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Tag: Soviet Union

Mikhail Gorbachev: the last Soviet leader

To the West, Gorbachev was a man one could do business with. To Russians he was the one who destroyed the USSR.

September 9, 2022 - Agnieszka Bryc

Russian constructivism: a lens for understanding Moscow’s political actions

The individual Russian citizen possesses an identity formed by their history, values and national identity. The domestic relationship between the country’s people and government rests upon the pillars of economic and national security, which naturally form an integral part of the country’s international goals. These two points have encouraged Russia to pursue competition with the West.

January 10, 2022 - Caroline Beshenich

How many communist states exist in the early 21st century?

Today, it may seem like the idea of a communist state is nothing but a relic of the 20th century. Despite this, many countries are still officially communist, mixing rhetoric with market economics in a way that often proves attractive to other states.

November 23, 2021 - Tomasz Kamusella

Belarus’s Day of National Unity: a controversial public holiday with a flawed logic

On September 17th, Belarus celebrated its so-called “Day of National Unity”, an official holiday created on June 7th by Lukashenka’s edict. The date echoes the events of 1939, when the Soviet army entered Poland's territory as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Based on official interpretations and discourse, this text attempts to briefly demonstrate the flawed official logic that led Minsk to choose this date as a public holiday.

November 2, 2021 - Kiryl Kascian

The Baltic phoenix

The dissolution of the Soviet Union resulted in defragmenting of the world map into fifteen pieces – most of which were new entities. However, three of them somehow seemed particularly familiar – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, jointly known as the Baltic states. Their re-emergence in Europe created many legal questions as they all began to claim renewal of their previous statehoods existing in 1918-1940.

Anti-Soviet tendencies on the Baltic coast exploded at the time of Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika. The desire for independence and the struggle for historical truth in the Baltic republics spawned social movements which emphasised the statehoods of the Baltic states, deprived as the result of the USSR’s invasion in 1940.

April 11, 2021 - Grzegorz Szymborski

International law and the Soviet wild-goose chase

Soviet political proposals from before the war and the legacy of the United Nations established as a result of the Soviet victory over Nazism are often recalled in the Kremlin’s contemporary narratives. Yet, a look at the historical development of the Soviet understanding of international law reveals a chaotic and political, rather than legal, approach.

The 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the proclamation of the United Nations was a topic intensively exploited by Russian diplomacy which attempted to highlight the Soviet input into the triumph over the Nazis and the creation of an international organisation. The Kremlin’s rhetoric was expressed directly by Vladimir Putin twice last year – once thanks to an article published in The National Interest in June and then, via a speech delivered virtually during the annual summit of the United Nations, in September.

February 3, 2021 - Grzegorz Szymborski

We are in fact writing about the present…

A review of The Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution. Illiberal Liberation 1917-1941. Edited by: Laura Douds, James Harris and Peter Whitewood. Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic, London 2020.

July 7, 2020 - Łukasz Jasina

The curse of perestroika

Perestroika spawned entrepreneurship and readiness to undertake independent actions. It broadened access to managing the country and created the ground for creativity and innovation from one side. However from the other side it opened the Pandora’s Box of social, ethnic, national, economic and territorial conflicts.

It became common in Russia to remember Mikhail Gorbachev only in the negative sense and to blame him for the “breakup of the Soviet Union” and further troubles of Russia. Only one person was worse than him – Boris Yeltsin – and nothing was possible to do with this stereotype. However this year has seen a new trend – on March 2nd, Gorbachev’s birthday, positive comments and wishes for long life were posted on Facebook and other blogs. He was thanked for perestroika, for the freedom he gave and the opportunities he provided. At such moments one becomes witness to how eras change: a new generation is emerging.

May 2, 2019 - Anastasiia Sergeeva

Seven cycles of Ukraine’s history

A review of Ukraine: Democratisation, Corruption and the New Russian Imperialism. By: Taras Kuzio. Publisher: Praeger, Santa Barbara, CA, 2015.

March 28, 2018 - Maxim Rust

Who remembers the Warsaw Uprising?

The 1944 Warsaw Uprising saw the destruction of one of Europe’s great cities. But it is a story not widely known outside of Poland, something the Polish government wants to put straight. We asked a random selection of Germans in Bonn what they know about the uprising as Poles commemorate its 73rd anniversary. 

August 1, 2017 - Jo Harper and Jan Darasz

Russia’s thorny relationship with democracy

The assassination of Boris Nemtsov in front of the Kremlin on February 27th 2015 marked the first time since the execution of Lavrentiy Beria in 1953 that a viable contender for Russian power was summarily eliminated. By the time Brezhnev forcibly ousted Khrushchev from power in 1964, the Soviet elite had tacitly agreed that power struggles between them would not result in murder; Khrushchev died eight years later, with a pension. Since 1953, the Russian political elite who came to power through illiberal and undemocratic means did not generally purge the allies of their predecessors for fear that the same would be done to them if and when they were succeeded. Perhaps, whoever ordered the assassination of Boris Nemtsov harbours no such fears.

May 31, 2017 - Naphtali Rivkin

Illiberal winds from the East

This piece originally appeared in Issue 2/2017 of New Eastern Europe. Subscribe now.

March 17, 2017 - Bartosz Rydliński

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