In the 1980s, economist Marcin Swiecicki was at the center of the discussions over the path of economic reform in Poland. We talked about his perspective on the economic changes that took place after 1990, his accomplishments as mayor, and his view of the political situation today in Poland.
In 1940, the Soviet NKVD murdered 22,000 Polish army officers, police, and intellectuals in the Katyn forest and then pinned the blame on the Nazis. In 1990, the Soviet Union finally admitted its guilt in the matter.
Start with a failing economy. Throw in a team of inexperienced politicians, people in fact who had spent their careers deliberately avoiding official politics. Add a population with the highest possible expectations. And, as a wild card, introduce an international community that was not offering very much in the way of financial assistance.
Many Poles dreamed of the day when the Communist regime would fall. But even after the semi-free elections of June 4, 1989, in which Solidarity-affiliated candidates won nearly all the contested seats, few anticipated that their dreams would come true so quickly.
Some of the most powerful critiques of the Communist governments in East-Central Europe were moral. Vaclav Havel, for instance, argued that the regimes, with their propaganda and inequalities and corruption, were built on a foundation of lies. He proposed the alternative of "living in truth."
Amidst all the media frenzy surrounding Putin's nefarious destabilization efforts in Eastern Ukraine, other issues of vital importance have gone ignored.
She grew up during the Great Depression. She recounted times of how being the youngest of five children she would sometimes have to search garbage...
Janusz Reykowski was a key figure in the reform wing of Poland's Communist Party. A psychologist, he was an early proponent of promoting reconciliation between the Party and the Solidarity trade union movement in 1989. In 2013 I interviewed him about what had happened in the intervening years.
Rachel Zacharia always knew she was Jewish. Her father, a Party official, read and wrote in Yiddish, and her parents spoke Yiddish with friends. But she didn't start thinking about her Jewish identify until 1968.
We are never handed a "Growth Manual" when we enter this life. We often learn by observation and tend to integrate things from there--or try to. Of...
Until the 1970s, drug addicts didn't exist in Poland -- at least not officially. In those days, drugs were expensive and the supply was limited, so the Polish state could hide the problem by giving a different label to the small number of addicts. But then heroin became more readily available. And addiction started to grow.
Adam Bodnar of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights talked with me about the concept of strategic litigation, the challenge of getting national governments to implement European court judgments, and the importance of exporting the best practices of Poland's watchdog organizations.
Zaatari, a noted photographer, filmmaker and curator, co-founded the Arab Image Foundation in 1997 to locate and preserve his country's -- and the Middle East's -- photographic archives.
Doing business entails certain risks. You make a big investment of money and time, and you hope that your gamble pays off. Maybe people will come to your restaurant. Maybe they will buy your product. Maybe they will contract for your services. But you can't be sure. You've taken out loans on the expectation that if you build it, they will come.
Since 2000, Tarasiewicz has worked as the director for the Network for East-West Women in Poland. She has watched as many foundations that funded women's issues have pulled out of Poland as money from the European Union became available. But the EU funding has been a mixed blessing at best.
As Europe commemorates the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, a troll army secretly floods websites with pro-Putin propaganda while Russian government officials openly defend the indefensible. Moscow archivists are spreading misinformation to whitewash Soviet history.