Travels in search of a European identity
What does it mean to be European? The answer lies not in Brussels, but in Europe’s forgotten enclaves – tiny fragments of one country cut off and completely surrounded by another. Stuck for centuries between two different cultures, currencies and (at times) languages, each is resplendent with idiosyncrasies. An enclave all of his own, Vitaliev, a Ukrainian-born Russian Jew with Australian and British citizenships, set out on a personal quest to find out what really defines the continent, just as a uniform European identity – in the guise of the Euro – was being imposed from Brussels. A state he dubs EU-SSR.
The first investigative journalist in the old Soviet Union, Vitali Vitaliev was forced to defect from the USSR by the KGB in January 1990. He became widely known in the West for his regular appearances on TV and radio. Vitaliev has published nine books, written in English and been translated into a number of foreign languages, contributed regularly to The Guardian, The European, The Daily Telegraph, The Australian etc., and has made several TV documentaries. He lives near London. Part of the proceeds of Passport to Enclavia go to The Foundation for Endangered Languages which works to protect and promote endangered languages. Up to half of the languages in every continent may disappear within the present century. A language develops over hundreds, even thousands of years, but can be gone in a generation. With it disappear cultural knowledge – stories, recipes, rituals, cures, poetry, humour and wisdom