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Author: Paweł Kowal

The end of the belle époque

It seems that the latest belle époque in western history is nearing its end, which could mean the end of the West as we know it. A miracle can happen, of course, as history is full of unexpected turns and changes, but if the current trends continue we can only await the melancholy of the fin de siècle before another massive change.

The first belle époque preceded the First World War. It took place when, after the end of the French-Prussian war in 1871, European states experienced an extraordinary economic and cultural boom. The telephone, the automobile, as well as the aeroplane were the great inventions of the belle époque which defined our understanding of the comfort and progress of the 20th century. Thanks to these three inventions, as well as peace and prosperity, the Third French Republic and Imperial Germany were able to increase their might and thus rapidly developed.

January 28, 2020 - Paweł Kowal

The failure of Pax Americana

The collapse of the international order we are now witnessing is also seen in the failure of Pax Americana in the post-Soviet space. Since the end of the Cold War, the West has targeted this region with hyper-fast change and the peaceful transition from totalitarianism to democracy. Today, we know that it has had a limited impact.

In 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, the world was faced with a colossal challenge. It was clear that the obsolete Soviet system had to be replaced with a new model, preferably one that based on the free market and liberal democracy. The transition started in Central Europe in 1989 but did not spread to the whole post-Soviet space. On the ruins of the former Soviet empire, many states did not succumb to the democratisation processes which, in time, created an opportunity for the ancient empires (Russia, China and Turkey) to develop an alternative plan and fill the void that was caused by the limited effectiveness of the West’s engagement. For the leaders of these powers (Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in particular) the post-Soviet states offered new lucrative opportunities.

March 5, 2019 - Paweł Kowal

There is clear progress in Ukraine

Interview with Paweł Kowal, a post-doctoral fellow at the College of Europe in Natolin and former Member of the European Parliament. Interviewer: Iwona Reichardt

November 26, 2018 - Iwona Reichardt Paweł Kowal

Response to readers’ comments – Five rings of the empire

In the current issue of New Eastern Europe we published an essay titled “The five rings of the empire” by Paweł Kowal.

After publishing the piece online, we received a few reader questions about the author’s decision to include the Scottish National Party in his analysis such as the one below.

March 27, 2017 - Paweł Kowal

The five rings of the empire

This piece originally appeared in Issue 2/2017 of New Eastern Europe. Subscribe now.

March 23, 2017 - Paweł Kowal

A New Opening for the EU?

Edward Lucas of the Economist is right. When it comes to Ukraine, both the United States and the European Union acted too late.

February 20, 2014 - Paweł Kowal

The Belarusian Atmosphere

Public reassurances on cash that is to be transferred by Russia in order to fill the budget gaps; a lack of possibility of returning money and the quiet takeover of property: such as the privatisation of enterprises or networks of enterprises, in other words the crawling process of becoming dependent on Russia.

December 1, 2013 - Paweł Kowal

Before Plan B

“Plan B” – until recently a forbidden phrase in analysing EU-Ukraine relations – is now starting to dominate conversations. For the time being let it be drafted, while those who are still playing the game should think about strategic scenarios before the Vilnius Summit.

November 25, 2013 - Paweł Kowal

Before Plan B

“Plan B” – until recently a forbidden phrase in analysing EU-Ukraine relations – is now starting to dominate conversations. For the time being let it be drafted, while those who are still playing the game should think about strategic scenarios before the Vilnius Summit.

November 25, 2013 - Paweł Kowal

The Home Stretch

On the day after the elections in 2006 in Ukraine, someone asked Yulia Tymoshenko if she had already started talks with Viktor Yushchenko on a coalition between their parties. She said that she was sleeping with the phone, waiting for the call.

November 13, 2013 - Paweł Kowal

The Home Stretch

On the day after the elections in 2006 in Ukraine, someone asked Yulia Tymoshenko if she had already started talks with Viktor Yushchenko on a coalition between their parties. She said that she was sleeping with the phone, waiting for the call.

November 13, 2013 - Paweł Kowal

A Pact with the Oligarchs

This is a shortened version of an essay originally appearing in New Eastern Europe Issue 2(VII)/2013 “Painful Past, Fragile Future”. For the full article please see the print edition here.

July 14, 2013 - Paweł Kowal

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