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'89 Festival at De Balie: Civil Courage. Revolution. Democracy. Europe.

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe. Politicians, artists, economists and journalists from the East and West will share the stage during this weekend, including Krytyka Polityczna founder Slawomir Sierakowski. ECF is co-hosting one of the debates entitled Towards a New Wall?, which turns the spotlight on Ukraine.

'89 - Towards a New Wall?

Sunday 16 November at 20:00
→ This programme is part of '89, further information can be found here.

As the fear of a new Cold War begins to haunt the West, questions about the nature of the Russian regime and its aspirations become increasingly relevant. Even more insistent is the question of the future and independence of Ukraine. What will happen to Ukraine, a country that has battled for its freedom and a break with the Soviet legacy since the fall of the Iron Curtain?

The current tensions between Ukraine, Russia and the West emphasize the importance to look upon these developments in light of the last decades. What were the events leading up to the situation within which this tension between Russia and Ukraine became possible?

We look upon these tensions and analyze the political and cultural position of Ukraine with Volodymyr Kulyk, is a head research fellow at the Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; Oksana Forostyna, Ukrainian journalist and Executive Editor of the Ukrainian journal Krytyka; Mykola Riabchuk, is senior research fellow at the Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies, Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; and Kateryna Botanova,director of CSM-Foundation Center for Contemporary Art.

How do we look back on the history of Ukraine over the last 22 years? What role does the Ukrainian civil society play in the current conflict?

Mirthe Frese and Bahram Sadeghi will moderate this programme.


Volodymyr Kulyk is a head research fellow at the Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He has also taught at Columbia, Stanford, Kyiv Mohyla Academy and Ukrainian Catholic University as well as having research fellowships at Harvard, Stanford, Woodrow Wilson Center, University College London, University of Alberta and other Western scholarly institutions. His research fields include the politics of language, memory and identity in contemporary Ukraine, language ideologies and media discourse, on which he has widely published in Ukrainian and Western journals and collected volumes. Kulyk is the author of three books, the latest being Dyskurs ukraїnskykh medii: identychnosti, ideolohiї, vladni stosunky (The Ukrainian Media Discourse: Identities, Ideologies, Power Relations; 2010).

Kateryna Botanova is an art critic, curator and contemporary culture researcher. She has been director of the CSM-Foundation Center for Contemporary Art (Kyiv, Ukraine) since 2009 and is the founder and chief-editor of the online journal on contemporary culture KORYDOR. Her work themes around the social engagement of art and the role of art in societies’ transformative processes.

Oksana Forostyna, is a journalist, a novelist, and the Executive Editor of the Ukrainian journal Krytyka. As an investigative journalist, she covered national politics in the local Lviv daily Lvivska Gazeta. Her articles have been published in BusinessWeek, Transitions Online, Gazeta Wyborcza, and the Ukrainian Observer.

Mykola Riabchuk is a leading Ukrainian public intellectual. He is senior research fellow at the Institute for Political Studies and Studies of Nationalities (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine). His research focuses on problems of civil society building in Ukraine, questions of national identity and nationalism. Recent publication: "Russian Robinzon and Ukrainian Friday."

In collaboration with Stichting Democratie en Media and De Balie.