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Stories and ideas

Look, she is a terrorist’s wife!

This photostory is about the daily struggles of the Crimean Tatars in their new reality following the Russian annexation. This involves accusations of terrorism and legal battles with the new authorities that shake the core of the Crimean Tatar society.

January 10, 2020 - Alina Smutko

The Pomors

The Kashubians in Poland and the Pomors in Russia. They have different histories, ways of life and problems. However, there are many things uniting them. Primarily it is the sea. This is the second part in a series on the Kashubians and Pomors.

December 19, 2019 - Ekaterina Maximova Paulina Siegień

The Kashubians

The Kashubians in Poland and the Pomors in Russia. They have different histories, ways of life and problems. However, there are many things uniting them. Primarily it is the sea. This is the first part in a series on the Kashubians and Pomors.

December 13, 2019 - Ekaterina Maximova Paulina Siegień

Preserving the GDR

In Germany there is more than one narrative about its East German past. The official one, which can be seen in the Berlin-based GDR Museum, shows a rather murky picture of oppression in a totalitarian state. This story is complemented by an alternative narrative, which is created by the people who still hold positive memories of their country’s socialist past.

I start my journey with Berlin. With dozens of tourists I wait in line to the GDR Museum located on the banks of the Spree River. Opened to the public in 2006 it is one of the main attractions of Germany’s capital, advertised all over the city and, as expected, visited by thousands of people a year. They come from all over the world. The visitors, as I gather from the conversations I overhear while waiting in the line for a ticket, differ in age and knowledge of what they are about to see.

November 12, 2019 - Iwona Reichardt

Bridging global talents

As part of the “Bridging Global Talents Worldwide” initiative, doctoral students from leading institutions around the world are visiting Poland to share their expertise and discover what is being done in their field at the Cracow University of Technology (CUT).

September 22, 2019 - New Eastern Europe

The time for big ideas

In the last five years since the start of the war in Donbas, a new wave of civic engagement has risen in the post-industrial city of Sievierodonetsk. Now the civil society has to learn how to co-operate with city officials and between themselves.

In the spring of 2014 a large part of the Donbas region fell into the hands of Russian-supported separatists. Since then, the city of Sievierodonetsk became the new capital of the Ukrainian-controlled Luhansk region. It is located just 30 kilometres away from the border which separates Ukrainian-controlled territory with the separatist-held self-declared republics supported by Russian forces.

August 26, 2019 - Svitlana Oslavska

From Piața Universității to #rezist

The true goal of the 2107 protests was the fight against passivity. Many of the protesters would not have bothered to vote in the last general elections, but through their presence on the streets, they cast their vote in their own way. It was a fiesta in the truest sense.

In 2017 the Romanian government changed legal provisions which allowed for the pardoning of corrupt officials and changed the law to be more relaxed towards the abuse of power. Since they were announced, frequent anti-government demonstrations in many cities in Romania broke out as thousands voiced their concern that the country was moving away from the values of the EU. The poet, novelist and academic Ruxandra Cesereanu was involved with these protests from the very beginning, documenting them in a journal which will be published in Romania. Here are some excerpts from her writings.

August 26, 2019 - Ruxandra Cesereanu

Covering up cross-border co-operation between Lithuania and Kaliningrad

On the Eastern border of the European Union, a new stage of cross-border co-operation with Russia has begun. Yet, new joint initiatives are unravelling in a tense atmosphere.

On January 23rd this year a particularly cold morning breaks on the border between the European Union and the Russian oblast of Kaliningrad. At 8 am, Lithuanian anti-corruption officers wrapped in thick coats are conducting a search at the Jurbarkas District Municipality building. Their heavy steps wake up the provincial bureaucracy. The gossip that the search is related to Russia spreads rapidly through the building’s dark corridors and soon reaches local and national media.

August 26, 2019 - Gil Skorwid

Inside Kyiv’s co-living community

The Vilnyy co-living space in Kyiv is an example of a creative innovative space for Ukraine’s young people to commune together. It is entirely self-sufficient, not reliant on grants or support from outsider sources. Instead, it is built and designed by the community living there, adapting over time with each change of resident.

As expanding western and Asian cities face a growing housing crisis, there has been an outcry from frustrated young people to remodel the housing sector. An idea has recently emerged to fill this void: “Co-living”. It is currently making a mark in high-cost cities such as London, New York and Singapore, but surprisingly a bourgeoning market has recently sprung up in Kyiv. However, Ukraine’s adoption to the co-living model is far away from the polished-for-profit western trend, but could offer a genuine affordable alternative.

August 26, 2019 - Dominic Culverwell

Prides of the former socialist bloc

Under communism, the Romanian village of Vama Veche was a unique place of freedom, even if it was somewhat limited. It was a destination for students, artists and intellectuals, as well as a place of work for secret agents who were trying to monitor liberated minds. After the transformation the resort remained the “capital of Romania’s youth” and continues to be popular. Thus, as is often the case with such places, the natural desire to keep things as they were competes with the desire to make profit.

The train from Bucharest, which at this time of the year is heated by the sun, slowly makes its way towards the Black Sea. Outside the window, the landscape is quite monotonous – a vast and flawless flat area, which looks like it was run over by a gigantic bulldozer, is dusty and spreads out under the intensive blue sky. Endless sunflower and corn fields are only decorated with occasional poplar copses. From time to time the train passes a forgotten railway station located either beside a small depopulated town or near a post-communist industrial plant.

August 26, 2019 - Katarina Novikova and Wiktor Trybus

Life on the Sava

A journey of almost 1000 km along the Danube's greatest tributary kindling a dialogue between man, nature and neighbours.

June 28, 2019 - Dan McCrum

When bridges turn out to be walls

With all due respect to my western friends, I cannot accept calls to construct “bridges” with Russia right now, unless and until Russian proxies stop killing my fellow citizens. Only after the shooting stops and Russian troops withdraw from Ukrainian territory can we engage in any kind of dialogue.

The only bridge I remember seeing in my childhood was the railway bridge across the Styr River. It separated the city of Lutsk, where I was born, and Rovantsi, a village where I used to spend my summer holidays at my grandparents’ house. The bridge separated two banks of the river rather than connected them. I do not misuse the word. The bridge was closed for civilians and only military personnel from a small garrison nearby were allowed to cross, maintain and guard it from the high towers on both banks.

May 2, 2019 - Mykola Riabchuk

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