Adam Michnik is Editor in Chief of the Warsaw daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. His newest book is The Trouble With History: Morality, Revolution, and Counterrevolution.


On Andrei Sakharov

Andrei Sakharov and his wife, Yelena Bonner, Moscow, March 1987
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov—there was the man and there is what he accomplished. I saw the man only once in my life—on October 16, 1989, almost two months before he died in December of that year. That is why I will speak about what he did.

On the Side of Geremek

The following is based on the speech given by Adam Michnik at the funeral of the historian Bronislaw Geremek, an early adviser of the Solidarity movement and former foreign minister of Poland, who died in a car accident on July 13 at the age of seventy-six. In the face of …

After Five Years

The Iraq war deeply divided democratic public opinion all over the world. It divided the community of former dissidents of Eastern Europe, too, including the authors of this text. Adam Michnik supported the invasion while János Kis opposed it. We have been united in the struggle against Communist totalitarianism. In …

The Polish Witch-Hunt

Recently, the Polish government attempted to strip Bronisław Geremek of his seat in the European Parliament, to which he had been elected in 2004. The Parliament immediately voted to condemn the Polish government’s action. One of Poland’s most distinguished public figures, Geremek was a leader of Solidarity and a former …

A Death in St. Petersburg

Speaking at the grave of Galina Starovoitova after she was murdered in St. Petersburg on November 20, one of the Russian mourners recalled that terrorism in Russia is nothing new. But the nineteenth-century terrorists, so perspicaciously depicted by Dostoevsky in The Possessed, terrible as they were, had a certain ethics: …


Stendhal’s Grudge

Georges Danton; drawing by David Levine

Julien Sorel’s grudge bred that peculiar amalgamation that was the tragic experience of all the revolutions of the twentieth century. A begrudged rebellion and the need for vengeance changed a rebel into an executioner—the heirs of Robespierre and Danton, Julien Sorel and Auguste Blanqui, taught us that. We listen very carefully to the words of the rebels who wish to turn everything upside down. And we closely watch their hands. We know all the sins and villainies of this world of ours. Sometimes Stendhalian fury grips us.

After the Smolensk Crash: “A New Community” of Poland and Russia?

Following is a special appeal by Adam Michnik, the editor in chief of the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, concerning the April 10 plane crash in Smolensk, Russia, in which Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and dozens of senior members of the Polish government and military perished. The 94-member Polish delegation was coming to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyń massacre, in which 22,000 Polish military officers were murdered by Soviet security forces. The massacre was named after one of the places in which it happened, the forest of Katyń, close to Smolensk. For many years, the Soviet leadership assigned blame for this crime to the Nazis and, until the recent tragedy, the leaders of post-communist Russia have been reluctant to acknowledge Russia’s responsibility for the killings. —Irena Gross