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Issue 1-2/2022: Tug of War? Addressing the challenge of instability in the region

The situation with Russian threats towards Ukraine once again illustrates the high level of instability in our region. While certainly security and geopolitics are right now at the top of the agenda, other types of instability also remain, including political, economic and social. In this issue, our authors help us get to the core of this instability and in some cases offer solutions for overcoming it.

February 16, 2022 - New Eastern Europe - IssueIssue 1-2 2022Magazine

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It is clear that there is a high level of instability in our region. While certainly security and geopolitics is right now at the top of the agenda, other types of instability also remain, including political, economic and social. In this issue, our authors help us get to the core of this instability and in some cases offer solutions for overcoming it. James Sherr opens the issue with his essay on how the Eastern Partnership, while not a hard power instrument, can still be a positive force for transformation. Paweł Kowal and Agnieszka Bryc discuss the other side of the coin – Kremlin aspirations for rebuilding old spheres of influence.

Valery Karbalevich analyses the West’s actions towards the regime in Belarus since 2020; and asks if it is ready to go to the next level. Hanna Hopko and Shota Kakabadze give us perspectives from Ukraine and Georgia respectively, while Tiziano Marino points to new geopolitical players who are making appearances in the South Caucasus. Finally, a much-needed discussion on German policy towards the region is facilitated by Andreas Umland and Iris Kempe.

All of these essays can and should be put into the context of what is happening around us and help us reflect on the course of events in the coming months and year. Should war escalate again in Ukraine, how will the instability further deteriorate? And how far is the Kremlin willing to go in order to achieve its aims?

We close this issue with a special dispatch from Donbas by Iwona Reichardt, our deputy chief editor, who spent a week in eastern Ukraine on a study tour for international journalists. She reminds us that despite the fact that international media is warning of a new war, for those who live there on the front lines, the war has never really ended.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Tug of war

The promise of the Eastern Partnership is not dead yet James Sherr

Imperial mania. The road to the third empire Paweł Kowal

Is today’s Russia a “USSR 2.0”? Putin wants us to think so Agnieszka Bryc

Ukrainian democracy in action. Why a successful strategy to counter authoritarianism includes Ukraine’s membership in the EU and NATO Hanna Hopko

Is the West ready to accept the challenge from Lukashenka? Valery Karbalevich

EU resilience in the Eastern Partnership. What does the case of Georgia’s political crisis tell us? Shota Kakabadze

German Ostpolitik in the shadow of Russia’s imperial revenge Andreas Umland

Ostpolitik after the German election Iris Kempe

Opinion and Analysis

The Eurasian Dream. In the pursuit of splendour Grzegorz Szymborski

Belarusians find precarious protection in Tbilisi Mackenzie Baldinger

Lukashenka’s non-reforms Kathrin Yaromich

The future of the Crimea Platform Oleksandr Kraiev

Asian powers entering the South Caucasus. Opportunity or threat? Tiziano Marino

The more things change in the Southern Caucasus, the more they stay the same Svenja Petersen and Raze Baziani

Interviews

Revisiting the 2008 Russo-Georgian War can offer lessons for today An interview with Ekaterina Tkeshelashvili

Crimea has returned to the heart of Ukraine, now it must return to its body An interview with Anton Korynevych

History and Memory

Between nationalist propaganda and recognition of minority victims. The Russian interpretation of the Second World War A conversation with Sergey Lukashevsky

Art, culture and society

The LGBTQ+ community, just like the army, is a part of society An interview with Viktor Pylypenko

Stories and ideas

Georgia. The cradle of viticulture Natalia Mosashvili

Eastern Café

Alexei Navalny and the collective portrait of Russia Maria Domańska

The origins of modern political thinking Simona Merkiaite

New conclusions from 1968 Gerd Tebbe

A tale of emotions Kinga Anna Gajda

Dispatch from Donbas

The closer to the border, the less fear Iwona Reichardt

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