The collapse of the USSR in 1991 led to the rise of fifteen independent states, authority centres and fifteen national political elites. This article deals with the issue of continuity and non-continuity of the old rule personified by the Soviet communism, and new social-political systems in the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Thus, it is crucial to trace the social, intellectual and political origins of the ruling elites and to point to relations between their evolution and the development of the individual states. The analysis of this group is also important for the periodization of the history of the post-Soviet area as well as for the understanding of the mechanisms which lead to the regional diversification of the post-Soviet states, from “the political solstice of the 1991-1993 and the fall of the non-system movements”, through “nomenclature domination of 1994-2002” and “the beginning of the end of nomenclature” up to the question of “the time of counterrevolution of 2010-2012”. The continuity between the Soviet and post-Soviet elites was visible not only in their belonging to one generation but also in the continuity of some of the mechanism for selecting candidates for the ruling elites. One sign of it was the elimination of military men, restricting the role of women and favouring representatives of the security services and the Ministry of the Internal Affairs. This meant the continuation of the political culture and the vision of the world (economy, society, politics) shaped within the conditions of a totalitarian system. The havoc in people’s minds was wreaked by the social and political continuum between the Soviet and the post-Soviet elites and the effect of individual leaders on the evolution of the political systems in the states they ran. The formation of strong presidential systems in all of the members of Commonwealth of Independent States became the reason behind the great importance of the intellectual origins of their leaders. Along with those people, and with their environment, the most important elements of the Soviet political culture and the Soviet mindset have survived.
Jerzy Giedroyc’s interest in the issue of national minorities was the result of his experience before 1939. This issue was covered in about 40% of all the commentaries published in emigrational journals Kultura (Culture) and Zeszyty Historyczne. In his series of articles titled Notatki Redaktora (Editor’s Notes), Giedroyc was very critical about the politics towards minorities. Therefore, he suggested particular policy solutions concerning education, cultural activities, freedom of religion and cultivation of minorities’ heritage. Many of his remarks were focused on Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Germany, and can be perceived as another proof of the significance of Giedroyc’s Culture’s East and West program. The article consists of examples of important quotations from the Editor’s Notes and Giedroyc’s personal archive, all of which picture the style as well as the logic of discourse on how harmful stereotypes and historical burden can be to the rational politics towards minorities (e.g. mutual fears of neo-imperialism). Emigrational chronicles are also analyzed in the article as a source of information for war refugees of various nationalities in Europe, North and South America.
In this article, the author develops a thesis that History of Holly Russia, one of the works of the great illustrator of Bible and classic literature, Gustave Dore, is not only the reflection of the social opinion of Russia in the middle of 19th century, but according to the famous Martin Malia’s book Russia under Western Eyes, it can also tell something about the French society of this time; for instance, about social attitudes or burning issues of the French society in the days of the Crimean War.
Polkowski emerged as a mature, fully formed poetic personality at the time of great changes in the Polish reality – the autumn of 1980. Thus, viewed from the reader’s point of view, his poetic activity began in the 80’s and, being a part of independent culture and shaping its ethos, it resounded in unison with the political and spiritual climate of the time. one of the major roles of the poet in Polkowski’s poetry is that of a witness. Only the forms of the testimony differ, which most often carries the belief that a catastrophe befell the last century. History is to the poetry something more than just an illustration. At the same time, poetry has expressed on many occasions its distrust towards the verdicts of the history. The case of Polkowski’s poetry represents a difficult process of the forming of a modern awareness of history.