The migrant crisis at the Polish–Belarusian border is being used by Lukashenka to divert international attention from the repression of the democratic opposition. But it also suits PiS, which by staging the crisis as a battle for Polish sovereignty is shoring up support among its own electorate. Still, the rest of Europe cannot simply point the finger.
Felix Ackermann studied cultural studies, history and political science at the European University Viadrina and at the London School of Economics. At the German Historical Institute Warsaw he wrote a prison history covering the Belarusian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Polish lands of the Rzeczpospolita.
Former communist prisons in Russia, Lithuania, Poland and Belarus have become contested public spaces of memory. With buildings in various states of disrepair or neglect, the redevelopment of several is now being considered. But can they realistically function as both sites of remembrance and mixed-use spaces that look to the past and future simultaneously?
Perceptions of the European migration crisis in Lithuania and Belarus
Belarusians and Lithuanians have scarcely been affected by Europe’s handling of the migration crisis. Yet they too are rediscovering “the Other” in the Muslim refugee, writes historian Felix Ackermann.