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Tag: memory

The unfin(n)ished story of the Baltic alliance

From the region’s perspective, the 1922 Warsaw Accord between Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Poland was a significant step in strengthening geopolitical interests and safeguarding against Russian aggression. Unfortunately, the agreement ultimately failed. This year’s ratification by Finland’s parliament of its application to join NATO can be seen as a final step in this process that began over 100 years ago.

The most promising and – to a certain degree – surprising declaration made by Finland on its interest in joining the NATO Alliance immediately reminded me of the so-called Warsaw Accord. This treaty was drafted 100 years ago on March 17th 1922 and embodied the initiative of a Baltic alliance between Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Poland. Anti-Soviet in nature, cooperation ultimately failed due to reservations expressed by Helsinki. In the summer of 1922 the Finnish parliament – Eduskunta – decided not to ratify the pact. A century later, on May 17th 2022, 188 out of 200 Finnish MPs voted on accession to NATO. The story has come full circle. A story which deserves to be told.

September 29, 2022 - Grzegorz Szymborski

Caution, “concrete utopias” and common threats. Dutch perspectives on German unity

Dutch reactions to the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification were, all in all, more positive than many Germans perceived them at the time. The main point of Dutch concern was the role that a united Germany would play in a (not yet united) Europe. Three decades later, some elements of the “concrete utopia” of a closer union have been realised. Yet, both countries also face massive challenges in the years to come.

September 29, 2022 - Florian Hartleb Florian Lippert Friso Wielenga

More Europe in the face of realpolitik’s return? French perspectives on 30 years of German reunification

The current geopolitical situation has disrupted the European and global order, which were both consolidated in the 1990s and have been key factors in the modern German model. The Franco-German duo is currently facing new challenges and it will have to respond appropriately in a time when the EU’s global influence is shrinking in the face of what some analysts call a “new Cold War”.

September 29, 2022 - Marie Krpata

The Way of the Land: a podcast sheds light on the forgotten history of Roma slavery in Romania

Romania is not the first country people usually think of when it comes to slavery. Despite this, the country possesses an almost unknown history of Roma slavery that occurred over five centuries. The Way of the Land is a podcast that shows how this hidden history bleeds into the present discriminations against the Roma community.

In the small room of Romania’s National Theatre, the public frets in their seats, waiting for the play to start. They came to see a one-woman show written, directed and staged by Alina Șerban. She is the first Roma woman to ever direct a play for the National Theatre in Bucharest. Tonight, she plays in The Best Child in the World, a play about her life. The only poster displayed remains inside the theatre, where only the spectators can see it. It features Șerban wearing a traditional Roma dress. The curly haired woman stands back to back with a grotesque figure, a symbol of the most crushing insult against Roma, the crow. Șerban smiles.

July 14, 2022 - Miriam Țepeș-Handaric

New Report: Putin’s regime and the politics of memory

Putin’s regime is politicising history on a massive scale. The Russian leadership often exploits the past in order to pursue its foreign policy goals and promote its identity politics in the country.

December 30, 2021 - New Eastern Europe

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

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

The forbidden theme of repression: History in the service of authoritarian politics

The Kremlin is striving to erase any historical discourse that undermines the official narrative that Russia must be ruled by an authoritarian system of government. History is rewritten, its dark chapters are glossed over, and independent historians are repressed. This is not just a whim of the former KGB officers who rule the country. Their goal is to perpetuate practices that strengthen Russian authoritarianism, which is based on systemic violence against the country’s citizens.

November 30, 2021 - Maria Domańska

Remembrance, history, and justice. Coming to terms with traumatic pasts in democratic societies

A review of Remembrance, History, and Justice: Coming to terms with traumatic pasts in democratic societies. Editors: Vladimir Tismaneanu and Bogdan C. Iacob. Publisher: Central European University Press, Budapest, 2016.

June 22, 2021 - Juho Nikko

Living with the beast

A review of Potwór pamięci (The Memory Monster). By: Yishai Sarid. Published in Polish by the Jan Nowak-Jeziorański College of Eastern Europe in Wrocław, Poland, 2021.

April 11, 2021 - Maciej Makulski

We took our victories for granted

An interview with Vladimir Tismaneanu, a political scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park. Interviewer: Simona Merkinaite.

November 17, 2020 - Simona Merkinaite Vladimir Tismaneanu

Memory should be directed at the future

An interview with Ihor Poshyvailo, director of the National Memorial to the Heavenly Hundred Heroes and Revolution of Dignity Museum (Maidan Museum) in Kyiv. Interviewer: Tomasz Lachowski

TOMASZ LACHOWSKI: You are the director of the Maidan Museum, the fundamental role of which is to commemorate events of the Revolution of Dignity that occurred during the winter of 2013 and 2014 in Kyiv. We often understand museums as institutions that present historical events long after they happened. In the case of the Maidan, we are talking about events that happened only several years ago. When exactly did the idea to create a museum appear and how did you manage to develop the project?

IHOR POSHYVAILO: The Maidan Museum as an idea was initiated during the Revolution of Dignity itself. My museum colleagues and I decided to document as carefully as possible what was happening in Kyiv. We realised quite early that what was taking place in the winter of 2013 and 2014 certainly would not be a simple repetition of the Orange Revolution of 2004, and we became well aware that we had to be among and with the people at this exceptional time. The turning point was certainly January 16th 2014, when the so-called “dictatorial laws” were enacted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and violent clashes broke out, even though we had been documenting the protests at the very beginning of the movement.

September 4, 2020 - Ihor Poshyvailo Tomasz Lachowski

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