After welcoming the New Year, we look back for the last time on the 2022 stats and look through the most read/watched/listened articles & talks.
We may just hope that we were of inspiration to you. We have learned a lot while preparing our content and we are looking forward to developing even more!
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Here are the audio/video Cross-Border Talks that caught the most attention from you:
In this Cross-Border Talk, a Łukasz Dąbrowiecki, Polish journalist specializing in German politics, joined us to discuss the future of German energy politics economy. We had a look at Angela Merkel’s legacy, which used to be hailed and appreciated in Berlin and abroad, and now looks more like a collection of unsolved problems and solutions that worked well only for a while. Łukasz traced back the origins of Energiewende politics and the wrong assumption that Russia might actually democratize, if it has strong business ties to Germany. Łukasz also gave his (cautiously) optimistic comments on how Germany’s economy, basing on its long-term strength, could survive the crisis without experiencing a major downfall.
#2: A new Europe will be born in the periphery? 100 Shades of the EU
This Cross-Border Talk is devoted to an outstanding study prepared under the auspices of transform!europe, entitled ” Hundred Shades of the EU — Mapping the Political Economy of the EU Peripheries”. We invited two of three co-authors of the book: historian and journalist Veronika Susova-Salminen and economist Giuseppe Celi to speak about the European South and East. They explain reasons behind permanent political crises and social difficulties faced by Southern and Eastern states of the community, explaining also how the structure of the community does not help them to ‘catch up’ with richer central states in terms of welfare and development. What is the way out of this and where is the hope for people from outside the European centre? This is the question we asked, and it was not left without an answer.
#3: George Katrougalos: Greece’s fate was to discourage others from breaking with neoliberal politics
After the European Union announced the end of surveillance over the Greek economy, we invited the former Greek foreign minister George Katrougalos to comment on the bitter legacy of the Greek crisis. Katrougalos explains mechanisms that led to it, including structural factors resulting from how the Eurozone works, sheds light at the role of Germany when austerity was imposed on Athens, and recalls how Syriza struggled to save what could have been saved from the Greek economy. This Cross-Border Talk also contains a question about the prospect of reforming the European Union to prevent futher crises, and why it has been impossible so far.
#4: Rositsa Atanasova: EU’s approach to migration is ambiguous
In this Cross-Border Talk, Rositsa Atanasova, Advocacy & Communication Expert in Foundation for Access to Rights, explains why speaking of ‘illegal migration’ makes little sense, since the EU does not offer real options for coming to Europe in a legal manner for those who escape from their countries of origin in fear for their lives. She also points out how contradictory are the EU policies: while the EU spends remarkable amounts of money on humanitarian aid, at the same time it securitizes the external borders and tolerates pushbacks and other human rights violations.
#5: Russian society nine months into the war: between indifference and resistance
Felix Levin, an activist of the Russian Socialist Movement, gave a rare insight into Russian society nine months after the fateful day of 24 February. In this Cross-Border Talk, he explains why official surveys give little information on Russians’ attitudes towards the war, and why examining attitudes still gives insufficient understanding of what might happen in the future. Are there some serious signs of rising resistance or protest potential against the war and the regime in Russia? For our guest, indeed there are, and if a ‘revolutionary situation’ is nowhere near, it cannot be excluded in the future neither.
Cross-Border Talks have also published dozens of written content – interviews, commentaries and analyses. Among the texts you read most often, we find, unsurprisingly, the content on Ukraine, but not only.
– Russia’s political capitalists waged war in order to survive as a class, to continue accumulating wealth through the exploitation of the state – says Volodymyr Ishchenko, a research associate at the Institute of East European Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, interviewed by Małgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat. – However, this war, depending on what happens on the battlefield, may equally bring about a fall or a radical transformation of the whole post-Soviet order.
“The Gentle Revolution in Czechoslovakia was started by a hoax and was accompanied by a series of hoaxes. The student march of 17 November 1989 would have been an ordinary demonstration if Radio Free Europe had not leaked the fake news that student Martin Šmíd had been murdered during the march. Šmíd was neither dead, nor a student, but it was anger upon this gossip that drove hundreds of thousands of people into the streets” – in this words, Slovak journalist and commentator Eduard Chmelár recalls events that brought an end to Czech and Slovak joint socialist project.
The immediate life threat for Ukrainian men, women and children comes from Russian bombings. But threats to Ukrainian workers’ rights come, unfortunately, also from their own government, who believes in neoliberal economic recipes despite the very bad experience of Central-Eastern Europe with this kind of policies. Vladyslav Starodubtsev, Ukrainian socialist and activist of the ‘Social Movement’ group, outlines the changes in labour law that were introduced in the shadow of war, which would neither bring prosperity to post-war Ukraine, nor help to defend the country now.
– The global system has failed both the middle classes of the developed countries, whose incomes and possibilities have been in regress, and has also failed in the attempt to reduce and eliminate the poverty and hunger of the lower classes around the world – writes Romanian philosopher and cultural theorist Ovidiu Țichindeleanu, co-founder of the Romanian left-wing website CriticAtac, the Indymedia Romania platform and LeftEast. This is just a part of his extended comment on what changes for all of us with the war in Ukraine and how the pre-existing security and economy system failed us all. The answer for Eastern Europeans? “A need to re-socialise the politics and economics of international relations, a critical awareness of the semi-peripheral position, revitalising old partnerships”.
The last story on our list is an ongoing one. A scandalous case of firing a trade union organizer, a person protected by Polish labour law, will continue in court. Krystian Kosowski’s case tells us a lot about Central-Eastern European capitalism: it reminds us that after 1989 the whole region of Europe was turned into an area where businessmen do not need to worry about trade unions or collective agreements. And they still think they can do whatever they want.