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Category: Articles and Commentary

The problem with Georgia’s political brand

Georgian security officers might have been complicit in the abduction of Afgan Muktarli, an exiled Azerbaijani journalist, which took place on May 29th in Tbilisi. Later on, Mukhtarli was found in a Baku detention facility. Local opposition and non-governmental organisations argue that the country is retreating from its democratic path and that the ruling Georgian Dream is supporting the regime in Baku.

July 25, 2017 - Archil Sikharulidze

Hybrid deportation from Crimea

In February 2014 troops lacking military insignia invaded Crimea and swiftly took over key military and strategic sites. A referendum was hastily organised, even though it violated Ukrainian law and international norms. The Russian press claimed that 97 per cent of those who voted were in favour of annexation and 83 per cent of the electorate had turned out. While these figures were cited by international news media sources, a report by the President of Russia’s Council on Civil Society and Human Rights (that was posted at the president-sovet.ru web site) showed that only between 15-30 per cent of Crimean citizens voted for unification with Russia. With the bogus referendum swept under the rug, a treaty was signed between the newly proclaimed Republic of Crimea and the Russian Federation to initiate a process of integration.

July 24, 2017 - Greta Uehling

Trump declares support for Georgia despite Russian encroachment

US President Donald Trump’s connection to Georgia can be traced to 2011 after a meeting of then business tycoon Trump and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Trump Tower in New York. Later in 2012 Trump visited Batumi, a Georgian Black Sea resort, turning it into the main touristic hub in the region with an attempt […]

July 20, 2017 - Beka Kiria

Why the reforms in Ukraine are so slow?

Ukraine: The European frontier - a blog curated by Valerii Pekar.

July 19, 2017 - Valerii Pekar

Ukraine’s reforms: Taking off or yet to take off?

Following the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine has put its hopes in a new generation of reformers and seeks to, or rather has to, break free from its corrupt power circles. This was the conclusion reached at a major Chatham House event on Ukraine’s transformation last week, just one day before the UK-Ukraine conference that launched Ukraine`s Reform Action plan 2017-2020. Although the conference began with a negative tone in reference to the ongoing war in the eastern parts of the country, it brightened, looking at the promising future for investors and young professionals in Ukraine.

Does Ukraine matter to Europe? This was the question that seemed to be at the core of the discussions. However, the overall answer to the question was rather mixed. What can and must Ukraine do to become a competitive and advanced European country, rather than a state which needs continuous help while failing to deliver on its own promises?

July 13, 2017 - Agne Dovydaityte

A bittersweet victory: Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU

After more than ten years of negotiations, the Association Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine came into full force in July 2017. The Agreement, which establishes an economic and political association between the two parties, had been provisionally in force since January 1st 2016.

July 10, 2017 - Oksana Khomei, Alena Permakova, Dmytro Sydorenko and Balazs Jarabik

Passion over censorship

This piece originally appeared in Issue 3/2017 of New Eastern Europe. Subscribe now.

July 7, 2017 - Mykola Riabchuk

Shifts of FDI – a lesson for Ukraine?

The role of foreign direct investment, or FDI, as an accelerator of economic growth of the receiving, i.e. the host, country is difficult to dispute (although, as there are always exceptions to every rule). These benefits include the increase in the level of investment, higher wages, transfer of technology, transfer of know-how, etc. Therefore, it is in the best interest of a country to attract such investments. This is especially true for developing economies. One of the reasons is because it is much more efficient to buy or receive new technologies than to develop them on your own.

In order to attract FDI, the economy has to first satisfy several conditions. These conditions depend on the reason for an investor to be interested in the host economy. Generally, in the literature on FDI, there are four main reasons: searching for new markets, searching for resources, searching for strategic assets and searching for efficiency. The last one involves such aspects as low-cost labour.

July 6, 2017 - Tomasz M. Napiórkowski

For Russia, the war has never ended

Every year on May 9th, nostalgic people from the post-Soviet republics can feel like Soviet citizens again. The slogans and posters from the Second World War inspire them just like “make America great again” has inspired Donald Trump’s voters.

In 2014 rhetoric from the Second World War was successfully used to portray the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. Ukrainian soldiers who were trying to defend their own bases in Crimea were called “fascists”. Today, Donbas separatists associate themselves with the Red Army soldiers who were fighting against Nazi Germany. During the so called Immortal Regiment March in Donetsk, people were carrying portraits of killed separatists as well as the portraits of real participants of the Second World War. This concept is a powerful message, it helps to gather Russian people around the state and its “strong leader”, and even go to war against “fascist regimes” in neighbouring countries. The Second World War’s history can be a good example for the construction of a new reality. Facts as well as borders become flexible in times of hybrid war in the Intermarium region.

July 6, 2017 - Nataliia Steblyna

Intermarium vs the Three Seas Initiative

The Intermarium strategy was developed in Poland as a political doctrine at the turn of the 20th century. It was an attempt to answer the general question on how to rebuild a sovereign Polish state and how to secure its future. The concept was innovative even if the purpose was not. The Poles alone, and Poland as a sole actor, wouldn’t be able to achieve such a goal. Poland’s enemies, especially Russia, were considered the main obstacle to independence and excessively powerful. The authors of the Intermarium strategy, Józef Piłsudski and his closest associates of the Polish Socialist Party, discovered the potential of nationalistic aspirations of other nations living within the Russian state. The idea was simple: to initiate a national revolt in a suitable moment and split Russia along national divisions. In such a way both major Polish goals would be fulfilled: independence and a secure future. Russia, if pushed from Europe and stripped of its conquest, would be annihilated as an empire and no longer pose a threat to the newly established states.

July 6, 2017 - Daria Nałęcz

Intermarium – A view from Germany

The concept of Intermarium was developed and promoted by former Polish President Józef Piłsudski between the First and Second World Wars. The main reason behind it was to keep out Russian imperialism through the co-operation of several Central and Eastern European states and was also important in opposing German influence. In contemporary times, several Eastern European politicians have been bringing up the idea of an Intermarium anew. What does this mean for Germany? Would it bring more security for Ukraine or other countries in the so-called “grey zone” between Europe and Russia?

July 6, 2017 - Jan Menzer

Relations between Visegrad and the UK in a post-Brexit Europe

In the wake of the Brexit vote, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called for a reconfiguration of EU governance that prioritises the role of member states over institutions, arguing that democracy can “only be reinforced through the member states”. Orbán’s appeal comes at a time when eastern and central European states are testing their capacity to play a more decisive role in Europe through a number of new and reinvigorated alliances such as the Three Seas Initiative, based on the concept of Intermarium, and the Visegrad Group (V4) that brings together the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in an effort to maximise their influence within the EU and the wider region by adopting joint positions on key policy issues.

July 6, 2017 - Simon Massey

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