Photo: Peter Župník When I’’m asked where I feel I belong, in Hungary where I was born, in Switzerland where I grew up, or in Italy where I live, I answer: in all three countries, to varying degrees and intensity. If I can see that such distinctions may tax the enquirer’’s patience, I simply say: in Europe. But to be honest, I really don’’t know what that means, unless we’’re talking about biographical facts: that I was born in Europe as a European woman to European parents. Or that I find Europe by and large familiar, that I’’d probably be […]

Klaus’’s Havel

Photo: Petr Horník, Právo If someone tried to form an opinion of Václav Havel’’s presidency based on what President Klaus has lately been saying about the late President, the result would not go down very well with those who knew Václav Havel personally. None of them remember Havel as an extreme leftist, nor a post-democratic elitist, nor a modernist destroyer of the democratic order, nor indeed an enemy of the state. A much truer picture of Havel emerges from the eulogy the very same President Klaus gave at Havel’s funeral a year ago, when he said that we had lost […]

Dear Misha

Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / AP   Dear Mikhail Borisovich, dear Misha, I have made several attempts to write this letter but each new version landed in the bin. It is difficult to write an open letter to someone who is under lock and key. I have asked many Russians – politicians and journalists, writers and scholars, businessmen and artists – about your trials, and they’’ve all said the same thing: these are political trials, an act of revenge against Khodorkovsky. Only one Russian gave a different answer – Putin. I have written about it in Novaya Gazeta. Putin […]