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About Krzysztof Bobinski

Krzysztof Bobinski is the president of Unia & Polska, a pro-European think-tank in Warsaw. He was the Warsaw correspondent of the Financial Times (1976-2000) and later published Unia & Polska magazine. He served as co-chair of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in 2013

Articles by Krzysztof Bobinski

This week’s front page editor

Adam Ramsay, Editor

Adam Ramsay is a co-editor of openDemocracyUK.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Kleptocracy: final stage of Soviet-style socialism

The tumult in Ukraine marks a wider crisis of the corrupt post-Soviet model. The impact will be felt most acutely in Russia itself, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Ukraine, and a Europe-Russia crack

The conflict in Ukraine is part of a wider tussle over eastern Europe's political orientation. The European Union remains pivotal to progress, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Poland's 1980s, and "transitology" today

The 90th birthday of General Jaruzelski, the military figure who imposed martial law in Poland in 1981, was marked by a flurry of backward-looking, politicised debate. A pity, says Krzysztof Bobinski, for the experience of those times offers potential lessons to many regions around the world.

Armenia's election message

A flawed presidential vote that confirms the incumbent in power also exposes anew the dysfunction of democracy in post-Soviet states, says Krzysztof Bobinski

Armenia's election: dark deeds, slim hopes

The Armenian authorities' capacity to secure the right result in the country's parliamentary election is matched by their failure to meet citizens' basic needs. The consequences are a priority for Armenia's civil society, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Europe's problem, Poland's perspective

The still uncertain outcome of the eurozone crisis makes predictions for 2012 difficult. But its singular impact in the European Union's newer member-states could include a revived appreciation of the benefits of federalism, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

2012, democracy's challenge

The toppling and scarifying of tyrants has made this an inspiring year. But democracy has to go deeper in the next, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Poland's election, European lesson

Poland's competent centre-right government has earned it a popular vote for stability and continuity. But the sharp rise of a minority party reveals a generation's parallel hunger for change, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Europe's eastern question

Poland is hosting a summit on 29-30 September 2011 that seeks to strengthen the European Union's relationship with its eastern neighbours. The great events in the Arab world reinforce the timeliness of the effort. But the larger uncertainties over the union's future may delay real progress, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Poland’s European infusion

The six-month Polish presidency of the European Union starts with a welcome dose of optimism from its prime minister. Now for the hard part, says Krzysztof Bobinski.


In 2050 democracy blossomed all around the world partly because, some years back, bankers in the west and elsewhere were stopped from accepting deposits from dodgy rulers. It was a big sacrifice by the banks and they resisted it fiercely, especially in Switzerland. After all these deposits made up a large chunk of bank balance sheets. Tyrants and dictators are driven by many things; power, of course and sex but amassing an ill-gotten fortune was a regular feature. 

These kleptocracies could never become democracies (accountability, rule of law, free media) while their rulers were addicted to siphoning  large sums of public money off to private accounts. But try keeping billions under the bed. These people stole on such a scale that they were the only robbers who actually needed a bank to look after their swag.
Yours, K
Holbein's portrait of Jakob Meyer, banker.

Poland and climate change

The indifference of official Poland to climate change is rooted in its leaders' experience and reinforced by economic interest. A new generation will be needed for a stronger policy to emerge, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Poland’s second Katyń: out of the ashes

The flight-disaster that consumed Poland’s president and dozens of the nation’s senior figures may be followed by a lasting improvement in relations between Warsaw and Moscow, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Poland: the politics of history

A contest over Poland's post-1945 communist era is being conducted in a way that renders much of this past invisible, says Krzysztof Bobinski in Warsaw. 

(This article was first published on 24 January 2009)

The Polish summer, 1989: a farewell salute

The elections that broke communist power in Poland in 1989 also triggered political revolution across east-central Europe. But their longer-term outcome was a great retreat by the Solidarity movement and its working-class supporters. It's time to acknowledge the more complex truths of the period and move on, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

The partnership principle: Europe, democracy, and the east

The European Union has walked backwards into its Eastern Partnership. The events in Moldova show what the project needs to be about, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Europe between past and future

The political responses to the financial crisis in the European Union’s east reveal a failure to understand the union's own history, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Europe’s politics of self - and others

A summit dominated by financial breakdown and climate change reveals a European Union divided, playing for time, in need of leadership - but still in the game, says Krzysztof Bobinski.  

The Caucasus effect: Europe unblocked

The aftershocks of the Caucasus war are provoking European governments into surprising and even imaginative reactions. Turkey and Ukraine are at the heart of the process, says Krzysztof Bobinsk.

(This article was first published on 15 September 2008)

Europe’s coal-mine, Ireland’s canary

The Irish "no" to the Lisbon treaty is reverberating across the European Union. The implications are especially serious for Poland, says Krzysztof Bobinski - but Europe as a whole must face the political consequences

Poland’s generational shift

The electoral drama in Poland is both echo and augury of the country's political transformation, says Krzysztof Bobinski in Warsaw.

The Polish confusion

Warsaw's blocking approach to European cooperation weakens the European Union and damages Poland itself, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

European unity: reality and myth

A return to the origins of European integration in the 1940s-50s reveals a more complex story than the official celebrations allow, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Hungary's 1956, central Europe's 2006: beyond illusion

A new history of Hungary's uprising against the Soviet Union in 1956 shows how close its people came to freedom. The lesson is for Hungarians and their neighbours to use today, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Poland's populist caravan

The Kaczynski twins' duopoly is pulling Polish politics to the right, but they are beginning to face the pressures of power, reports Krzysztof Bobinski in Warsaw.

Belarus's message to Europe

Europe's retreat in the face of populist revival and protectionist fear offers little attraction to a perplexed Belarusian, says Krzysztof Bobinski in Warsaw.

Europe’s time of reflection

In the last days of 2005, leading thinkers and scholars from around the world share their fears, hopes and expectations of 2006. As Isabel Hilton asks: What does 2006 have in store? (Part one)

The European Union's Turkish dilemma

A tough year for the European project could become a critical decade unless the prospect of Turkish accession becomes an imperative to a meeting of minds on both sides and at every level, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Democracy in the European Union, more or less

A month after the French and Dutch people voted “no” to the European Union’s constitutional treaty, several bruised but unbowed adherents of the European project gathered in Warsaw to share wounds, examine runes, and draw lessons. Krzysztof Bobinski reports.

Poland's letter to France: please say 'oui!'

Polish ex-presidents and German philosophers are making the case for a French referendum “yes”. But where are the British? Krzysztof Bobinski writes from Warsaw.

Poland's nervous 'return' to Europe

Poland is the largest of the ten states joining the European Union on 1 May 2004. But economic pressures, political strains and global fears make this a moment of worry rather than celebration for its 40 million citizens, reports Krzysztof Bobinski from Warsaw.

A stork's eye view from Poland

The EU can’t be a true home for Poland if there is no room for storks and loose ends. The Poles feel pulled in two directions. Europe, yes, but which Europe? Krzysztof Bobinski responds to Reinhard Hesse's 'letter for Europe'.
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