NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1 NEWS Tue, 18 Aug 2015 00:00:00 +0300 en Tue, 18 Aug 2015 00:00:00 +0300 "I have no shame or conscience, therefore my conscience doesn`t bother me” http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2361 <p>Zygmunt Bauman has developed the theory of the adiaphorization of consciousness. During times of upheaval and at critical historical junctures or intense social change, people lose some of their sensitivity and refuse to apply the ethical perspective to other people. They simply eliminate the ethical relationship with others.&nbsp;(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2361 Mon, 17 Aug 2015 00:00:00 +0300 Yet Another Russia: On Andrei Piontkovsky http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2359 <p>An analyst who tries to win back our threatened sense of self-confidence and sober-mindedness. Very few political analysts and commentators possess the gift of the metaphor coupled with the incisiveness and accuracy of analysis. Either they fail a method or they fail a story, as Umberto Eco would have it. And yet there is a political analyst and writer who reconciles both the analytic skills and the powers of a graceful metaphor.&nbsp;(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2359 Thu, 06 Aug 2015 00:00:00 +0300 The Industry of Fear http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2357 <p style="text-align: justify;">Let&rsquo;s imagine Lithuania has a stock exchange where different types of journalist can be bought and sold.If we were to look at the shares of pessimistic commentators and analysts over the last year or so, their market value would unquestionably be flying high. (Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2357 Wed, 05 Aug 2015 00:00:00 +0300 TEFF`15: Leonidas Donskis "Europe and the dilemmas of freedom" (video) http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2355 <p>Video from this year`s ThinkEuropa Festival. What does the freedom of EU-membership entail for Eastern Europeans? Can cultural and histoical differences between Eastern- and Western Europe be united in a commen identity as an EU-citizen? Watch professor and philosopher, Leonidas Donskis, debate these issues.&nbsp;(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2355 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 00:00:00 +0300 Shakespeare’s Politics http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2350 <p>Inside the vast new auditorium at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk, Leonidas Donskis fizzes with excitement. Having recently finished five years of service as a Member of the European Parliament, he is promoting his new book and revelling in the exchange of ideas about Europe and its neighbours. His topic is literature, or rather the ideas that literature wrestles with and conveys. "Few political scientists predicted the horrors of the twentieth century,&rdquo; he declares. But then comes a list of those who did understand what humanity was capable of, such as Zamyatin, Orwell, and Machiavelli.&nbsp;(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2350 Wed, 17 Jun 2015 00:00:00 +0300 The Genius of Ukrainian Cinema http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2358 When somebody mentions Ukrainian cinema, I immediately find myself thinking about two major film directors - Sergei Parajanov and Kira Muratove These artists are as distant from one another as two people of genius can be. Parajanov&rsquo;s masterpiece Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965), based on the story by Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky revealing and portraying the unique Ukrainian Hutsul culture, was nothing short ofa miracle, yet it was a meaningful episode in Parajanov&rsquo;s work otherwise more related to Armenian, Georgian, and Azeri cultures. Kira Muratova appears as a more specific Ukrainian phenomenon. <p style="text-align: justify;">When somebody mentions Ukrainian cinema, I immediately find myself thinking about two major film directors - Sergei Parajanov and Kira Muratove. These artists are as distant from one another as two people of genius can be. Parajanov&rsquo;s masterpiece Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965), based on the story by Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky revealing and portraying the unique Ukrainian Hutsul culture, was nothing short ofa miracle, yet it was a meaningful episode in Parajanov&rsquo;s work otherwise more related to Armenian, Georgian, and Azeri cultures. Kira Muratova appears as a more specific Ukrainian phenomenon. (Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2358 Thu, 28 May 2015 00:00:00 +0300 The Second Birth of Europe http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2338 <p>The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Therefore, it invites a closer look at postwar Europe and its brief assessment. What happened to Europe then? Historically and politically speaking, Europe changed beyond recognition. For centuries, war was as unavoidable in the old continent as clashes over faith and (dis)loyalty to the king or the queen. After WWII, it became obvious that peace came as a new political identity of Europe.This was the second birth of Europe. Needless to say, this applied for a long time exclusively for Western Europe.(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2338 Tue, 12 May 2015 00:00:00 +0300 Twentieth Century Revisited http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2343 <p style="text-align: justify;">The Latvian film director Davis Simanis&rsquo; quasi-documentary Escaping Riga (2014) allows a standpoint from which to deal with the intrinsic logic of the twentieth century. Modelled after what we may well call the "mockumentary&rdquo; (in terms of cinematographic language, it bears family resemblance to Woody Allen&rsquo;s masterpiece Zelig), this film deals with two people of genius. (Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2343 Thu, 07 May 2015 00:00:00 +0300 The Dilemmas of Freedom http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2316 <p>Zygmunt Bauman once wrote about human beings and their lives being rendered useless - reduced to throwaways by globalisation. No one needs or misses them; and when they disappear, the statistics, including various economic and security indicators, take a turn for the better. (Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2316 Fri, 06 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0200 Russia’s Unholy War Against Its Best People http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2315 <p>On 27 February 2015, the noted Russian politician and spokesman on human rights and civil liberties Boris Nemtsov was assassinated in the city center of Moscow, in the Kremlin&rsquo;s vicinity. Was the red line crossed this time by those who orchestrated and committed this cynical murder (provided there is any in this surrealist and diabolical political game)? Who was behind the crime that left Russia and the world in shock and dismay? And who was afraid of Boris Nemtsov?(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2315 Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0200 Leonidas Donskis - an Encyclopedic Rennaisance Like Figure http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2304 <p>The report &nbsp;made at the Doctor Honoris Causa conferred to Prof. Leonidas Donskis by Valahia University of T&acirc;rgoviște on November 6th, 2014.&nbsp;(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2304 Sat, 07 Feb 2015 00:00:00 +0200 How did a Political Prisoner Turn into a Politician? http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2311 <p>Mikhail Khodorkovsky hardly needs an introduction. No aspect of his biography and activity would exhaust his personality. A tycoon in Russia at the time when it was still regarded if not as a friend, then at least as a reliable partner, a person of difficult choices, and a living promise of yet another Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky has become an emblematic figure in present Russia when he was accused of tax evasion (a standard case in an authoritarian state practicing political persecution and selective justice both masquerading as the struggle against corruption) and confined to prison for ten years.&nbsp;(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2311 Thu, 05 Feb 2015 00:00:00 +0200 War and Peace Eastern Europe: the Ukrainian Lessons http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2305 <p>This paper is based on the presentation made at the Fifth international conference on Baltic and Nordic Studies in Romania A piece of culture, a culture of peace, re-imaging European communities in the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions, hosted by the Romanian Association for Baltic and Nordic Studies and Valahia University of T&acirc;rgovişte, August 17-19, 2014.&nbsp;(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2305 Thu, 05 Feb 2015 00:00:00 +0200 The Misery of Putinism http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2314 <p>Working on my new book of an interpretive vocabulary of politics - a blend of political humor, satire, and my own experience in European politics - I revisited many Soviet clich&eacute;s, pearls of propaganda, and poisonous darts of demagoguery (all of them alive and well in present Russia). Some of them lead us straight back to the root of the matter. For instance, one of famous Vladimir Lenin&rsquo;s revolutionary slogans reads: "Communism is Soviet power plus electrification of the whole country!&rdquo;&nbsp;(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2314 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0200 Let’s Recall Orwell to Expose Chiesa http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2312 <p style="text-align: justify;">Giulietto Chiesa. Who is the man? An Italian journalist, a former member of the Italian Communist Party, a former correspondent of&nbsp;L&rsquo;Unita&nbsp;and&nbsp;La Stampa&nbsp;in Moscow, and a former Member of the European Parliament (2004-2009), Chiesa contrived to become, in 2009, a candidate to the European Parliament on behalf of Latvia&rsquo;s left-wing alliance "For Human Rights in United Latvia.&rdquo; Happily, he failed. Previously, I wrote about Chiesa&rsquo;s sister-in-arms, Tatyana Zhdanok (Tatjana Ždanoka), a former MEP from Latvia (2009-2014) who became an emblematic person in my eyes for her poorly disguised disdain and hatred for her country (provided she considers Latvia to be one). &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Yet this is far from the end of the story. Reading his little book translated into English and published by the publishing company Tribuna in Moscow,&nbsp;The Latvian Candidate, Or the Unknown Adventures of a Non-Citizen in Europe, I find myself thinking about some segments of this person&rsquo;s biography and activity that are clearly mutually exclusive. How could a former communist possibly become a member of the Izborsk Club which is an elite club of Vladimir Putin&rsquo;s staunch supporters famous for their imperialism and chauvinism? Why and how did Chiesa become a persona non grata in Estonia where he just recently was not admitted to participate in an event in Tallinn supported and organized by Russia&rsquo;s secret services?</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">And who is Giulietto Chiesa? A Kremlin&rsquo;s useful idiot? An enemy of liberal democracy? A cynical liar and traitor of everything the EU stands for whose book is full of lies and nonsense? A Russian nationalist parading disguised as a nay-sayer and human rights defender? The answer is far more complex than that. And the best clue to this riddle would be George Orwell&rsquo;s essay "Notes on Nationalism&rdquo; written after WW2. In this essay, Orwell drew a strict dividing line between patriotism, which he understood as identification with a way of life and all earthly forms of human attachment, and nationalism, which appeared to him as a belief that one&rsquo;s group is superior and better than other groups.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">What results from such a divide, according to Orwell, is a carefully disguised propensity to classify human individuals as if they were communities of bees or ants. Whereas patriotism is silent and defensive, nationalism is offensive and aggressive. Far from several major forms of radical forms of nationalism and ideological zeal and fervor in general, nationalism may come in many faces. According to Orwell, the transferred or transposed forms of nationalism signify our willingness to find an object of worship which may vary from time to time. A pious Zionist may become an ardent Marxist, or the other way around, while it takes little effort to move from left-wing views to uncritical adoration of Russia, even failing to notice Russian imperialism and colonialism.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">G. K. Chesterton&rsquo;s love for Italy and France led him so far as to fail to notice the emergence of Mussolini and Italian fascism, whereas H. G. Wells was blinded by Russia to such an extent that he refused to see the crimes of Lenin and Stalin. That our propensity to fool and deceive ourselves is nearly limitless was closely and wittily observed by a perceptive British journalist and writer who easily surpassed all British and European thinkers put together in his ability to foresee the tragedy of Europe. Orwell&rsquo;s critical essays appear to have been even more original and groundbreaking than his famous satires and dystopias.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">If people deny their primary linguistic and cultural identity, they have to forge a new one. If they feel that they had lost or had not yet found their homeland, they will search for one somewhere else. If they abandon an earthly homeland as such, they are condemned to fabricate an ideology as a substitute for one. Suffice it to recall a most telling hint that Marx drops concerning the proletarian, who has no homeland by definition. Hence, Orwell&rsquo;s merciless irony in his caustic remark about those British intellectuals, who confidently stated that the American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution, and who sincerely believed this to have been the case. Only those who belong to the intelligentsia are able to believe things like that, concludes Orwell. In his view, no ordinary man could be such a fool.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Orwell was not alone in his skepticism of pacifism and other vague social movements in the era of fiercely ideological and violent politics. Showing the origins and the rise of National Socialism, Raymond Aron assessed what he qualified as "the elements of the German fifth column&rdquo; in the following way: "The fifth column is a typical element of the age of empires. It is recruited mainly among three sorts of men: pacifists, revolted by the material and moral cost of total war who, at the bottom of their hearts, prefer the triumph of an empire to the independent sovereignty of bellicose states; defeatists, who despair of their own country; and ideologues, who set their political faith above their patriotism and submit to the Caesar whose regime and ideology they admire&rdquo; (Raymond Aron,&nbsp;The Century of Total War. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1959, p. 44).</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This is how George Orwell and Raymond Aron allow us to expose Giulietto Chiesa&rsquo;s cynical lies about a small European nation - Latvia. He is both a typical case of transferred nationalism and transposed (or dislocated) identity in the Orwellian sense, and a typical element of international fifth column ready to serve those who have brutal force and who practice successful violence. He is the one who condemns violence at home, that is, in Europe, but who is happy to see it practiced with impunity elsewhere. This is the simple truth about Giulietto Chiesa who otherwise richly deserves to be forgotten.&nbsp;<br /><br />&copy; 2014 The Baltic times. All rights reserved.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2312 Thu, 08 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0200 Ukraine’s Historical-Political Time Zone http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2299 <p>The Ukrainian-American political scientist Alexander J. Motyl and the Russian writer Vladimir Sorokin noted that a new Ukraine was born and that we have had a unique opportunity to witness the emergence of a new political nation.This statement, however accurate, is incomplete, though.&nbsp;(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2299 Tue, 30 Dec 2014 00:00:00 +0200 L. Donskis: lobbyism and guild distribution should be avoided in the awards of National Culture and Art Prizes http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2296 <p>In brief: There is much of lobbyism in the world of culture too; therefore, creative organizations strongly fight for candidates offered by them when prizes are awarded, the head of the committee of the National Culture and Art Prizes Leonidas Donskis states. "Still, the creative organization or an artists&rsquo; guild is not public voice necessarily. It is a professional group, influential in many cases but it may be tendentious, it may offer some lasting chief or activist with a number of merits. Why are we sure that a promising young artist is offered?&rdquo; he asks.</p> Still, the professor emphasises that the committee of the National Culture and Art Prizes should see the entire cultural field, look at entire culture of Lithuania broadly and should not succumb to guild distribution. In the interview the professor speaks about mechanisms of transparency, publicity in the awards of prizes. In his opinion, the report of the chairman of the committee should be announced after every meeting, so that people would know what is happening. Meanwhile, now some of the information is classified, secrets are almost public as the majority know what is being spoken about. He is sure that the mechanism of awards should be improved. <p></p> <p>Still, the professor emphasises that the committee of the National Culture and Art Prizes should see the entire cultural field, look at entire culture of Lithuania broadly and should not succumb to guild distribution. In the interview the professor speaks about mechanisms of transparency, publicity in the awards of prizes.</p> <p>In his opinion, the report of the chairman of the committee should be announced after every meeting, so that people would know what is happening. Meanwhile, now some of the information is classified, secrets are almost public as the majority know what is being spoken about. He is sure that the mechanism of awards should be improved.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2296 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 00:00:00 +0200 L. Donskis received an Honorary Doctorate from Romanian University http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2293 <p style="text-align: justify;">From now on Professor, Vice-President for Research at ISM University of Management and Economics Leonidas Donskis is a proud holder of the highest appreciation rank - an honorary doctorate - at already two European universities. At the beginning of November honorary doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) regalia - a diploma and a medal - were handed to Mr. Donskis at Valahia University of T&acirc;rgovişte, Romania. Back in 2011 Mr. Donskis also received an honorary doctorate from Bradford University in Great Britain. </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Valahia University of T&acirc;rgovişte has around 10 thousand students and is recognised for its dynamics, innovations and strong tradition in humanitarian sciences. The university made a decision to grant an honorary doctorate to Mr. Donskis for his contribution to European humanities and humanitarian sciences, bringing studies of Eastern Europe and Baltics to a higher level, multidisciplinarity and promotion of humanities ideals in politics.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">"I highly appreciate the attention my Romanian colleagues have shown to me. The honorary doctorate received from Valahia University I see also as my admission to the community of the university as well as Romanian academia. I feel close to them in terms of perspective, as I see myself as a person of Western mind, but with Eastern European existential and political experience. The same is with Romanian intellectual experience. During centuries it was oriented to Western world and only geopolitical perturbations of XX century tried to re-orient Romanians towards East&rdquo;, - states Leonidas Donskis.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">ISM Vice-President for Research also sees the received honorary doctorate as an instrument and human bridge which would facilitate introduce Lithuania to young Romanians, who could consider choosing Lithuanian university for their studies or academic research.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Leonidas Donskis is not a new name in the Romanian academic world. T&acirc;rgovişte publishing house "Editura Cetatea de Scaun&rdquo; has published in Romanian two his books: "Power and Imagination: Studies in Politics and Literature&rdquo; (2012) and "Forms of Hatred: The Troubled Imagination in Modern Philosophy and Literature&rdquo; (2014), both of them were quickly acclaimed among Romanian readers. Currently, a book of L. Donskis aphorisms is being prepared for publishing in Romania. Close academic bonds connect Mr. Donskis with Romanian Association of Baltic and Nordic countries studies and its director professor Silviu Miloiu. Under their invitation Leonidas Donskis has given several public lectures at Romanian universities and academic organisations. During current visit, after the honorary doctorate ceremony Leonidas Donskis also gave a public lecture "Devil in Politics&rdquo; at the Romanian Science Academy in Bucharest.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">During his visit in Romania Leonidas Donskis was honoured by a company of the Lithuanian Ambassador in Romania, former Chief of Lithuanian Army Arvydas Pocius. Lithuanian Embassy in Bucharest contributed to the organisation of Mr. Donskis visit.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">You can see photos from honorary doctorate award ceremony here.&nbsp;</p> Valahia University of T&acirc;rgovişte has around 10 thousand students and is recognised for its dynamics, innovations and strong tradition in humanitarian sciences. The university made a decision to grant an honorary doctorate to Mr. Donskis for his contribution to European humanities and humanitarian sciences, bringing studies of Eastern Europe and Baltics to a higher level, multidisciplinarity and promotion of humanities ideals in politics.&nbsp; "I highly appreciate the attention my Romanian colleagues have shown to me. The honorary doctorate received from Valahia University I see also as my admission to the community of the university as well as Romanian academia. I feel close to them in terms of perspective, as I see myself as a person of Western mind, but with Eastern European existential and political experience. The same is with Romanian intellectual experience. During centuries it was oriented to Western world and only geopolitical perturbations of XX century tried to re-orient Romanians towards East&rdquo;, - states Leonidas Donskis.&nbsp; ISM Vice-President for Research also sees the received honorary doctorate as an instrument and human bridge which would facilitate introduce Lithuania to young Romanians, who could consider choosing Lithuanian university for their studies or academic research.&nbsp; Leonidas Donskis is not a new name in the Romanian academic world. T&acirc;rgovişte publishing house "Editura Cetatea de Scaun&rdquo; has published in Romanian two his books: "Power and Imagination: Studies in Politics and Literature&rdquo; (2012) and "Forms of Hatred: The Troubled Imagination in Modern Philosophy and Literature&rdquo; (2014), both of them were quickly acclaimed among Romanian readers. Currently, a book of L. Donskis aphorisms is being prepared for publishing in Romania. Close academic bonds connect Mr. Donskis with Romanian Association of Baltic and Nordic countries studies and its director professor Silviu Miloiu. Under their invitation Leonidas Donskis has given several public lectures at Romanian universities and academic organisations. During current visit, after the honorary doctorate ceremony Leonidas Donskis also gave a public lecture "Devil in Politics&rdquo; at the Romanian Science Academy in Bucharest. During his visit in Romania Leonidas Donskis was honoured by a company of the Lithuanian Ambassador in Romania, former Chief of Lithuanian Army Arvydas Pocius. Lithuanian Embassy in Bucharest contributed to the organisation of Mr. Donskis visit.&nbsp; You can see photos from honorary doctorate award ceremony here.&nbsp; <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2293 Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0200 Neither Friend nor Enemy: Israel in the EU http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2292 <p>This summer I finished a five-year term as a member of the European Parliament (EP), so I was not as shocked as I might have been when, in July, Italian celebrity philosopher and fellow Member of Parliament Gianni Vattimo said that he "would like to shoot those bastard Zionists&rdquo; and suggested that we Europeans ought to raise money "to buy more rockets for Hamas.&rdquo; This was extreme even by the standards of the European political and academic elites.&nbsp;(Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2292 Mon, 24 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0200 An Imagined Dialogue on Several Clichés http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2291 <p>In the wake of the Russian-Ukrainian war disguised as an internal conflict in Eastern Ukraine, several clich&eacute;s and misperceptions of reality widespread in the West have reappeared. In this light, the following questions could and should quite legitimately be raised. I will try to formulate them in such a way so the reader can feel a trajectory of thought. Everything is based on my own fairly recent interviews and discussions on Ukraine and Europe. (Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2291 Thu, 13 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0200