The curse of perestroika

Perestroika spawned entrepreneurship and readiness to undertake independent actions. It broadened access to managing the country and created the ground for creativity and innovation from one side. However from the other side it opened the Pandora’s Box of social, ethnic, national, economic and territorial conflicts.

It became common in Russia to remember Mikhail Gorbachev only in the negative sense and to blame him for the “breakup of the Soviet Union” and further troubles of Russia. Only one person was worse than him – Boris Yeltsin – and nothing was possible to do with this stereotype. However this year has seen a new trend – on March 2nd, Gorbachev’s birthday, positive comments and wishes for long life were posted on Facebook and other blogs. He was thanked for perestroika, for the freedom he gave and the opportunities he provided. At such moments one becomes witness to how eras change: a new generation is emerging.

May 2, 2019 - Anastasia Sergeeva

Vladimir Putin. What’s left to say?

A review of We need to talk about Putin. How the West gets him wrong. By: Mark Galeotti. Publisher: Penguin Random House, United Kingdom, 2019.

May 2, 2019 - Adam Reichardt

Accidental borders and blurred identities

A review of The Caucasus. An Introduction. Second edition. By Thomas de Waal. Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2019.

May 2, 2019 - Krzysztof Strachota

The taste of evil

A review of Błoto Słodsze Niż Miód. Głosy Komunistycznej Albanii (Mud is sweeter than honey. Voices in communist Albania). By: Małgorzata Rejmer. Publisher: Wydawnictwo Czarne, Wołowiec Poland, 2018.

May 2, 2019 - Małgorzata Nocuń

The unheard voices of war

A review of Інтернат (The Boarding School). By: Serhiy Zhadan. Publisher: Meridian, Chernivtsi, Ukraine.

May 2, 2019 - Zbigniew Rokita

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