Features

Measuring academic freedom in a regional and global perspective

Democratic backsliding has been an abiding and pervasive concern across the post-communist region for almost a decade. Data from the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) dataset corroborate this phenomenon and show that one of the contributors to this decline is a narrowing of freedom for academic and cultural expression.While not being the sole driver of this recent backsliding trend, the opportunity for open academic and cultural exchange does remain an important principle of basic electoral democracy.

By Vello Pettai No Comments on Measuring academic freedom in a regional and global perspective

Student protests against neoliberal reforms in higher education

Student protest as a form of mobilization from below, excluding categorically political organizations like opposition parties and NGOs, has changed the perception in Albanian society about protesting and decision-making. Public opinion regarding the protest in December of 2018 has had the same value as the student movement in 1990—1991 when the system changed, and Albania became a democratic country, and the students are once again bringing hope to Albania!

By Gilda Hoxha No Comments on Student protests against neoliberal reforms in higher education

Reiner Frigyes Park: A Reflection on current events in Hungary

Inaugurated in October 2012, the statue was one of the first publicly-funded right-wing monuments to adorn a public square in postwar Hungary, and only one example of the current Hungarian government’s determined campaign to reformulate public discourse and memory politics.

By Caroline Mezger No Comments on Reiner Frigyes Park:

Expulsion of students as a tool of control

In order to silence dissident voices within Belarusian higher education, students with uncomfortable political views are often expelled. International critique has resulted in a decrease in the number of expulsions, but the repression continues. The university administration merely has changed methods and nowadays focuses on the students with a capacity to lead others.

By Marina Henrikson No Comments on Expulsion of students as a tool of control

Criminalization of women’s mobilization & the punishing of gender studies

The emergency rule of the last two years has created useful cases to understand what the authoritarian government in Turkey are trying to do in terms of women’s mobilization and gender studies at the universities. Celebrations of March 8 have been turned into a battleground to intimidate women’s mobilization through violent police interventions. In addition, it has become increasingly difficult to engage in women’s, gender, and LGBTI studies due to the changing nature of universities and related departments. However, these attempts have not been without resistance.

By Derya Keskin No Comments on Criminalization of women’s mobilization & the punishing of gender studies

“Academics are fired, jailed, and blacklisted”

Academic independence and freedom in Turkey have long been influenced by the neoliberalization of universities and state control of the agenda in science and education. However, since the “We will be not be a party to this crime” petition released on January 11, 2016, calling for an end to curfews in Kurdish towns and a renewed commitment to the reconciliation process with Kurdish parties, the current Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) government has increased its reaction to academics and academia in general by firing, jailing, and starting legal proceedings against academics.

By Yasemin Gülsüm Acar No Comments on “Academics are fired, jailed, and blacklisted”

Lithuania – a century of remembering & forgetting

During 1918 all three Baltic countries managed to escape the Russian grip and enjoyed some two decades of independence before they came under Russian/Soviet rule again. Despite the fact that the loss of their independence lasted for the following 50 years, all three countries celebrate their centenary this year. So how are the past 100 years described? During my years as a journalist in Vilnius, one of my major interests was precisely the way in which the country portrayed its own history. Over the years I pinpointed facts and covered aspects of this history that were not often highlighted in official speeches or by mainstream media. In the following I will focus on two topics in the case of Lithuania — the Soviet period and the Jews.

By Påhl Ruin No Comments on Lithuania – a century of remembering & forgetting

Charter 97 and the shrinking space for free media in Belarus

Independent media in Belarus is experiencing continued difficulties due to President Alexandr Lukashenko’s repressive policies. To avoid censorship, a number of independent media outlets, such as the most popular news site Charter 97, have chosen to work from abroad. Although this might give them maneuvering space to go on reporting, it also means that many Belarusian citizens do not have access to a sufficient amount of opposition news.

By Marina Henrikson No Comments on Charter 97 and the shrinking space for free media in Belarus

the years of fear the kgb building in riga

The purpose of this paper is to focus attention on the Stūra Māja [Corner House] of Riga and how the building was used. I have also conducted interviews, with both the former Latvian KGB Chief Edmunds Johanson, as well as the former Latvian dissident Leo Hiršsons.

By Rosario Napolitano No Comments on the years of fear

Archiving the past, defining the present open society archives, Budapest

Although the primary interest of the OSA was the heritage of the Cold War and communism, it soon extended its interests to include human rights archives. The first was an archive on the Yugoslav wars, including documents of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Initially, interest in this archive was based on its relation to the aftermath of communism, but later it was realized that “it was a document of human rights”, and this subject was accepted as a part of the OSA’s key activity.

By Anna Kharkina No Comments on Archiving the past, defining the present