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Cover for: The distorting mirror

The distorting mirror

A conversation between Igor Pomerantsev and Peter Pomerantsev

Russia as the liberal unconscious, source of all that the West finds abject and unsettling? There is something to be said for this theory, says Peter Pomerantsev in conversation with his father Igor, the émigré dissident and poet. But where does it put the myth of central Europe as ‘kidnapped West’, not to mention contemporary Ukrainian occidentalism? 

Cover for: Political immortalism and its extremes

Vast regimes of cultural practice serve to transcend one’s physical existence and ensure living on symbolically through language, culture, and nationhood. While some fear the eradication of minority languages, others dread losing their group’s hegemony. But all run into trouble when faced with the apocalyptic rhetoric of climate activists.

Cover for: Made in a dream factory

Volodymyr Zelensky’s rise to power in Ukraine has left many observers confused. An influential cultural operative for decades, he has been written off as a clown, despite strong popular support and his rapid first reforms suggesting otherwise. Now the task for the Zelensky team is to deliver on the high hopes they have built their campaign on.

Cover for: Unaltered dilemmas and novel challenges

In eastern Europe, neoliberalism’s loss of legitimacy after 2008 benefits coalitions of rightwing populists, whose promise of stability addresses the psychological impact of the crisis on younger voters. These are citizens who have never experienced a shortage economy and who still aspire to a western quality of life.

Cover for: Sex in colonial empires and its legacy in Europe today

Sex in colonial empires and its legacy in Europe today

An interview with Christelle Taraud

Feminist historian Christelle Taraud talks about the patriarchal system for regulating prostitution in France’s colonial empire, a system made by men for men to reserve indigenous women for their own use and control the ‘unruly’ sexuality of men from honour cultures. These issues are covered in ‘Sexe, race, et colonies’ (2018), co-edited by Taraud, which has proved controversial in France for its unsettling imagery.

Cover for: Made in the EU

Made in the EU

Why workers are fleeing Romania’s garment industry

‘Sweatshops’ are usually associated with labour outsourced to east- and south-east Asia, but they exist inside the EU too. Gruelling working conditions in Romania’s low-pay garment industry, which supplies clothes for mid-market and luxury retailers alike, force many people to go abroad in search of a real living wage.

Cover for: The price of dishonesty

Brexit is the price Britain is paying for the failure to hold an honest discussion about immigration, multiculturalism and Empire. But it would be a mistake to think that the UK’s problems are without equivalent elsewhere, writes Gary Younge.

Cover for: The European peace project

The description of the European Union as a ‘peace project’ recalls an important aspect of the genesis of post-war Europe. But a defence of Europe based on anti-fascism runs into dead ends – both conceptually and politically – if it sees European integration as a ‘post-national’ movement.

Cover for: Culture wars

A ‘kulturkampf’ is visible in new authoritarians’ power struggles, from rewriting history curricula in Russia, through the politics of Islamization in Turkey, to the total offensive on museums and theatres in Hungary. The consistent misrepresentation of cultures is a less spectacular but equally important means of silencing certain voices. A selection of reads on how political powers hijack culture through its institutions.

Cover for: European Utopias from below

European Utopias from below

1989 and the role of popular movements East and West

Dialogue between western European peace movements and human rights groups in the East made a crucial contribution to overcoming the division of the continent and laid the foundations for a global language of transnational civil society and humanitarianism. The argument that ’89 was all about ‘catching up’ with the West overlooks this history.

Cover for: Big Brother to the rescue

Big Brother to the rescue

Can artificial intelligence help in Ukraine’s fight against corruption?

The Ukrainian government has announced a scheme to use AI to fight corruption in the Verkhovna Rada, the country’s parliament. The technology, dubbed ‘Big Brother’, is supposed to detect MPs’ voting patterns and to flag anomalies. AI is used worldwide for a variety of anti-corruption purposes. So will it work here?

Cover for: Soviet Atlantis

Soviet Atlantis

A melancholic fantasy of the post-Soviet subject

On the Cape of Tarkhankut on the western shores of Crimea lies an underwater ‘graveyard’ of statues from the Soviet past. The museum is a metaphor for how cultural memories are formed in a shared unconscious traumatized by loss and unable to adjust to the new order of things, writes Ilya Kalinin.

Cover for: Changing places

Changing places

Notes for an essay film

After moving from Johannesburg (Jo’burg) to Gothenburg (Go’burg), filmmaker Jyoti Mistry struck up a friendship with someone who went the other way: Katarina Hedrén, who was adopted by a white Swedish family, and moved to South Africa as an adult. This deeply personal take on race shows how ‘colour-blindness’ denies that racial prejudice exists but robs people of colour of words to talk about the discrimination they face.

Cover for: This mess of troubled times

The processes set in motion by the disintegration of the socialist economy in eastern Europe eluded all analytical frameworks. It was a time of ‘wild thinking’, in which received ideas were reconsidered and values re-assessed. We are still living through this troubled era, writes the historian of the Soviet Union Karl Schlögel.

Cover for: A few loose sentences

In a politicized age, the scepticism and elegance that have traditionally characterized the art of the essay can seem extravagant. In the US in particular, there have been calls for essayists to trim their sails and position themselves explicitly. Does the new mood of engagement mean that the essay’s habitual rejection of dogmatism is passé?

Cover for: How climate changes humans

How climate changes humans

Contrasting reads from the Eurozine archive

The Anthropocene is a fashionable research topic these days, and the imminent climate crisis seems to have finally started to shake the conscience of people all over the world. Though it wasn’t always this way, contributors to Eurozine’s partner journals have been covering these issues long before they became hot news items – and they offer important perspectives for today’s reader.

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