How do you reason with a dictator like Putin?


Putin comes from a line of ideological dictators (including Hitler and Stalin). These dictators become hostages to their own worldview. Hitler used to say “I pursue my destiny with the same certainty that a sleepwalker pursues his path”. The smashing power of reality may overwhelm Putin. Right now, he lives in a cocoon of lies, but once he gets a clear set of information, he will realize that he has failed because he has humiliated Russia more than anyone else, especially because Finland and Sweden will most likely join NATO. Russia’s foreign policy towards Finland has always been to deny that country any foreign policy. Lenin and Stalin would hate what he has done. They were Machiavellians and valued success. This is how he will meet his downfall. His fiasco in Ukraine has shown the bankruptcy of oligarchic kleptocracy. Putinism has failed politically, militarily, morally. But as a set of  ideological salvationist fantasies, it will outlive Putin the same way Maoism has outlived Mao.

“Restricted” pe FB


Mesaj de la Vladimir Tismaneanu

“Your previous posts didn’t follow our Community Standards, so you can’t do things like post or comment.” Am făcut apel la Board-ul FB. Postarea era din 28 mai 2022. Este limpede ca cineva, “stim noi cine”, cauta in arhiva paginii mele orice poate genera asemenea stupide hartuieli. Am spus ca poza este de la Conferința de la Munchen din septembrie 1938, ca îi include pe premierii Neville Chamberlain si Edouard Daladier împreuna cu dictatorul german Adolf Hitler. Postarea era despre complicitati, ingenuncheri, capitulari. Despre appeasement.

Trestia ganditoare: In Memoriam Neagu Djuvara


L’homme n’est qu’un roseau, le plus faible de la nature; mais c’est un roseau pensant. (Blaise Pascal)

Omul este doar o trestie, cea mai fragilă din natură; dar este o trestie gânditoare. (Blaise Pascal)


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Catholics on the Barricades


Gaudium in veritate: It is my pleasure to recommend in superlative terms this book by my friend and U-MD colleague, Piotr Kosicki. Superbly written and truly illuminating, this is comparative intellectual history at its very best! Congrats, Piotr, see you on Thursday and Friday at our conference on “One Hundred Years of Communist Experiments.” Thanks for the great inscription!


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Basta with Lenin!


In order to calm the crowd outside, the portrait of Lenin is rapidly being removed from the council room of the city hall by a freedom fighter. Gyor, Hungary. October-November, 1956. © Erich Lessing | Magnum Photos


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These images made Mátyás Rákosi’s peers, the other little Stalins, all those butchers of their nations named Gheorghiu-Dej, Novotny, Hoxha, Ulbricht, Zhivkov, but also Khrushchev and Mao, tremble. Neither were Gomulka and Tito happy with the spontaneous outburst of mass revolt against tyranny. Leninists have always resented and abhorred stikhiinost. Moreoever, for all of them the crucial role played by students and intellectuals in the revolution was intolerable. According to historian Lars Lih, the Russian term stikhiinost contains the meaning of the English “spontaneity” combined with a sense of an elemental force…

Image: October-November 1956. Budapest. On Vaci Road was the Soviet Cultural shop, members of the insurrection looted it and destroyed the propaganda material. Photo by Erich Lessing (Magnum)


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La Multi Ani, Andrei Pleșu!


He embodies brilliantly three gifts: the gift of friendship, the gift of love, and the gift of wisdom. Happy Birthday to Andrei Pleșu, a noble citizen of the European Republic of Letters!

Image: Launching my book “Fantasies of Salvation” at the Embassy of Romania, Washington, DC, November 1998.

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Gdańsk and the dignity of Europe


City of liberty, Gdańsk, March 2017: In memory of the great European philosopher Jan Patočka, for whom responsibility was a duty and a virtue. Born in 1907, this student of Edmund Husserl became a spokesman for Charter 77. He died forty

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Le jour de gloire…


And when man faces destiny, destiny ends and man comes into his own. (André Malraux)

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Le Pari français


This post is dedicated to the memory of two Andrés: Malraux (1901-1976) and Glucksmann (1937-2015). To be or not to be European? This is question. The French elections are about modernity versus traditionalism, inclusion versus exclusion, civic patriotism versus atavistic xenophobia, hope versus fear, confrontation with the ignoble pages of the past versus revisionist denial, tolerance versus intolerance, Enlightenment versus Counter–Enlightenment, the France of Jean Jaurès, Léon Blum, Jean Moulin, Jean Monnet, Pierre Mendès-France, René Char, and Albert Camus versus the France of Charles Maurras, “L’Action Francaise,” Drumont, Vichy, les collabos, Doriot, “Je suis partout,” and the neo-Poujadisme. The very fact that Emmanuel Macron is a member of the editorial board of the monthly journal “L’esprit” indicates a political philosophy committed to the open society. I definitely support him and I do hope that he will be the winner!


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