Didn’t have time to read the news lately? Kafkadesk’s got you covered. Here’s our recap of what’s been going on: more tensions between Poland and Russia, a face-lift for one of Prague’s iconic sites, and an international (anti-)migration conference in Budapest.
Poland snubs Russia ahead of World War II commemorations
Poland refused to send an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to the commemorations of the 80th anniversary of the start of the Second World War, to take place on September 1. While an aide to the Polish President said the decision was due to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and ongoing support to separatists in Eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin didn’t receive the snub too lightly.
“It is with amazement that we have noted the intention of the Polish authorities”, Moscow responded, arguing that “this ignores the logic of history in favour of modern realities” and highlighting the “country’s decisive contribution to defeating Hitler’s Reich and the liberation of Poland from Nazi invaders”. Moscow further accused Warsaw of a “warped mentality” and of “falsifying history” in a sign of growing tensions between the two long-times foes.
Prague’s iconic Lennon Wall gets a makeover
The Lennon Wall in Prague, located next to Kampa Park and right in front of the French Embassy in the historical center, is a must-see for many tourists visiting the Czech capital. But it’s also a highly symbolic Prague landmark, that has been filled and covered with inspired graffiti since the Beatles singer was killed in 1980. It also became an important site where Czechs gathered in the communist era to protest against the regime.
Last week, the iconic Prague site got a long overdue makeover: ahead of the 30 Years of Freedom celebrations in the Czech Republic, over 20 Czech and international artists have added their own contributions and artworks to the wall to promote a message of peace and freedom, giving the popular John Lennon Wall an entirely new face.
Hungary holds (anti-)migration international conference
Over the week-end, Budapest hosted an international summit on migration, organized by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium. Although allegedly intended to “provide a forum for a high-level professional debate for local and international scientists to debate the topic [of migration] and present their perhaps even diverging views”, the event unsurprisingly turned into a rather obvious anti-immigration lovefest.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose views on migration are all too well-known, also spoke at the summit on Saturday. Poland and the U.S. were among the only two countries to have sent official government representatives to attend the summit.
Most of the speakers and guests of honour included prominent anti-immigration advocates like Douglas Murray, a conservative British author; Dutch-American activist and outspoken Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali; former Czech Prime Minister and President Vaclav Klaus, a vocal anti-immigration politician who received the prestigious Petőfi Prize a few months ago in Budapest; former French President of Hungarian descent Nicolas Sarkozy, who had only kind words for his “friend” Orban; or controversial French journalist Eric Zemmour, who recently praised Hungary for its hard-line anti-immigration policy, arguing it should serve as “a model” for the rest of Europe.