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May 15, 2023: Visegrad Scholarship at OSA Presentations

Photo of a Soviet T-54 tank in Budapest in 1956, from Fortepan
Monday, May 15, 2023, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

The next “Visegrad Scholarship at OSA” presentation

When: 2:00 p.m., Monday, May 15, 2023

Where: Blinken OSA Arvhivum, Meeting Roomat Arany János u. 32, Budapest



Tankies Then and Now: Western Leftist Responses to Soviet and Russian Military Aggression

by Gwen Jones, Researcher, and editor


Upon Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, many on the Western Left were ready with explanations of the situation: Russia was protecting its genuine security concerns against NATO expansion and Ukrainian Fascism. This repetition of Kremlin talking points has a long and ignoble tradition, which is the subject of this presentation. Departing from events in 1956, Gwen Jones traces the continuities and changes in strands of Western Leftist thought promoted by “tankies,” a slang term originally denoting British Stalinists who supported the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, and now used to describe a range of commentators who oppose Western support for Ukraine. With reference to materials from the RFE/RL Research Institute’s Area Analysis Department on Non-Ruling Communist Parties, held at the Blinken OSA Archivum, the presentation will contextualize how ideologies are made and re-made around past and ongoing military conflicts.


A Description of the History of Polish–Belarusian Relations in Post-Stalinist Soviet Mass Media as Basis for Justification of Russian Domination over Belarus

by Stanisław Boridczenko, Ph.D. candidate and research fellow at the Institute of History, University of Szczecin, Poland

This project aims to map the representation of the history of Polish–Belarusian relations in the post-Stalinist Soviet media as a source of legitimization of Russian rule over Belarus. The main focus is on the portrayal of the interwar period. However, all other alternative periods, i.e. representations from the era of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russian Empire, also come into focus. Documents from the Blinken OSA Archivum holdings show that the mentioned portrayal does not differ from the classical one introduced by the historians of the Russian Empire: despite the similarities, even the inseparability of Belarusian–Polish history, these relations were interpreted in a predominantly negative way, with a clear demonization of its nature. The presentation will include the most interesting aspects of the research, such as how the Soviet press, to justify its own deeply imperialist policy in the region, created the image of the Polish anti-Belarusian historical tradition.