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Cover for: Intellectual paths in central Europe

Intellectual paths in central Europe

An idealistic Havel, a cynical Orbán, and a compassionate Walter

How can intellectuals of central Europe maintain their moral principles and independence, yet support democracy, in an age when the region is again traversing a rocky road paved with nationalism and populism?

Cover for: Brexit, dark money and big data

An investigation by openDemocracy into the financing of the Brexit campaign in 2016 has raised far-reaching questions about connections between neoliberal elites, the tech industry and the private intelligence sector. Adam Ramsay, one of the journalists involved, summarises a story vital to understanding how Britain has ended up where it is today.

Cover for: The politics of pre-emption

Security forces increasingly use data-driven crowd control techniques to pre-empt unpredictable situations. Unlike traditional prevention methods, pre-emptive policing actively engenders crowd behaviour – and in doing so interferes with the basic conditions for political agency, argues Krystian Woznicki.

Cover for: A kind of revolution

A kind of revolution

Some thoughts on solidarity

The word ‘solidarity’ combines the double sense of independence and mutuality, writes Polish literary scholar Leonard Neuger. The Solidarity movement in Poland was the political manifestation of this paradoxical semantic.

Cover for: Sad by design

While classical melancholy was defined by isolation and introspection, today’s tristesse plays out amidst busy social media interactions. Geert Lovink on ‘technological sadness’ – the default mental state of the online billions.

Cover for: More than independence

More than independence

Poland and 1918

Poland regained its independence after the First World War. Despite developing multiple ambitious visions, it failed to recreate its former state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and to reconstruct the map of western Eurasia.

Cover for: The world turned on its head

The world turned on its head

Was WWI really the beginning of the end of empires?

The Great War brought the end of some empires, while others expanded on the ruins of those that lost. Viewing WWI as the end of imperialism is too Europe-centric a concept and needs to be amended.

Cover for: A geopolitical catastrophe for Ukraine: 1918

What could have happened had a local war for Lviv not drawn forces away from the Ukrainian revolution in 1918? Experimenting with counterfactual history allows us to reconsider simple questions and search for more precise answers.

Cover for: Momentous ‘eights’ in Czecho-Slovak history

For Czechs and Slovaks, the years 1918, 1938, 1948 and 1968 carry deeply mixed memories – an ambivalence reflecting anxieties about the past and the future of the two nations. Historian Jacques Rupnik reads the Czechoslovak ‘eights’ as a seismograph of the European predicament at crucial junctures during the twentieth century.

Cover for: Hammer, sickle, crucifix?

Hammer, sickle, crucifix?

Why 20th-century communists couldn’t decide if they wanted to befriend the religious or blow up their churches

It is true that the Stalinist state treated clerics militantly. Communists, however, were never unified in their approaches to religion or its institutions. Some of them promoted patience and persuasion, others even allied with believers, sometimes despite the fierce rejection of the Catholic church.

Cover for: Security over liberty?

Security over liberty?

The double threat to Ukrainian democracy

Five years after the revolution at Maidan, Ukraine faces a very limited choice: either giving in to Russian aggression or tolerating domestic corruption. Martial law was recently imposed after Russia blocked the Azov Sea, yet official reasons for the state of emergency seem to disguise political power play.

Cover for: Who are the gilets jaunes?

The gilets jaunes belong to an integrated but invisible middle class whose grievances are centred on the increasing unaffordability of their commuter lifestyle. The protests highlight Emmanuel Macron’s failure to form a consensus, but by rejecting engagement with the political system the gilets jaunes themselves fail to offer a way out of the democratic crisis.

Cover for: ‘When is change not change?’

‘When is change not change?’

An interview with Margaret R. Higonnet on gender relations and the First World War

Did the two World Wars really trigger fundamental changes in the gender order and contribute to the emancipation of women, as is often claimed? Feminist literary critic and historian Margaret R. Higonnet tells Christa Hämmerle about the ‘double helix effect’ in gender relations during and after the First World War.

Cover for: Paradoxes of participation: Democracy and the internet in Russia

The nascent internet played a key role in defeating the military coup in Russia in 1991, writes Andrei Soldatov. However, the democratic promise of the web was never fulfilled. In the 2000s, it became a means of escape for a disaffected middle class closed out of the political process. The failed protest wave of 2011–2012 bore the mark of this ‘lost decade’. Meanwhile, in the era of political trolling, online participation has come to mean something very different.

Cover for: American Russophobia in the age of liberal decline

Accusations of Russian interference have become the primary route through which to undermine Donald Trump. In order to sustain public outrage, media and political elites provide a constant flow of leaks, rumours and conspiracy theories. Failing liberal self-confidence is to blame for the return of Cold War rhetoric, argues Andrei P. Tsygankov.

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