only search

About Zygmunt Dzieciolowski

Zygmunt Dzieciolowski is a Polish journalist who has covered Russia and other post Soviet republics for European media since 1989. He is founding editor of openDemocracy/Russia.

Articles by Zygmunt Dzieciolowski

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

In memoriam Tatyana Zaslavskaya, Perestroika's Grande Dame

Adviser to Gorbachev and inspiration behind his economic reforms, Tatyana Zaslavskaya has died in Moscow, aged 86. Zygmunt Dzieciolowski revisits a profile of the eminent sociologist and economist, first published on oDRussia in 2007.  

Sergey Dvortsevoy, Talented Ripple Master

Sergei Dvortsevoy’s films may have won plaudits internationally, but his uncompromising observational style and ethical stance keep them out of the multiplexes in Russia. Zygmunt Dzieciolowski interviewed this extraordinary director. 

Radio Jittery

The crisis that has shaken the Moscow bureau of Radio Liberty over the last year appears to be drawing to a close. Zygmunt Dzieciolowski spoke to its Acting President and CEO Kevin Klose about his plans for the station.

Talking to itself

Kremlin control of the Russian media may not be absolute, though it comes pretty close, and the few independent media have to watch their backs constantly. Aleksey Levinson, Mikhail Sokolov and Zygmunt Dzieciolowski discuss the specifics of the situation in the context of the ever more authoritarian Putin regime

Don’t be afraid to turn on the TV!

Most Russian TV outlets are kept under tight Kremlin control.  TV Rain, an independent cable channel, has navigated many rapids in its short existence, but is nonetheless still operating.  Natalya Sindeyeva describes her vision to Mumin Shakirov and Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

The tale of Boris and Vlad

The death of Boris Berezovsky created a storm of speculation and reminiscences in the world press.  But for most Russians Berezovsky was a forgotten figure, so why the explosion of interest there too? Because it’s a classic Russian fable, thinks Zygmunt Dzieciolowski 


War minus the shooting: Russia vs Poland at Euro 2012


‘War minus the shooting’ was George Orwell’s definition of sport, unpleasantly brought once more to mind during the recent battles between Russian and Polish football fans. There is a long history of animosity over sporting events between the two countries, but there could be a way forward, says Zygmunt Dzieciolowski

Astrakhan’s election drama – the bloggers’ view

After the recent Russian local elections were won by the Kremlin-backed ruling party, United Russia, opposition parties cried foul. A review of blogs and online comments from the Russian southern city of Astrakhan shows quite how bad things got.

Zugdidi: Will I ever go back?

Zugdidi Fountain

Zugdidi fountain, with streams of water spouting up into the air from paving stones painted in the colours of the Georgian flag.

Last year openDemocracy Russia editor Zygmunt Dzieciolowski travelled in Georgia and Abkhazia. In Zugdidi he met Georgian refugees from Abkhazia with one question uppermost in their minds - would they ever be able to go back?

Sukhumi: Café Lika on the brink of war

 Sukhumi, Black Sea Panorama

On a visit to the separatist republic of Abkhazia a week before the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008, openDemocracy/Russia editor Zygmunt Dzieciolowski was aware of growing tension. If war did break out, the locals knew that they would be the ones who paid the price.

Tbilisi: Twenty Hours Before the War

NATO exercises in Georgia, July 2008

Georgian soldiers during NATO exercises in Tbilisi, July 2008

In August 2008 our editor Zygmunt Dzieciolowski was in Georgia.  He interviewed Mikheil Saakashvili, as it happens just twenty hours before the war with Russia broke out.  Zygmunt was assured by the President that there were no plans for military action, but later that night he felt very sure that the war could begin at any moment.

Abkhazia Pawns its Independence

openDemocracy's Russia editor reflects that Abkhazia has realised its dream of independence, but at the price of becoming Russia's pawn

Abkhazia: wedded to independence

openDemocracy's editor met the Abkhaz President just before Georgia's war with Russia and found him resolute on the issue of independence

Georgia's President Saakashvili, on the eve of war

openDemocracy's Russia editor interviews Georgia's President and finds him well educated about democracy, but less so about dealing with hungry crocodiles

The future’s ours: Russia’s youth activists

The Kremlin-backed youth organisation Nashi is fuelled by a potent mix of amnesia, idealism, nationalism, and the aura of power, finds Zygmunt Dzieciolowski in a journey between Moscow and its provincial heartlands.

Russia's festive days: tides of history

The symbolism of Russia's new-old national celebrations reflects the difficulties and silences of post-Soviet transition, says Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

Vladimir Putin forever

Russia's president has created a mechanism to realise his long-term political ambitions, says Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

Tatyana Zaslavskaya’s moment

The sociologist whose pioneering ideas inspired the Mikhail Gorbachev-era reforms in the Soviet Union remains hopeful in a political climate far less receptive to her ideas, reports Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

(This article was first published 20 July 2007)

The Polish dictionary

Poland under the Kaczynski twins is in the grip of national political madness. The best way to make sense of it is via a new kind of lexicon, says Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

Russia’s immigration challenge

The treatment of Tajik and Uzbek migrant workers in Moscow is a mirror of the problems of Russia itself, says Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

Russia's unequal struggle

The former world chess champion Garry Kasparov faces an epic struggle against formidable opponents, reports Zygmunt Dzieciolowski

Boris Yeltsin, history man

Boris Yeltsin rollercoaster ride as late-Soviet gadfly and early-Russian president left his people sadder and wiser, says Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

New Russia, old Russia

A trip to an oil-rich city in western Siberia gives Zygmunt Dzieciolowski a fresh insight into the blend of surprise and familiarity that defines Vladimir Putin's Russia.

How Russia is ruled

The Kremlin has learned how to concentrate power by apparently dispersing it, reports Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

The Russian politics of vodka

Russians love their national drink to death, and the state and black market can reinforce its ruination of health and relationships, says Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

Alexander Litvinenko: the poison of power

A poisoned Russian defector in London is only the latest official enemy to be targeted, reports Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

In Russia, death solves all problems

The unexplained murder of critical journalists, democratic politicians, businessmen and even priests has continued throughout the Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin eras. Zygmunt Dzieciolowski, in Moscow, investigates.

Roman Abramovich's Chukotka project

Russia's far east is the site of an experiment in government and social development led by Roman Abramovich, billionaire businessman and owner of Chelsea football club. Zygmunt Dzieciolowski, who has tracked the Chukotka story for six years, uses his unique access to the region to send this progress report.

Russia and the middle east: post-Soviet flux

A new geopolitical environment – including terrorism and mass emigration – has made Russia’s attitudes and policies towards Lebanon and its region more nuanced than in the Soviet era, reports Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

Kinoeye: Russia's reviving film industry

Russian film is booming on the back of the economy's rapid development

Russia's corruption dance

The routine exchange of favours, kickbacks, and bribes fuels Russia's economic and social life. Behind it lies Vladimir Putin's cool political calculation, reports Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

Russia: racism on the rise

A spate of attacks against ethnic minorities and African students reflects a wider growth of nationalist political sentiment, says Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky's shadow

The jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky could yet become a focal point of opposition to Vladimir Putin's authoritarian rule, reports Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.
Syndicate content