Text resize: A A
Change contrast
new Eastern Europe Krakow new Eastern Europe

Stories and ideas

A country of grumblers? Hungarian values and how to misunderstand them

Are Hungarians ill-fated and determined to be incapable of overcoming their historical baggage? Some seem to think so, including some sociologists. Yet, it is worth remembering that political trajectories do not follow pre-drawn patterns, so we should look at the circumstances which can hold societies back in their democratisation.

Something is rotten in Hungary and the international media coverage seems quite keen on pointing this out. However, it offers very little explanation for why it is happening. International interest in Hungarian politics has increased, especially since the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election in 2016 – which illustrated how serious the far-right shift of mainstream politics has become. Yet, Hungary had already been under the illiberal supermajority for six years, and by then it was well past all the major battles in which its democratic institutions had faced.

November 17, 2020 - Réka Kinga Papp

Our common heritage

The region of today’s Central and Eastern Europe was mostly part of the eastern half of the Roman Empire. Its religion, writings, customs and traditions came from Byzantium rather than Rome. One exception is Poland, which was baptised in the western style and not by Cyril and Methodius. This fact, however, could be interpreted as the main cause of Poland’s great tragedy.

The world we came to live in today should not have come to us as a big surprise. Neither should the internal problems of the European Union, which, the late Polish science fiction writer, Stanisław Lem, even predicted some time ago. Earlier events such as the Arab Spring, or the weakening position of the United States, and Russia’s imperial aspirations should not have shocked us either.

November 17, 2020 - Jacek Hajduk

Clan war instead of fighting coronavirus and corruption

Chaos is probably the most accurate word to describe what has been happening recently in Kyrgyzstan. Political pluralism in this Central Asian state is so advanced that the Kyrgyz people find it difficult to understand who is currently seeing eye-to-eye with whom, who is against whom, and who calls the shots.

Nearly a month has passed since the October 4th parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan, but it remains unclear who is actually holding power in the country. There were as many as three individuals claiming the prime minister’s seat. President Sooronbay Jeenbekov announced that “as soon as the situation stabilises” he would be ready to step down. After the resignation of subsequent Supreme Council speakers, two of the deputies argued which one had the right to preside over the Supreme Council (the country’s parliament).

November 16, 2020 - Ludwika Włodek

The power of Ukrainian youth

Young Ukrainians tend to put the values that are related to their lives first. These include family, health, well-being and love. They also value clear conscious, service to the homeland and having open debates on social issues. Over half declare that they feel responsible for the future of their state and want to contribute to it.

The first 25 years of independent Ukraine is already behind us. In attempts to help understand the changes that have occurred over this time, there are countless political, economic and social analyses, commentaries, recommendations and prognoses. The vast majority of them have referred to this period as one of wasted opportunities. In our research, which we have been carrying out in this regards, we focus on the role the youth has played in the democratic transformation and its future potential.

November 16, 2020 - Natalia Dolgopolova, Anna Surkova, Kinga Anna Gajda, Alina Meheda

Armenian Syrians. From one war to another

Syrian refugees, who left their homes because of the war, are risking their lives trying to get into countries neighbouring Syria, as well as to Europe. More than 20,000 went to Armenia – the vast majority as descendants of Armenians who fled the massacres at the beginning of the century in today's Turkey. They lived there peacefully until another conflict re-erupted.

Today, Yerevan is full of new flavours and fragrances. While walking along its streets, one cannot help but notice Middle Eastern smells coming from the new restaurants and bars. In the urban landscape more and more Arabic-language signs can be observed: “Aleppo shop”; “Syrian cuisine” (next to the usual ones in Armenian or Russian). This Caucasian capital has been increasingly permeated by Middle Eastern influences caused by the complicated history of the Armenians nation, and wars.

November 16, 2020 - Magdalena Chodownik

Along with Swab Germans in Georgia

The year 2017 marked the 200th anniversary since the first German settlers (mainly Wurttemberg Swabs) showed up in Georgia. A number of factors contributed to this migration. However, Wurttemberg’s internal affairs, such as constant warring conditions, increased taxes and economic hardship, played major roles. Moreover, the increased discontent towards the Lutheran church strengthened religious protests that sent the population searching for new homes. Even though, the Swab presence ended by the hands of those who had originally invited them, and much of its historical remains have been conquered by nature, their legacy continues to capture people’s hearts and minds in Georgia.

September 16, 2020 - Bacho Chubinidze

“Freedom for Tofiq Yaqublu”. The price of political opposition

Tofiq Yaqublu, the Azerbaijani opposition leader and prisoner of conscience, started a hunger strike demanding the reversal of his recent prison sentence. This is a desperate cry for justice in a country where everything depends on the whim of the president.

September 16, 2020 - Anna Zamejc

The pandemic’s toll on Lviv

Lvivians have much in common with Italians. They enjoy the company of others and lead social lives. They cannot live without coffee and gossip, and they gladly start conversations with strangers. Maybe this is why we have the highest infection rates in Ukraine.

I live in Lviv, where I work as a tour guide. I tell people stories. Today I have a story to share with you. It is about Lviv, Ukraine and guided tours in the time of coronavirus. The pandemic did not come to us unexpectedly. After all, we had been watching the news. It did, however, come suddenly, like a wave that covered the entire tourist sector and beyond. On March 9th, I was returning to Lviv from a weekend away in the mountains. Life was going on as usual. That day I picked up an advance payment for a hotel group stay that was planned for June. I also received an e-mail informing me of a cancelled a trip scheduled for March 21st. This request surprised me and seemed unfounded at the time. After all, we only had one confirmed case of coronavirus in all of Ukraine!

September 7, 2020 - Katarzyna Łoza

The cost of saving Europe’s asparagus harvest

In our “Europe without borders” that stipulates all European citizens have the same inalienable rights, the reality is very far from the ideal. The COVID-related scandals surrounding seasonal workers, slaughterhouses and overcrowded living facilities have brought an unspoken societal consensus to the forefront – namely, which lives we deem most valuable and worthy of protection.

As the economic plunge caused by COVID-19 erodes prosperity across the European Union, the distinctive vulnerability of migrant workers and minorities has been increasingly exposed. Although this discussion has focused on the staggeringly high mortality rates among the black and minority populations in the United States and the United Kingdom, a much less discussed, yet equally beleaguered, group includes seasonal and precarious workers from Central and Eastern Europe employed along both sides of the Dutch-German border, whom the economic slump provoked by the pandemic has turned into a disposable resource at greater risk of infection.

September 7, 2020 - Alexandra Wishart

Even before the pandemic, we have been living in isolation

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on both Moldova and the breakaway region of Transdniestria. Moldova remains on the so-called “red list” of countries due to its high number of COVID-19 cases. Transdniestrians, meanwhile, face even more severe restrictions. Since March 16th a state of emergency was declared in the para-state and its borders with Ukraine and Moldova have been closed.

COVID-19 harshly hit the population on the banks of the Dniester River – those from Moldova, on the right bank, and those from the breakaway region of Transdniestria, on the left bank. While the people of Transdniestria have been living in a symbolic isolation for the past number of decades, the measures imposed by the de-facto authorities there during the outbreak made the region even more isolated. However this has not stopped the people of the region from exploring alternative ways of connecting with the outside world and with each other.

September 7, 2020 - Marina Shupac

Picking strawberries in a pandemic

Recently, there were over two million migrant workers in Poland. When the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic closed down companies and factories, many of them were left out of work. Some of them went back to their homes. Then came another problem – it turned out that the Polish economy does not function so well without foreign workers.

Every few minutes, a new van arrives at the market in Czerwińsk nad Wisłą – a village about 65 kilometres northwest of Warsaw. Crowds of merchants converge around every one of them. The driver does not even have time to park or open the door, the merchants surround him. The vehicle stops, the door opens. Another one arrives, with only a few goods, taking up a third of the van. There are several dozen boxes of strawberries inside. These are the only ones available. The crowd shouts: “How much? How much?”

September 7, 2020 - Magdalena Chodownik Omar Marques

How an absurd legal case turned into a fight for the future of Russian theatre

On June 26th Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court announced that theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov and his colleagues would face a suspended sentence along with a series of fines. The case of the alleged fraud of the theatre company Sedmaya Studia reverberated throughout the entire cultural community in Russia and abroad.

On June 26th the international theatre community awaited the decision of the Moscow Court regarding the fate of Kirill Serebrennikov. Serebrennikov, a leading director in Russia, was accused of committing large-scale fraud. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to over five years in prison. His case was covered by major European newspapers, from The Guardian to Der Spiegel and Le Monde, and was commented on by various celebrities, both in Russia and abroad. Even those unfamiliar with the case became suspicious when a director with numerous awards, whose work have been shown at festivals in Avignon, Venice and Cannes, was accused of stealing government money, particularly in a country ranked 149th out of 180 in the Press Freedom Index.

September 4, 2020 - Alina Aleshchenko

Partners

Terms of Use | Cookie policy | Copyryight 2020 Kolegium Europy Wschodniej im. Jana Nowaka-Jeziorańskiego 31-153 Kraków
tworzenie stron www - hauerpower.com studio krakow.