Text resize: A A
Change contrast

Tag: history

Vladimir the historian: Putin’s political revision of Ukrainian history

For roughly a half a decade now, there has been a radicalising shift in the Kremlin’s understanding of its relations with Ukraine. As Ukraine continues to follow its own path, Vladimir Putin assumes an evermore extreme position that Ukraine, its peoples, language and culture simply do not exist. For Putin, Ukraine has always been and will always be a part of Russia.

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s longest-serving president and champion of post-Soviet stability, has accomplished much over the past 21 years. He has delivered Russia from the economic turmoil left by Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, fought and won two wars in Chechnya, and brought unprecedented levels of prosperity and technological development to Russia. He has also defended traditional values the world over, once again placing Russia on the map of the world’s great powers at the expense of democracy and a fruitful relationship with the West. Putin has won many titles for this, including that of the most powerful man on earth, a modern dictator, or the greatest Russian.

December 2, 2021 - Joshua Kroeker

The new Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre is a Trojan horse for Putin’s hybrid war

An interview with Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, a historian, philologist and essayist. Interviewers: Aleksander Palikot and Jerzy Sobotta

ALEKSANDER PALIKOT AND JERZY SOBOTTA: You’ve been visiting Babyn Yar since you were very young. The 80th anniversary has just passed. Was it different this time?

YOHANAN PETROVSKY-SHTERN: Most importantly this time there were two different commemorations. Between September 29th and 30th, there was an unofficial or semi-official event. I would have been there too, if not for my Northwestern University teaching commitment. Many people came, including representatives of various public organisations and representatives of different Ukrainian Jewish communities. They paid tribute to the 33,771 Jews massacred at Babyn Yar over two days in September 1941 during the Nazi occupation of Kyiv.

December 2, 2021 - Aleksander Palikot Jerzy Sobotta Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern

Novgorod, violence and Russian political culture

The themes of violence, plots and suspicion are integral parts of Russian political culture. Although it is not easy to trace the origins of these issues, they appear to partly stem from the times of Ivan the Terrible. His oprichnina and the sack of Novgorod marked the beginning of instutionalised oppression on an unprecedented scale.

Every autumn, the city of Veliky Novgorod hosts the Valdai Discussion Club. Introduced 17 years ago, these talks have focused on the country’s present and future and provide an arguably open and democratic environment for expert dialogue. Meanwhile, Russia’s political system has been evolving into an autocracy where basic civic freedoms are greatly limited and state violence is on the rise. Poisoning of those proclaimed foes and defectors, long prison sentences for peaceful protesters, and intimidation have become everyday realities for those who oppose the current state of affairs in the country.

December 2, 2021 - Miłosz Jeromin Cordes

Blindspots in Second World War history

Historical memory related to the Second World War is too complex for there to be a single version recognised around the world. This is because historical “truth” is by no means a simple matter of black and white. Addressing various blindspots and imbalances in understandings of the past may subsequently help tackle difficult historical legacies at political, legal and civil society levels.

The Second World War, with its unprecedented death toll, is the most painful and widespread armed conflict present in the collective memories of nations in the modern era. It was in fact many wars in one, with different front lines, enemies and consequences that can still be felt today. In an attempt to bridge the gap between different perspectives across the continents, the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum and its history programme “Confronting Memories” held the third discussion in its series on the Second World War in May 2021. This is part of various ongoing socio-political debates on postwar memory-making. This series of discussions aims to broaden understandings of the war’s history beyond the mainstream narratives and to draw lessons from human suffering and injustice that are often overlooked.

December 1, 2021 - Kristina Smolijaninovaitė

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

The Thalerhof internment camp and its legacy for the Rusyns of Eastern Europe

Lemko-Rusyn intellectuals, community leaders, and villagers would perish at the camp established by Austrian authorities on the site of the modern-day Graz Airport.

September 15, 2021 - Starik Pollock

Between history and magic

The protesters and Belarusian commentators adopted the role of colonised objects. The scale of the protests surprised everyone. As soon they erupted, the clichéd accounts that the pro-tests represent the birth of the nation were repeated like a mantra. Apparently it emerged sud-denly and Belarusians were formed as a nation in that moment.

A year has passed since the presidential elections in Belarus, which initiated an un-precedented social uprising, often referred to as the Belarusian revolution. Like most revolu-tions, the Belarusian one created its own symbols. Their appearance and dissemination among the protesters had primarily a unifying function. Symbols express the intentions of a revolu-tion. Their interpretation allows us to reconstruct the vision of the future that could emerge on the ruins of the overthrown regime. It raises the following question: one year after the start of protests, how can we describe the symbolism of the Belarusian revolution and can we say it will be an unfulfilled one?

September 12, 2021 - Paulina Siegień Wojciech Siegień

Shifting empires. The Treaty of Nystad turns 300

Three hundred years on, the Treaty of Nystad, which ended the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia, still has a strong legacy today. The new reality, which formed after the signing of the treaty on September 10th 1721, saw Moscow emerge as a significant actor in Europe.

Russia’s road to power and significance in the world was long and ambiguous. Moscow’s imperial aspirations were sparked by the start of the Great Northern War in 1700 and were confirmed exactly 300 years ago. The famous battle of Poltava on June 28th 1709 paved that way. Yet, in spite of its military significance, it was the diplomatic and legal solutions that announced the rise of a new player, taking Sweden’s place, at the table of European powers. But it took 12 more years before Moscow broke the will of Stockholm entirely.

September 12, 2021 - Grzegorz Szymborski

Life as a Moscow correspondent

A review of Assignment Russia. By: Marvin Kalb. Publisher: Brookings Institution Press, Washington DC, 2021.

September 12, 2021 - Luke Harding

Establishing a continental balance

A review of The Temptation of Homo Europaeus: An Intellectual History of Central and Southeastern Europe. By: Victor Neumann. Publisher: Scala Arts Publishers, London, 2021.

September 12, 2021 - Jacek Hajduk

A post-mortem monument

A review of Wrócę przed nocą. Reportaż o przemilczanym (I will come back before dusk. A reportage on the unspoken) By: Jerzy Szperkowicz. Publisher: Wydawnictwo Znak, Kraków, Poland, 2021.

September 12, 2021 - Paulina Małochleb

Fear as essential

A review of the film Dear Comrades! directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, Russia, 2020.

June 22, 2021 - Anna Efimova

Partners

Strony www hauerpower krakow studio krakow.