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Author: Adam Reichardt

Post-COVID Eastern Europe: Equation with many unknowns

From the very early days of the global COVID-19 pandemic, discussions about how it will change the world began. The overwhelming majority of commentators of international affairs believe that Europe (and the rest of the world) will be a completely different place than before the coronavirus. Although the social and economic consequences of the pandemic are already obvious, it is definitely too early to tell that the crisis will fundamentally change the international political order and the way the economic system will be organised.

July 7, 2020 - Wojciech Konończuk

Gone with the virus. How the pandemic makes Russian strategy evanescent

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in three major blows to the Kremlin’s international strategy, thus making it adjust to much less favourable circumstances than when Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea and disrupted relations with the West.

July 7, 2020 - Andrey Makarychev

Bracing for impact. Shifting geopolitics in the South Caucasus

For the three countries of the South Caucasus, the sudden emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has reconfigured domestic politics, reordered policy priorities and recommitted each government to respond to the overwhelming crisis in public health. For Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the urgency of managing the immediate crisis will soon be matched by the equally daunting task of ensuring economic recovery and enabling social repair.

July 7, 2020 - Richard Giragosian

The Eastern Partnership and Russia in the post-COVID world

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe negative impact on the economies of countries under lockdown. The OECD predicts a decline in annual GDP growth of up to two percentage points for each month that containment measures are in place.

July 7, 2020 - Karina Shyrokykh

Eastern Partnership in times of coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic affected global markets in a very similar way to the 2008 financial crisis. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the 2020 outlook does not project three per cent growth anymore, but a sharp contraction of the same number (minus three per cent), which will be worse than the loss in 2008.

July 7, 2020 - Péter Stepper

Georgia and COVID-19. The miracle of social and institutional resilience

Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, some forecasts on Georgia’s prospects were apocalyptic – everything could have gone wrong. Although Georgia is ranked lower and lower each year (which, in this instance, means improvement) in the Fragile State Index since 2008, many had doubts if the conjunction of several factors would allow this small country in the South Caucasus to manage the incoming crisis effectively. While more than 40 per cent of the population still lives in mountainous, isolated areas, a robust inflow of tourists to the capital city as well as sea and ski resorts could have had a serious impact on the dynamic of the pandemic.

July 7, 2020 - Beata Górka-Winter

Zelenskyy’s populist learning curve

If Ukraine had a term for its current political landscape, “turbo regime” would definitely work for 2019. The cabinet of ministers quickly was staffed with “new faces” coming from a community of activists and technocrats previously engaged in international organisations and reform projects. Yet, the team delivered mixed results. In response, Zelenskyy sacked the government and replaced key officials hoping to keep his popularity high.

Upon being elected to the presidential office, Volodymyr Zelenskyy dissolved the parliament during his inauguration speech on May 20th 2019, paving the way for a snap election. That blitzkrieg helped him remove the unfriendly legislature and expand his grip on power by having his party ride the wave of popularity it was receiving. At that point, the Servant of the People party was ahead of any of its established competitors in the polls. The problem was that the party did not yet exist.

July 7, 2020 - Anna Korbut

Babyn Yar: When will the tragedy be finally commemorated?

Babyn Yar in Kyiv is the site of the largest Holocaust massacre on Ukrainian territory. The Nazis executed around 100,000 people from 1941 to 1943 on the site, including the killing of 33,771 Jews over two days – September 29-30th 1941. Today it is a place where an appropriate memorial to honour the victims has yet to be created. Since the Ukrainian state has been unable to take responsibility for such a project for years now, private actors have taken it on.

It has been 79 years since the massacre of Babyn Yar. Naturally, commemorative initiatives have been intensifying in Ukraine in recent years, as they usually do before round figure anniversaries. At the moment, there are at least two memorial projects at Babyn Yar, and both have a common aim: to commemorate the Babyn Yar massacre.

July 7, 2020 - Svitlana Oslavska

A reality check for the realists

Putin’s behaviour is not just an inevitable consequence of the fact that Russia is a great power – it is a combination of post-Cold War historical grievances and a zero-sum conception of the world that positions Russia in permanent opposition to the West.

During the third US presidential debate in 2012, then President Barack Obama mocked his opponent, Governor Mitt Romney, for a remark he had made several months earlier: “When you were asked what is the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia. Not al-Qaeda – you said Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.” This joke got a lot of traction among Democrats who cited Romney’s comment about Russia as evidence that he was clueless about the modern challenges the United States faces around the world.

July 7, 2020 - Matt Johnson

Ukraine as a key to Europe’s energy security. Towards a US-Polish-Ukrainian LNG trading platform

On August 31st 2019 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Warsaw to strengthen gas security in the region through LNG supplies from the US via Polish and Ukrainian infrastructure. This formal document may lay the foundations for developing a new natural gas trading market in Europe.

Free of political barriers, access to a diverse range of energy sources is necessary for effective industrial development. European economies have become increasing concerned with energy security. This is largely the result of growing desires to end a dependence on supplies of gas and oil from the Russian Federation. The diversification of energy sources guarantees supply and promotes market liquidity. What actions should be taken in order to ensure this diversification? Will the Ukraine-Poland Interconnector and Baltic Pipe be able to guarantee a continuous supply of gas to the Polish and Ukrainian markets? What are the challenges faced by companies which manage infrastructural projects in the natural gas sector?

July 7, 2020 - Mykola Voytiv

The meaning behind Azerbaijan’s forged elections

In February 2020 Azerbaijan held early parliamentary elections for its National Assembly. Independent observers noted serious electoral fraud, including ballot stuffing, multiple voting and turnout manipulation. Yet the fraudulent activities around the election process were not the sole component of the Azerbaijani government’s strategy.

The early parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan took place on February 9th 2020. Through these elections, the citizens of Azerbaijan elected deputies to the one-chamber National Assembly (Milli Məclis). The official election results announced by the Central Electoral Commission showed a significant victory for the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (Yeni Azərbaycan Partiyası, YAP), whose representatives are said to have won 72 out of 125 single-member constituencies (58 per cent of all districts). Interestingly and uniquely for non-democratic post-Soviet states, YAP candidates, even though running in single-member districts, often placed second or third, and at times even last. Their poor placing was often the result of an agreement with candidates from parties who were loyal to President Ilham Aliyev, or with some formally independent candidates.

July 7, 2020 - Mateusz Bajek

Corona in Kazakhstan: An authoritarian transparency offensive

Kazakhstan continues to defy the COVID-19 crisis. Official figures remain encouraging following the government’s harsh measures. However, these statistics do not only involve the virus, but also regime critics.

A lack of protective clothing, too few tests and no suitable treatment: Tolkinai Ordabayeva contracted COVID-19 and made some serious accusations. The 29-year old doctor is a specialist in infectious diseases and works in a regional hospital in Southern Kazakhstan. She wrote on Facebook that she had been infected by a patient because of the lack of appropriate equipment: “The hospital administration has forced the medical staff to sew their own masks because at work they do not provide masks or protective clothing.”

July 7, 2020 - Othmara Glas

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