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Tag: Poland

A timeline, interrupted

The politics of today’s populist leaders is nearly always the eternal return to the past. 1989, however, represents a normative stop they would prefer to skip.

The past does not exist. It is what one makes of it. From a purely axiological point of view, every one of us is constructed of different pasts and we have different memories at our disposal. The non-existence of the past as a tangible point of reference is a subject of individual or collective creation and interpretation; it is the founding assumption of any sociological research devoted to mnemonic subjects.

November 17, 2020 - Mateusz Mazzini

The fleeting memory of December 1970

In December 1970 violent riots broke out in the Polish cities of Szczecin and Gdynia, while in Gdańsk strikers surrounded the seat of the Polish United Workers’ Party. Clashes with militia erupted and the central committee of the communist party decided to brutally quell the rebellion. These events became an important founding myth for the struggle against the communist authorities. Fifty years later, how are these events remembered?

In December 1970, 14 years had passed since Wiesław Gomułka became the first secretary of the communist party in the People’s Republic of Poland. At that time, both the thaw of 1956, which allowed Gomułka to return to power, and hope for reforms that he promised (the so-called Polish way to socialism) were already a fading memory. It was not the right moment for a nostalgic journey to the past. And with Christmas just around the corner, everyone was busy stockpiling goods that were hard to come by.

November 16, 2020 - Piotr Leszczyński

The rainbow colours flying together with the white-red-white flags. The Belarusian LGBT community at protests

The protests in Belarus have brought together people from different parts of the wider society. Despite the often hostile attitudes of other protestors towards them, the LGBT community in Belarus continues to actively participate in the protests.

November 10, 2020 - Maxim Rust

Polish-Georgian kinship: Defining a vicennial

The relationship between Poland and Georgia has been growing ever closer. A common history of struggles has been highlighted with the commemoration of the Georgian officers who served in the Polish Army.

November 9, 2020 - Bacho Chubinidze

What is the best response local governments can have in today’s reality? How to find a balance between openness and responsibility?

The Cross-Border Cooperation Congress - Lublin 2020 will take place on October 6-9, 2020, online

At the Cross-Border Cooperation Congress, we will discuss the key questions of the present time: How to reconcile openness to people, change and new technologies and a responsibility for safety? This is a question about a new understanding of participation, both externally, from citizens, and internally, one that would maximise the use of resources within organisations, while empowering employees in the decision-making and strategy-building processes.

October 2, 2020 - New Eastern Europe / Sponsored Content

Picking strawberries in a pandemic

Recently, there were over two million migrant workers in Poland. When the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic closed down companies and factories, many of them were left out of work. Some of them went back to their homes. Then came another problem – it turned out that the Polish economy does not function so well without foreign workers.

Every few minutes, a new van arrives at the market in Czerwińsk nad Wisłą – a village about 65 kilometres northwest of Warsaw. Crowds of merchants converge around every one of them. The driver does not even have time to park or open the door, the merchants surround him. The vehicle stops, the door opens. Another one arrives, with only a few goods, taking up a third of the van. There are several dozen boxes of strawberries inside. These are the only ones available. The crowd shouts: “How much? How much?”

September 7, 2020 - Magdalena Chodownik Omar Marques

Dirigisme 2.0. The way to go for the region?

Most countries of Central and Eastern Europe that are now members of the EU developed impressively since the collapse of the centrally planned economy. Yet, Poland and other countries in the region still lack their own capital to compete on a global scale. The merger of Poland’s two state-owned refineries, Orlen and LOTOS, could illustrate a solution – selective state-ownership in crucial sectors.

Economic power is not shared equally across the European Union. Only one out of all EU companies in the Global Fortune 500 ranking is based in one of the new member states that joined the union after 2004. The remaining 112 companies are based in the “old” EU. Yet, as the case of a merger of two state-owned Polish oil companies shows, this unparalleled level of inequality is not being addressed by Brussels.

September 4, 2020 - Jakub Bartoszewski Michael Richter

The challenge of commemoration. Cases from Poland and Germany

The Second World War remains one of the most painful and conflicting episodes of the European nations’ memories. Present conflicts are embedded in history and in the use of history as a political tool. The cases of Poland and Germany illustrate how challenging it can be to commemorate history, especially in a politicised environment.

In Poland during the communist period and until 1989, it was nearly impossible to openly talk about the Second World War. First, due to friendship with the Soviet Union and later, after the fall of communism, Poland was busy creating its own government, introducing the democratic culture and fighting with an economic crisis in order to transform the country it became between 1989 and 2000. After this period, history and commemoration events started to play a very important role for the national and political identity of the country. Like in other Central and Eastern European states, Poland is an example of how history is used as a political tool in the museum narratives and exhibition forms, which also trigger conflicts.

September 3, 2020 - Kristina Smolijaninovaitė

The memory and experience of 1980

An interview with Cezary Obracht-Prądzyński, sociologist and professor at Gdańsk University. Interviewer: Piotr Leszczyński

PIOTR LESZCZYŃSKI: What was the phenomenon of August 1989 in Poland? What took place at that time in the Gdańsk Shipyard, and what can this experience tell us now about Polish society of that time?

CEZARY OBRACHT-PRĄDZYŃSKI: It is not easy to talk about Solidarity. We do not have one position that would allow us to interpret the events, the causes and effects of the strike – both the experience and the memory of Solidarity have been very diverse. Solidarity was a very heterogenous movement from the beginning. It is remembered differently by people who worked and lived in Gdańsk and witnessed these events, who got to see what was taking place in the shipyard. Their perspective was unlike those who lived in other parts of the country and were forced to rely on information broadcasted by state media.

August 31, 2020 - Cezary Obracht-Prondzyński Piotr Leszczyński

Cyber-enabled disinformation campaign targeted US-Poland alliance

Polish authorities have blamed Russia for a cyberattack in April, which planted forged documents and news articles on various military and news websites.

July 29, 2020 - Givi Gigitashvili

Andrzej Duda wins the Polish presidential elections

The president supported by Law and Justice comes on top with a narrow win in Poland’s election thriller.

July 14, 2020 - Daniel Gleichgewicht

Ukraine as a key to Europe’s energy security. Towards a US-Polish-Ukrainian LNG trading platform

On August 31st 2019 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Warsaw to strengthen gas security in the region through LNG supplies from the US via Polish and Ukrainian infrastructure. This formal document may lay the foundations for developing a new natural gas trading market in Europe.

Free of political barriers, access to a diverse range of energy sources is necessary for effective industrial development. European economies have become increasing concerned with energy security. This is largely the result of growing desires to end a dependence on supplies of gas and oil from the Russian Federation. The diversification of energy sources guarantees supply and promotes market liquidity. What actions should be taken in order to ensure this diversification? Will the Ukraine-Poland Interconnector and Baltic Pipe be able to guarantee a continuous supply of gas to the Polish and Ukrainian markets? What are the challenges faced by companies which manage infrastructural projects in the natural gas sector?

July 7, 2020 - Mykola Voytiv

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