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Author: Tomasz Kamusella

Estonian Russian. If or when?

The Russian language is the only 'big language' in the world to remain so closely connected to its parent nation-state, Russia. Despite the fact that it is used so widely across the post-Soviet sphere, there are no official country-specific varieties of the Russian language. This kind of ethnolinguistic nationalism is yet another mode by which Moscow influences the “near-abroad” and even European Union member states.

May 8, 2019 - Tomasz Kamusella

Art and sex in communist Albania

Stalinist dogma called for socialist realist art that was meant to reproduce an enhanced (that is, unreal) reflection of the reality of “the people’s work and progress”. The stories of the pieces on display at a 2015 art exhibit in Tirana’s National Art Gallery demonstrate that socialist realist art was also quite prudish – but sometimes sexual, “anti-communist” art made it past the censors.

April 10, 2019 - Tomasz Kamusella

Bulgaria’s denial of its Ottoman past and Turkish identity

Despite more than five hundred years of Turkish rule, the majority of present-day Bulgarians demonise and reject “non-Bulgarian” – that is, Turkish, Muslim, or Roma – influences in their history and culture. While the Bulgarian government’s harshest policies of ethnic cleansing concluded with the fall of communism, this exclusivist narrative of Bulgarian national history nevertheless continues to discriminate against such communities.

March 24, 2019 - Tomasz Kamusella

Words matter. Bulgaria and the 30th anniversary of the largest ethnic cleansing in cold war Europe

Bulgarian communist dictator Todor Zhivkov led campaigns of forced assimilation and ethnic cleansing against non-Bulgarian minorities, particularly Turks and Muslims. Three decades after the 1989 ethnic cleansing and the subsequent transition to democracy, Bulgaria still has yet to reconcile with its past.

February 25, 2019 - Tomasz Kamusella

Yiddish-German: from Central Europe to the Holocaust and back?

Before the Second World War, German enjoyed the status of a global language on par with English, French and Spanish. It is a little-known fact that the German language’s vast geographic presence was possible only thanks to German-Yiddish speaking Ashkenazi Jews. While the Second World War destroyed German language and culture’s global status, it also meant the near-total 'extermination and stigmatisation of Yiddish language and culture.

January 16, 2019 - Tomasz Kamusella

Postcolonialism in the Soviet Bloc

A review of Socjalistyczny postkolonializm. Rekonsolidacja pamięci (Socialist Postcolonialism: Memory Reconsolidation). By: Adam F Kola. Publisher: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń, Poland, 2018.

During the latter half of the 1980s I was a student of English language philology and literature at the University of Silesia in Katowice. Through assigned readings we were introduced to the western discourse of postcolonialism, but the lecturers took care to not operationalise these analytical instruments for any research on books and essays written and published in communist Poland or the Soviet bloc. Some conclusions that we could arrive at about our own communist regime might be ideologically dangerous for ourselves and our tutors. When communism collapsed in 1989 and the Soviet Union broke up two years later, the imageries and analytical approaches of postcolonialism suddenly began to make much sense to my colleagues and myself.

November 5, 2018 - Tomasz Kamusella

Bulgaria: an unlikely personality cult

The Zhivkov personality cult reaches its annual crescendo during the lavish celebrations of the late dictator's successive anniversaries of birth on the 7th of September in his hometown of Pravets, near Sofia. EU and Bulgarian flags will again provide the background for a leader synonymous with Bulgarian communism, including its darker chapters.

September 7, 2018 - Tomasz Kamusella

Belarus: A Chinese Solution?

Lukashenko's skilful navigation in between Russia and the EU suddenly gains another dimension as the Belarusian strongman opens up his country to China.

July 31, 2018 - Tomasz Kamusella

Forgetting Chechnya

Review of Irena Brežná's "She-Wolves from Sernovodsk: Notes from the Russo-Chechen War" and Polina Zherebtsova's "Ant in a Glass Jar: Chechen Diaries, 1994–2004".

July 10, 2018 - Tomasz Kamusella

Minority Language Protection Legislation: A Sobering Note

The annexation of Crimea and war in eastern Ukraine reintroduced the topic of language politics for good. What are some of the drawbacks of modern policies towards minority languages?

June 4, 2018 - Tomasz Kamusella

Russian: Between re-ethnicisation and pluricentrism

A more peaceful and stable world is possible. A de-ethnicised pluricentric Russian language – thus transformed into a colorful multiethnic and multicultural multitude of world Russians – could be a versatile means to this end.

February 9, 2018 - Tomasz Kamusella

Hybrid war: The real casualties in Ukraine

Russia’s Post-Soviet Wars

The undeclared Russian onslaught on Ukraine commenced in late 2013. The EuroMaidan revolution held in Kyiv in the dead of the 2013/14 winter showed the determination of the Ukrainians to join the Euro-Atlantic structures. The discredited Viktor Yanukovych’s government that ordered the use of live ammunition and snipers against the peaceful protesters fled (with whatever they could grab of their amassed kleptocratic fortunes) to their pay and task master in Moscow. In the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war 11,000 to 15,000 people have been killed by mid-2017 and 1.6 million have left the warzone as internal or international refugees. To this number 50,000 refugees from Russia-occupied Crimea must be added.

September 8, 2017 - Tomasz Kamusella

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