Essays

Events in Ukraine have prompted the Kremlin to promote an official state ideology for the first time in post-Soviet history. The past takes on increased significance in legitimizing the regime, while attempts at critical historical reflection are actively repressed.

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Something unbelievable is happening in Belarus: people, especially in the provinces, are protesting, despite their fear of political repressions. Meanwhile, in the urban centres, a pop-cultural movement has begun seeking a new Belarusian identity. Against the background of economic crisis and tensions with Russia, the regime is being forced to rethink its neo-Soviet cultural policy.

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Following the disappointment of Obama, what is the way forward for the campaign against the criminalization of black people across the United States? Affinities between Black Lives Matter and traditions of community organizing show the potential for new coalitions, argues Julien Talpin.

In Central and Eastern Europe, a myriad of nationalists and populists are able to exploit what Richard Rorty called ‘the fear that there will be not enough to go around’. Yet liberal democracies are more resilient than they appear at the present moment, argues Samuel Abrahám.

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The repair of everyday objects is a way of healing the wounds of post-socialist transition and of building affective bonds, where the market forces people to think of each other only as rational and expendable actors. Francisco Martínez talks to Estonians practitioners of ‘remont’ about their motivations.

“I spent my childhood in a dystopia, which I detested with my whole heart, and I now live in a utopia.” Lithuanian author Marius Ivaškevičius explains why Brexit felt to him like a betrayal, why Europe remains a beacon of hope for people living under authoritarian regimes, and why, despite the sceptics, the European idea will prevail.

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Yaşar Nezihe was the first Muslim woman to have her unveiled photograph published in the Ottoman press, the first socialist poet to compose a Turkish poem about May 1, and the first woman to write for the journal of the Communist Party of Turkey. Murat Batmankaya recalls her perseverance in the face of patriarchal oppression, material need and political adversity.

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