New Eastern Europe 3/2014
Wydawnictwo: Kolegium Europy Wschodniej
Kategoria: Historia powszechna
In an exclusive interview with New Eastern Europe, Poland’s former president, Lech Wałęsa contemplates on his role in the changes that led to today’s Poland. He admits that he was a destroyer but failed at building, a lesson that he learned too late. Wałęsa’s confession is followed by a portrait of Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a builder of the new Poland. In his recollections from 1989, Aleksander Hall makes a realistic assessment writing that “Mazowiecki started his mission to build democracy in a situation where practically the entire state apparatus was still rooted in the previous system.”
Freedom prevailed in many of the countries of the former Soviet bloc after 1989. However, as Krzysztof Czyżewski observes, “We needed time to understand that without equality and fraternity, freedom brings enslavement.” His view is confirmed by Shana Penn, who writes that in Poland: “The forestalled equal rights issues never got their fair due in the wake of Solidarity’s victory.”
The reflections on the last 25 years in Poland are followed by essays from a new generation of writers and journalists. Essays by the region’s young voices in countries like Romania, Ukraine and Georgia, illustrate the cautious optimism that is felt in this new generation.
Essays and analysis on Ukraine by Mykola Riabchuk, Milan Lelich, Jakub Parusinski, Paweł Pięniążek and Roman Kabichiy assess the situation in this context as well and gives the reader deeper insight into those issues which still remain unresolved in Ukraine.