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Analysis

The 2008 Russian aggression is not the dim and distant past

Interview with Victor Dolidze, the former State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Interviewer: Małgosia Krakowska.

November 29, 2017 - Małgosia Krakowska

Pursuing cooperation despite divisions: The outcomes of Eastern Partnership Summit 2017

The Summit’s results have been less ambitious than some of the participants might have expected. The EU confirmed its commitment to the initiative, cautiously putting on the plate a set of limited reforms. Any more consistent steps forward seem to be unfeasible, as there are still numerous points of disagreement among the EU members and their eastern partners.

November 27, 2017 - Giovanni Pigni

Eight years of Eastern Partnership: Hidden in the trenches

The European Union’s commitment to the Eastern Partnership region has been cemented by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, but for internal reasons, the EU is trying to avoid the costs linked to the countries’ integration. For Russia, the region is vitally important but Moscow cannot muster the resources or an attractive alternative to keep the countries close.

November 23, 2017 - Balázs Jarábik and Dovilė Šukytė

The West and the post-Yugoslav political architecture

The Balkans need the EU and vice versa, because the map of Europe is not complete without the region. The sluggish progress it had made is at risk. The best and only alternative for the Western Balkans is cooperation among the neighboring states while maintaining a continuous pathway towards EU membership.

November 22, 2017 - Visar Xhambazi

One and a half years before the election: Is Ukraine dreaming of Belarus?

Ukraine’s political scene is ripe for a newcomer. The public demands an uncompromising anti-corruption crusade, releasing the country from the oligarchs' grip, reforming the public service, boosting the social infrastructure and rising welfare standards.

November 21, 2017 - Yegor Vasylyev

Remaking Ukraine’s education system

Interview with Mykhailo Wynnyckyi, advisor to the Minister of Education of Ukraine. Interviewer: Kateryna Pryshchepa.

November 16, 2017 - Mychailo Wynnyckyj

The Eastern Partnership and the various EU crises

For the EU, the year 2017 is the year of not only overlapping crises and challenges, but also new mutually intertwined lessons and opportunities. The main challenges for the EU before the 2017 Brussels Summit include the lack of room for ENP’s politicisation, balancing between security, stability and foundational values and the geopolitical rivalry with Russia in the region.

November 15, 2017 - Maryna Rabinovych

How Euro-parties imperil democracy in the Eastern Partnership countries

The Europarties’ engagement with non-EU parties from the Eastern Partnership countries failed to transform the party system in those states. Relying to a great extent on trustworthy personal relations with the party leaders, the Europarties contributed to further legitimisation of non-EU party structures. In this way, the Europarties acquiesced to personality-oriented party politics that are embedded in clientelistic relationships and oligarchic business circles.

November 14, 2017 - Maria Shagina

The ins and outs of the Czech disinformation community

The disinformation scene in the Czech Republic is relatively developed and intertwined with some of the country’s leading politicians, including president Miloš Zeman. Nevertheless, both the government and the civil society have recognised the threat and efforts have been made to address the problem.

November 8, 2017 - Markéta Krejčí

FIFA World Cup 2018: A geopolitical event for Europe

The next FIFA World Cup will have a particular signification: the time (June 14th – July 15th) and the place (Russia) will give the Russian Federation a global audience. It will also place the country and the Putin regime under the scrutiny of the world during several weeks.

November 3, 2017 - Cyrille Bret

The new Great Game that is not

The idea that Central Asia is the nexus of a Great Game between the world’s superpowers is, in the 21st century, largely exaggerated. Undoubtedly, the Central Asian republics are actively engaging with the great powers by relying on their sovereign prerogatives and pursuing their own strategic goals. But this should be seen rather as a strategy of the local players than a competitive game orchestrated from Washington, Moscow or Beijing.

It is not uncommon to hear from academics and pundits alike that Central Asia is now at the centre of a new Great Game between the great powers (namely, the United States, Russia and China), as it was two centuries ago. The term, popularised by Rudyard Kipling’s 1901 novel Kim and first used by Captain Arthur Conolly of the East India Company’s Bengal Army in 1840, directly refers to the 19th-century competition between the Russian and British empires for control over Central Asia. An example of the pre-eminence of the metaphor in today’s intellectual circles is one of the latest books published on international politics in Eurasia, edited by Mehran Kamrava, titled The Great Game in West Asia, which claims that there indeed is a new great game afoot in the region.

Though vigorously denied by those policy-makers actually involved in the politics of the region, and often criticised by more nuanced and context-aware regional observers, the Great Game is still a widely adopted and popular metaphor, rooted in geopolitical thinking and aimed at simplifying the reality. It refers to the competition between the abovementioned states to vie for influence over and in the region, as well as to the conflicts that their different strategies may elicit in the near future. In the Great Game narrative, the five Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are the board on which the game is played.

October 31, 2017 - Filippo Costa Buranelli

How Central Asia understands democracy

Since gaining independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the republics of Central Asia have undergone a diverse process of nation and state building. However, some common threads in Central Asia have emerged, including a unique understanding of the concept of democracy.

Independence was thrust upon the Central Asian republics in the wake of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, necessitating a series of fundamental processes, including state- and nation-building. While the process of constructing a national identity has been multi-faceted and contested, much of the nation-building concentrated on political regimes, who dovetailed this process to their efforts of consolidating power and legitimation. Twenty-five years later, new symbols of nationhood have replaced the old Soviet paraphernalia. Teams of national historiographers, ethnographers and political ideologues have developed new national narratives to valorise the nations. The content of the new national identities has been drawn from a variety of old and new identity markers: Muslim and Atheist, Turkic, Persian, and Slav, Eastern and Western, and modern and traditional.

October 31, 2017 - Mariya Y. Omelicheva

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