NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1 NEWS Tue, 21 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0300 en Tue, 21 Jul 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 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 A Flashback of a Memoir: Witnessing High Treason http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2287 <p style="text-align: justify;">In the wake of the Russian-Ukrainian war disguised as an internal conflict in Donbass, the surge of ethnic minority political parties in the Baltic States calls for attention. That Russia has repeatedly launched a massive media and psychological attack against the Baltic States obvious to anyone not devoid of the sense of reality.Yet it would be simplistic to refer to Russia&rsquo;s political presence as the only factor that might explain the rise of the Russian and Polish minority parties in the Baltics. In fact, this tendency signals the arrival of the new phase in the political life of the Baltic States; nay, this tendency can be characteristic of the EU at large. On a closer look, it appears that the EU is increasingly becoming the new political battleground for major, mainstream, and even marginal political parties all over Europe. At the same time, I regard the existence of the ethnically formed political parties in EU countries as a profound misunderstanding, if not a political anomaly.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As a former MEP (2009-2014), I remember the ways in which some MEPs from the Baltics eagerly and aggressively pursued their political interests trying to squeeze their hidden domestic agendas in the EP work. One of the reasons why this was and continues to be possible in the EU and its major democratic institution is a rather weak political interest in the EP among mainstream policy makers of Europe accompanied by a low turnout of the national electorate during the EP elections. In fact, small and marginal political parties may increase their chances to qualify for the European club, thus gaining the new arena and the new playground for settling their national accounts and finishing their unfinished businesses at home. Being the fifth column at home, these marginal figures can be instrumental and quite successful in dealing a blow to the reputation of the Baltic States in terms of human rights record and respect for minorities.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The easiest way to prove this to have been the case would be to recall some of the Members of the European Parliament from the Baltic States, who did not hesitate to overtly lobby Russia&rsquo;s strategic interests organizing the political seminars jointly with the Russian Embassy in Brussels or advocating Russia&rsquo;s human rights record which can compete now with that of China and Iran over who is second to North Korea in terms of the hell of earth for human rights defenders, dissenters, and conscious citizens. Some of them spoke out against their countries as if their interest lay solely in how to discredit their constituencies and countries whose state institutions, civil societies, and citizens they represented.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">I will never forget a most telling episode from the European Parliament&rsquo;s life, which can best expose the contrast between Russia&rsquo;s human rights defenders and the Kremlin&rsquo;s advocates from the Baltic States. In 2009, I participated in the hearings on Russia&rsquo;s human rights abuse record where the great and incomparable Sergei Kovalev was invited. After the official hearings, we have had a seminar where we continued our discussions focusing on some particular and well-known cases. What happened next there was an intervention that deserves to be quoted and thoroughly analyzed by the posterity.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Tatyana Zhdanok (Tatjana Ždanoka), a former MEP from Latvia, expressed her discontents over the hearings suggesting that Russia should not be singled out on the grounds of her violations of human rights, and that we should pay more attention to the violations of human rights in the Baltic States and especially in Latvia where, according to her, the Russian-speaking minority is increasingly persecuted, offended, and deprived of its dignity. Sergei Kovalev rose immediately to react. He commented on the aforementioned pearl of political wisdom in his calm and lowered voice, as usual. "No state on earth is ever going to be perfect,&rdquo; he said. "There are no perfect states, as we know. But to compare and even equalize a normal, albeit imperfect, state with present Russia is profoundly immoral.&rdquo; I thought that I hardly had anything to add to his words.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Yet we have our own lion&rsquo;s share of this disgrace and story of high treason in Lithuania. It suffices to recall Valdemar Toma&scaron;evski, a present Lithuanian MEP, the head of the ethnic Polish party in Lithuania, who consistently miscast his country ad who recently went so far as to wear Russian St. Gregory ribbon - well, what can one say about one&rsquo;s wearing this new swastika of our days after the state-sponsored terror of Russia in Ukraine? It does appear as an act that exposes the person in question to the full without any need to add something here.<br /><br />Another highlight of treachery and political cynicism would point at Viktor Uspaskich, one more MEP from Lithuania, who had long been prosecuted by Lithuania desperately trying to save his legal immunity via his office in the EP (he continues to do so now). In the ALDE (liberal group in the EP) hearings on Russia, Uspaskich began insinuating on Lithuania as allegedly persecuting him for ethnic and political reasons. He opposed the idea that Russia is worse than EU countries in terms of its human rights record. Gary Kasparov reacted immediately suggesting wittily that it appears as holy naivet&eacute;, to say the least, to compare a normal, albeit imperfect democratic European state, with Putin&rsquo;s Russia, and that it strikes him to hear this from an EU politician. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It does not take much wisdom to serve as the Trojan horse of the Kremlin in the Baltic States only due to some local discords and animosities. Especially when the naivet&eacute; or cynicism of some of West European colleagues in the EP leads them so far as to portray the fifth column of the Baltic States as human rights activists. Hopefully, Putinism has become an eye-opener. &nbsp;<br /><br />&copy; 2014 The Baltic times. All rights reserved.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2287 Wed, 05 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0200 Leonidas Donskis Appointed ISM Vice-President for Research http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2281 <p style="text-align: justify;">Prof. Leonidas Donskis, a former euro parliamentarian and prominent public activist, was appointed vice-president for research at ISM University. He will begin in his new position on 22 September.&nbsp;</p> Prof Donskis will be responsible for strengthening research and doctoral studies, improving strategy, and increasing the internationalisation of the two activities. He will also be responsible for networking in the research and doctoral student community and for the publication of research articles in professional literature. Another important area of his activity is strengthening contacts between academics and business, searching for new opportunities for cooperation, discovering creative potential in business, and employing it on a bigger scale. "I always admired the atmosphere of creativity and international spirit and the modern approach to higher education at ISM. I see this university as one of the best business schools in Eastern and Central Europe, a unique laboratory combining business and research,&rdquo; the new vice-president for research&nbsp; at ISM University of Management and Economics said.&nbsp; &nbsp; Prof Donskis acquired his doctoral degree at universities in Vilnius and Helsinki. He is an associate professor at the latter institution of higher education. Donskis is also an author and has compiled seventeen academic books in English and twenty-five in Lithuanian. His works have been printed by prestigious publishing houses in the United States and Europe and translated into fourteen languages. He has worked and given lectures at universities in the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, Estonia and Hungary. He is a member of the editorial staff of academic magazines and is a prominent public activist. Prof Donskis holds honorary doctorates at the University of Bradford in the UK and Valahia University of Targoviste in Romania. &nbsp; "Prof Donskis is one of the most acknowledged and respected Lithuanian academics. His experience, work abroad, and a wide field of academic interests will help us to create an even more intensive academic life at the university and get researchers involved in new projects and even wider academic networks. The professor knows perfectly the Nordic academic culture that relates us to our founder, BI Norwegian Business School, and in which we conduct international doctoral studies and other academic projects with universities abroad. We will continue to expand our team with experienced specialists from Lithuania and other countries as we seek to become regional leaders in research and studies,&rdquo; Vilius Kontrimas, president of ISM University of Management and Economics, said. &nbsp; The main areas of academic research at ISM University of Management and Economics are strategic planning, marketing, organisational behaviour, entrepreneurship and innovations, economics, and political science. In association with the Baltic Management Development Association, academics from the Baltic countries, Norway and Russia, the university publishes the Baltic Journal of Management, the only academic journal investigating management trends in the region. The first international programme of doctoral studies in the field of management encompassing the entire Baltic region was started at the university. ISM University&rsquo;s activity is acknowledged and recognised internationally: ISM was entrusted to organise the main European conference on research in entrepreneurship, RENT (Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business), and the first session of the Association for Strategic Management in the Baltic countries took place at the university. There are such prominent academics among the ISM honorary doctors as Prof Geert Hofstede, Dr Ichak Adizes, Prof Peter Lorange, and Prof Robert Shiller, Nobel Prize winner in economics. &nbsp; <p style="text-align: justify;"></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Prof Donskis will be responsible for strengthening research and doctoral studies, improving strategy, and increasing the internationalisation of the two activities. He will also be responsible for networking in the research and doctoral student community and for the publication of research articles in professional literature. Another important area of his activity is strengthening contacts between academics and business, searching for new opportunities for cooperation, discovering creative potential in business, and employing it on a bigger scale. "I always admired the atmosphere of creativity and international spirit and the modern approach to higher education at ISM. I see this university as one of the best business schools in Eastern and Central Europe, a unique laboratory combining business and research,&rdquo; the new vice-president for research at ISM University of Management and Economics said. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Prof Donskis acquired his doctoral degree at universities in Vilnius and Helsinki. He is an associate professor at the latter institution of higher education. Donskis is also an author and has compiled seventeen academic books in English and twenty-five in Lithuanian. His works have been printed by prestigious publishing houses in the United States and Europe and translated into fourteen languages. He has worked and given lectures at universities in the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, Estonia and Hungary. He is a member of the editorial staff of academic magazines and is a prominent public activist. Prof Donskis holds honorary doctorates at the University of Bradford in the UK and Valahia University of Targoviste in Romania.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">"Prof Donskis is one of the most acknowledged and respected Lithuanian academics. His experience, work abroad, and a wide field of academic interests will help us to create an even more intensive academic life at the university and get researchers involved in new projects and even wider academic networks. The professor knows perfectly the Nordic academic culture that relates us to our founder, BI Norwegian Business School, and in which we conduct international doctoral studies and other academic projects with universities abroad. We will continue to expand our team with experienced specialists from Lithuania and other countries as we seek to become regional leaders in research and studies,&rdquo; Vilius Kontrimas, president of ISM University of Management and Economics, said.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The main areas of academic research at ISM University of Management and Economics are strategic planning, marketing, organisational behaviour, entrepreneurship and innovations, economics, and political science. In association with the Baltic Management Development Association, academics from the Baltic countries, Norway and Russia, the university publishes the Baltic Journal of Management, the only academic journal investigating management trends in the region. The first international programme of doctoral studies in the field of management encompassing the entire Baltic region was started at the university. ISM University&rsquo;s activity is acknowledged and recognised internationally: ISM was entrusted to organise the main European conference on research in entrepreneurship, RENT (Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business), and the first session of the Association for Strategic Management in the Baltic countries took place at the university. There are such prominent academics among the ISM honorary doctors as Prof Geert Hofstede, Dr Ichak Adizes, Prof Peter Lorange, and Prof Robert Shiller, Nobel Prize winner in economics. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2281 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0300 Wag the Dog. Russian Style http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2282 <p style="text-align: justify;">The extreme power of manipulation, in terms of public opinion and imagology, and its political and moral implications are well revealed by one film that has contributed to the critique of today&rsquo;s controlling political structures. This is Barry Levinson&rsquo;s film&nbsp;Wag the&nbsp;Dog. The film tells us the story of Hollywood producer Stanley Motss and Washington&rsquo;s spin doctor Conrad Brean, who are supposed to save the White House due to the President&rsquo;s scandalous romance.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The duet of Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro reveals with skill a world of people who are talented, but also amoral and value disoriented. At any rate, the revelations of instrumental mind and instrumental morality are not the only merits of this great film. This film, created in 1997, foreshadowed a military campaign in Yugoslavia (the film mentions Albania) during the height of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky&rsquo;s sex scandal. Of course, it would be silly to claim, wearing a serious face, that the war in Yugoslavia was required because of U.S. domestic politics, and as a means of smothering the scandal. "Pacifist&rdquo; Western Europe wanted this war perhaps even more than "militaristic&rdquo; America. The U.S. was the wand that was used to solve the problem.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">But this film leaves an impression due to its emphasis on something else - it just so happens that a war can be fabricated. Just as, as it turns out, one might direct public opinion in such a way that a war would be wanted or even much desired. Create an artificial crisis, sacrifice a few dozen innocent lives to a political Moloch, increase people&rsquo;s sense of insecurity - and, everyone, in a flash, almost overnight, will want both a firm controlling hand, tough rhetoric, and, perhaps, even war. In short, something similar to being beyond good and evil.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In fact, the film in question predicted something even more dangerous and sinister than it was able to articulate and address along the lines of its characters&rsquo; monologues and dialogues.&nbsp; In the contemporary world, manipulation by political advertisement is not only capable of creating people&rsquo;s needs and their criteria of happiness, but also capable of fabricating the heroes of our time and controlling the imagination of the masses through successful biographies and success stories. These abilities make one pause for thought about a "velvet&rdquo; totalitarianism - a controlled form of manipulating consciousness and imagination that is cloaked as liberal democracy, which allows the enslavement and control of even the critics.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Yet the question remains whether these forms and methods of manipulations, brainwashing and conditioning can be used by dictatorships, thuggish regimes, and rogue-states more successfully than by democracies with all their marketing techniques and paraphernalia.&nbsp;Wag the Dog, like other similar productions of cinematography, rests on the assumption of infinite manipulations as an offshoot or a side effect of mass democracy. In so doing, it missed the point that military regimes can have much more success in this than their democratic adversaries. In fact, this is high time for the West to wake up and see the world around us for what it is. We are witnessing the resurgence of real rather than velvet or imagined totalitarianism in Russia. Public opinion was made and remade there as many times as the regime wanted it to be, and hatred for Ukraine was manufactured in accordance with the need for an enemy. Ukrainian "fascists&rdquo; become the appropriation of the term that best describes its user, for the more Russian propaganda speaks about the Ukrainian fascism, the more family resemblance Russia itself bears to Nazi Germany with all its hatred as a method to approach reality, Goebbels-type propaganda, and toxic lies.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Never before has George Orwell&rsquo;s&nbsp;1984&nbsp;and its vocabulary been as relevant as it is now, due to the sliding of Russia into barbarity and fascism with incredible speed and intensity. A series of interrogation scenes between O&rsquo;Brien and Winston Smith with all allusions to the Communists and the Nazis as the na&iuml;ve predecessors of Oceania, who had an ideology and who allowed their victims to become martyrs, sound now as the best eye-opener since Putinism entered the phase of war and terror: the Newspeak, two minute hate, and the jackboot trampling on the human face for the sake of unlimited power have finally acquired the points of reference.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It is a fascism with no real ideology, for a set of tools to boost the morale of its thugs and terrorists consists of the worn-out clich&eacute;s and recycled slogans largely borrowed from the Italian and Hungarian fascisms with some Serbian additions from the times of Slobodan Milosevic, and with Nazi cherries on top. Irredentism, the need to reunite the disunited nation, the world turned against the righteous people, the necessity to defend history for the sake of its reenactment - these are all ghosts and specters of twentieth century fascism.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The tragedy of Russia is that its population falls prey to the Kremlin&rsquo;s spin doctors with their ability to create virtual and TV hyper-reality that had hidden reality from the masses. Ukraine for the Russian incarnations and successors of Goebbels, such as Vladislav Surkov, has become exactly what Albania was for Barry Levinson and his film - a piece of virtual reality fabricated for the sake of domestic policies. The funny thing is that the excessive and obsessive use of the term "fascism&rdquo; appears as a form of cognitive dissonance of Russian fascism: be quick to apply your own name or title portraying your enemy - then you will appropriate the name and will absolve yourself from it.</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2282 Mon, 08 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0300 Moral Blindness and Ukrainian Lessons http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2278 <p>In 2013, I have written conjointly a book with Zygmunt Bauman, one of the greatest thinkers of our times. It is a book of an intense philosophical dialogue on the loss of sensitivity. The title of our book,&nbsp;Moral Blindness, was Bauman&rsquo;s idea, and it came out as an allusion to the metaphor of blindness masterfully developed in the Portuguese writer Jos&eacute; Saramago&rsquo;s novel&nbsp;Ensaio sobre a cegueira&nbsp;(Essay on Blindness). Yet the subtitle of the book,&nbsp;The Loss of Sensitivity in Liquid Modernity, came out from my own theoretical vocabulary, albeit with Bauman&rsquo;s touch - his books would be unthinkable without the adjective "liquid,&rdquo; be it liquid modernity or liquid fear or liquid love. Much to my delight, this book will have a second life in the Ukrainian language and culture. (Continue...)</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2278 Fri, 15 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0300 And Then There Was a Team http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2272 <p>Sitting in downtown Wrocław and raising a glass of wine, my friend, cultural attach&eacute; of Lithuania in Poland, and I both found ourselves absorbed by an exciting chat about Polish football. All of a sudden, a sharp historical association crossed my mind. Exactly forty years ago, in 1974, the then seemingly unbeatable Brazil was defeated twice - first by Holland and then by Poland. 1974 was not the time of Brazil. It signified the arrival of a different epoch.&nbsp;(Continue...)&nbsp;<br /><br />This text was originally published by "Gazeta Wyborcza" in Polish.&nbsp;</p> NEWS http://www.donskis.lt/p/en/1/1_/2272 Wed, 09 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0300