Year XIV, Issue 5-6 (151-152)

June 2010
Tadeusz Dabrowski. An Eruption of Grief
Włodzimierz Marciniak. The Year 1989 and the End of the Yalta Order
Marcin Kula. Solidarity as a Model of Democracy
Ireneusz Krzemiński. Wałęsa and the Polish Tradition
Andrii Pavlyshyn. What Kind of Monument Does Jacek Kuroс Deserve?
Paweł Śpiewak. Ideological Controversies and the Discussion of Memory
Alexander Smolar. Authority and the Geography of Memory
Myroslav Marynovych. Poland and Ukraine after the Honeymoon
Grzegorz Motyka. Poles and Ukrainian Between Volyn’ and the Vistula
Boguslaw Bakula. The Unbearable Lightness of the Burden
Piotr Kosiewski. The Long Twenty Years
Jerzy Jedlicki. Leszek Kolakowski: History and Responsibility
Leszek Kolakowski. Theses on Hope and Hopelessness



The May-June issue of Krytyka, a special edition devoted to Poland’s “Two Decades of Freedom,” and funded by the Polish Embassy in Ukraine, opens with a foreword by its special editors, Bogumiła Berdychowska and Ola Hnatiuk. In “An Eruption of Grief” Gdansk poet and publicist Tadeusz Dąbrowski writes on Polish society in the aftermath of the catastrophe near Smolensk, Russia, which took the life of Polish President Lech Kaczyński and a large number of the country’s political, military and cultural elite. In “The Year 1989 and the End of the Yalta Order,” Włodzimierz Marciniak, Professor at the University of Nowy Sącz, considers the socio-political context of the Central European “velvet revolutions” and contrasts the Polish transition from Communism with that of other countries of the Socialist Bloc.

Marcin Kula, Professor of History at Warsaw University examines in his article “Solidarity as a Model of Democracy,” the development of democratic principles and the creation of Poland’s civil society in the course of the 1980s and the early1990s. The sociologist Ireneusz Krzemiński, also of Warsaw University writes in “Wałęsa and the Polish Tradition” on the leader of the democratic movement who after its success turned from a uniting factor to one who generated some of the sharpest controversies in Polish society.

In an essay entitled “What Kind of Monument Does Jacek Kuroń Deserve?”, the Lviv publicist Andrii Pavlyshyn considers the political role and the moral authority of a major intellectual, dissident and public figure and his contribution to Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation. 

In “Ideological Controversies and the Discussion of Memory” Paweł Śpiewak analyzes the content of the Polish discourse of memory and generally the “discussion concerning Polishness” and focuses his attention on such matters as the Holocaust, the Polish involvement in it, the legacy of People’s Poland, collaboration with the Communist regime and the question of lustration.

In “Authority and the Geography of Memory,” Alexander Smolar, Director of the Stefan Batory Foundation, examines the commemorative practice of the conservative administration of President Kaczyński (the article was written in the Fall of 2009).

In “Poland and Ukraine after the Honeymoon,” Myroslav Marynovych of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv gives an account of the progress made in Polish-Ukrainian relations, but also notes a range of unresolved issues. Grzegorz Motyka of the Akademia Humanistyczna im. Aleksandra Gieysztora in Pułtusk looks in his “Poles and Ukrainian Between Volyn’ and the Vistula,” at the discussion in Polish society on the question of responsibility for the Wisla operation of 1947, which forcibly removed the Ukrainian population of parts of eastern Poland to the newly acquired western territories, as well as to the Polish-Ukrainian discussion of the massacres of Poles in Volhynia in 1943 and the condemnation of the Wisla operation by the Polish parliament.

In “The Unbearable Lightness of the Burden” Bogusław Bakuła of the Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań provides a broad-ranging examination of Polish culture in the “break-through” decade of the 1990s, focusing especially on such issues as the fall of the “intellectual utopia,” “schizoid” aspects in Polish postcommunist culture, the role of emigration, the processes of canonization and de-canonization and the choice between Europe in general and its Central-European variant.

The art critic Piotr Kosiewski surveys in his article “The Long Twenty Years” the development of Polish art in the 1990s and 2000s and such phenomena as the introduction of new technologies, happenings and installations, intellectual “critical” art and its entry into the broader European contemporary art scene. 

The issue concludes with Leszek Kołakowski’s “Theses on Hope and Hopelessness” written in 1971, but still remarkably pertinent in the contest of the “twenty years
of freedom” both by virtue of the author’s faith in the possibility of overcoming the Soviet model of Socialism as well as his articulation of what Bakuła called the “utopia
of the intellectuals” which defeated communism in 1989, but was itself overcome in democratic Poland.

The essay is accompanied by an analytical contextualization “Leszek Kołakowski: History and Responsibility” by the historian of ideas, prof. Jerzy Jedlicki. The issue also contains a report on an International Conference on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the treaty between Piłsudski and Petlura organized by the Center of Polish and European Studies of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy and the Polish Embassy in Ukraine along with the Institute of History of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and Ukrainian National Memory Institute in May, 2010.

The issue is illustrated by reproductions of various contemporary Polish artists, among them Paweł Althamer, Mirosław Bałka, Rafał Bujnowski, Rafał Jakubowicz, Grzegorz Klaman, Grzegorz Kowalski, Tomasz Kowalski, Katarzyna Kozyra, Zofia Kulik, Zbigniew Libera, Marcin Maciejowski, Jarosław Modzelewski, Anna Molska, Dorota Nieznalska, Robert Rumas, Wilhelm Sasnal, Monika Sosnowska, Paweł Susid, Józef Szajna, Kamila Szejnach, Leon Tarasewicz, Piotr Uklański, Jakub Julian Ziółkowski, Artur Żmijewski and the group «Twożywo».

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