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?
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Countries bordering Russia are subject to both the neoimperialist drive and military force behind Vladimir Putin’s Eurasian Union project. His expansionist aspirations mirror past Russian advances in Europe that questioned national identity. Many Kremlin-connected political analysts are currently advocating an isolationist position. What might be the upshot of Vadim Tsymbursky’s previously ignored, now vogue geopolitical thinking?
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What is racism against eastern Europeans? And what did Viktor Orbán learn from Slavoj Žižek?
Since his return to power in 2010, Viktor Orbán has meticulously unravelled the rule of law and media pluralism, while holding the EU at bay. A short history of a decade’s attacks on the free press in Hungary.
Russia and Turkey have moved from confrontation to cooperation. But their shared interests have had deleterious consequences for the Kurds in Syria and Crimean Tatars in Ukraine. Tensions continue in Nagorno-Karabakh and Libya. And their support for right-wing authoritarianism in the Western Balkans is undermining liberal democratic values.
Diversity is held at the pinnacle of much progressive thought. And yet full inclusion is far from becoming a reality. Could the normative thinking that assumes people with a migration background are different and disadvantaged be at fault?
The EU needs to prove itself the champion it has long been projected to be, argues André Wilkens in our interview about recovery funds, cultural transformation, budget lines and bank holidays. The director of the European Cultural Foundation also addresses his own pandemic experience as a migratory cultural agent.
Debates on Europe: Budapest & Beyond
As a historian his expectations are gloomy, but as a political writer his optimism is strategic: Timothy Garton Ash talks about the European Union’s internal flaws and debates whether crises and collapses are always necessary for renewal.
Museums on race
Addressing discrimination towards black people is a collective responsibility. Racism, evident in visual memory and disguised through political association, reaches beyond countries with direct colonialist pasts. Taking Estonia as a case study, historians and curators discuss how to ‘render race’ in museums and public discourse.
Nietzsche’s critique of science as displaced theology echoes in reservations about epidemiologists’ political role during the pandemic. But if governments and citizens often expect from science a form of deliverance, many others are convinced that science is part of a plot to deceive us. Perhaps the problem lies not with science but belief itself?
Industrialized nations have heavily plundered natural resources for around 160 years. It’s now payback time. The US and EU, having just pledged to significantly reduce carbon emissions by 2030, link environmental recovery with economic opportunity. Will their innovation challenge coax other leading nations away from fossil fuels in time?
Population, economic and labour shortfalls in Italy
Arriving or leaving? Perceptions of immigration and emigration differ. When a country like Italy has experienced both en masse, what occurs when a pandemic hits and movement is restricted? What are the repercussions?
The GRU has left a trail of violence across Europe. Revelations that it was behind the 2014 explosions in Vrbětice worsen relations not only between Prague and Moscow, but also pro and anti-Kremlin camps within the Czech Republic. The weak Babiš government may fall even before the parliamentary election in October.
Culture and the virus
The dictate of ‘systemic importance’ is being used to purge all forms of culture resistant to marketization. A newly strengthened alliance between the cultural sector and civil society has emerged in response. But an anti-democratic backlash is also gaining ground, not least from within culture itself.
Topical: Earth Day reads
The urgency of the climate crisis demands individual ethics as much as a willingness to cooperate with power. But reconnecting humans with the natural world also forces us to revisit the promises of ever-growing efficiency and a culture of exploitation.
Global capitalism took a surprise hit when the container ship Ever Given ran aground, bringing mass transportation to a standstill. An environmental protest could not have staged a more spectacular blockade: the incident points to a murky history of worker exploitation, intensified fossil fuel consumption and racist quarantining.