Nr 82 • Juuni 2010

Power and History

Moral superiority and a sense of historical injustice are potent political fuel. But what happens when truth intrudes, memories fade and differences blur? Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s presence at the joint Russian-Polish memorial service in Katyń on April 7th, and the outpouring of sympathy in Russia for Poland since the plane crash on April 10th that killed President Lech Kaczyński and 95 others, raises profound questions about an intellectual framework that has shaped local and outside understanding of the European continent’s history and politics. How far is a historic shift underway, in which countries such as Estonia will no longer fear that their big eastern neighbour is harbouring a version of history which delegitimises their very existence? And how far is this the story of a tactical shift, in which the regime in the Kremlin does the minimum necessary to avoid damage to its external reputation?

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