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Tag: Eastern Europe

Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest

Ukraine’s recent Eurovision victory has shown the world its vibrant music industry. This is especially true given the ongoing Russian invasion, with the contest providing a platform for the country to promote its own unique identity.

May 19, 2022 - Arkadiusz Zając

Nothing but a Curtain

I travelled 7325 km across the former Eastern Bloc to document post-communist gender identity.

December 30, 2021 - Zula Rabikowska

Legacies of the real and imagined Soviet Union 1991–2021

Over the past 30 years, Soviet legacies have persisted in many former Soviet republics and it remains unclear under what conditions they will disappear. Furthermore, the various real and artificially created images of the Soviet Union seem to reinforce each other.

Thirty years have passed since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. The majority of those born immediately after the end of the USSR have already completed their education, joined the labour force and started a family. As a result, it appears less and less appropriate to refer to countries like Armenia, Kazakhstan or Ukraine as “post-Soviet” countries. Does this mean, however, that we can forget about the Soviet past while trying to understand the political, economic, cultural and social realities in countries that were once part of the USSR? Overall, the legacy of the Soviet Union appears to be more durable and complex than one would expect.

December 1, 2021 - Alexander Libman Anastassia Obydenkova

A History of Europe Fraught in Contradictions: 1989–2021

The peaceful revolutions of 1989 created a new Europe. This Europe is threatened to be lost today – 30 years later. Within the European continent national intolerance and the use of violence are part of everyday life. Politics is becoming more and more intransparent. Are there chances for change? Anyone who subscribes to the values of the Enlightenment is always at the beginning.

On New Year’s Eve 1989 I was standing on Wenceslas Square, Prague, in the midst of a crowd of hundreds of thousands. We were celebrating the country’s recently won freedom and chanted “Václav Havel to the Hradčany” – as president. Only four years earlier, I had been arrested and expelled from the country due to my contacts with civil rights activists. Later, I was in Poland and kneeled at the grave of Jerzy Popiełuszko, the priest who had been murdered by members of the secret police in 1984. In 1988 and 1989 I lived for many months in perestroika Moscow and there, at the very centre of the Soviet empire, I witnessed an exhilarating freedom movement across all countries of the “Warsaw Pact”.

December 1, 2021 - Wolfgang Eichwede

Belarusian: An extremist language?

In 2008 the Belarusian ministry of information launched a list of extremist materials that are officially banned in the country. Symbolically, the item which opens this list is a CD-ROM disc ostensibly with the recording of a lesson of the Belarusian language. No more details are provided, though some say this entry refers to the 2006 documentary film on the rigged 2006 presidential election. One way or another, what irks the Belarusian government most is the Belarusian language.

October 11, 2021 - Tomasz Kamusella

Covering up tragedy and the myth of the Great Patriotic War

As the successor state to the Soviet Union, Russia’s great power status is arguably dependent on the legacy of the Great Victory and a sense of moral superiority. Any challenges to Russia’s status as victor and liberator in the Second World War, including an overemphasis on the Soviet Union’s failures or the high number of deaths, could potentially damage Russia’s sense of identity and geopolitical ambitions.

September 30, 2021 - Jade McGlynn

Redefining US strategy in the region

The time has come to strengthen Euro-Atlantic unity on its Eastern flank. A new US-led strategy should be aimed towards redrawing the line between Europe and Eurasia and to send a signal that the transatlantic community and the region of Central and Eastern Europe can be truly united, and that America is back.

The tenacity shown by President Joe Biden’s administration in their attempts to restore unity in the West has made others quickly forget all the tensions within the transatlantic community during Donald Trump’s four years. It is not only interesting to follow all the steps being taken by the new US administration, they also inspire optimism and confidence, creating expectations of geopolitical momentum. However, the consolidation of the West seems a far more complicated matter than previously thought.

September 12, 2021 - Dmytro Tuzhanskyi

Ukraine deserves better analysis than it has

An interview with Cédric Gras, French writer and former director of Alliance Française in Donetsk. Interviewer: Clémence Lavialle

CLÉMENCE LAVIALLE: Could you tell me how it happened that you started your career in Russia?

CÉDRIC GRAS: Well, I never had a clear career plan. Therefore, I started my professional life by doing what I had always wanted to do – travelling and climbing mountains. I was able to make a decent life out of it. But to make a living out of it, I knew that I had to tell a story through reports, writings, and photographs. In this way, I try to show the world in different forms: academic and more artistic. I try to tell the story of today's world.

September 12, 2021 - Cédric Gras Clémence Lavialle

Where is Eastern Europe heading?

A review of Eastern Europe since 1989. Between Loosened Authoritarianism and unconsolidated democracy. By: Mykola Riabchuk. Publisher, Studium Europy Wschodniej, Warsaw University, Warsaw, 2020.

September 12, 2021 - Maryana Prokop

From the unknown to the better known. Evolution of French thinking about Eastern Europe

Interview with Alexandra Goujon, a professor of political science at the University of Burgundy. Interviewer: Clémence Lavialle.

August 13, 2021 - Alexandra Goujon Clémence Lavialle

Joe Biden needs Eastern Europe as a success story

The European Union currently faces several domestic issues. It is still a union of member states, whose leaders have different approaches towards many challenges, and still has no common army or military strategy. That is why US engagement in the region is still necessary, just as it was in the 1990s after the fall of communism.

“America is back” – that is how Joe Biden began his speech regarding his foreign policy priorities. What does that mean for the world and Europe in particular? Since the Second World War, no US president has brought so much foreign policy expertise to the White House. Biden probably has the most significant international experience among current world leaders, and especially amongst American politicians.

April 11, 2021 - Vladyslav Faraponov

Redeeming Europe

In the first half of the 11th century, the Byzantine Empire, a global empire with the capital in Constantinople, had a territory which comprised of the lands that belong to today’s Greece, the Balkans, Turkey, Armenia and Crimea, as well as Syria and Italy. The Byzantine Empire, which played an important role in the Middle Ages, had contacts with Slavic countries and directly influenced the statehood and religious life in what today we call Eastern Europe.

Europe is an idea. Matter-of-factly, the European civilisation, as we call it today, had come into being before states and nations, its capricious children, were born. Throughout the ages, it matured, was formed and clashed with other civilisations. It learnt from them and shared its achievements with them. Finally, as a result of these clashes, as well as the less noticeable internal transformations, this concept has undergone numerous metamorphoses.

April 11, 2021 - Jacek Hajduk

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