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Analysis

A referendum in the shadow of war

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shifted international attention away from yet another referendum in Belarus. Like all the previous ones, these reforms significantly change the Belarusian political landscape, while giving Alyaksandr Lukashenka even more influence and power.

A long-debated constitutional referendum was held in Belarus on February 27th. It had only one question: do you accept the new constitutional amendments? An alternative version of the constitution was put forward by the country’s democratic forces outside of Belarus called “The People's Constitution”. However, this was not even considered by the state working group. Despite an official invitation to all citizens to participate in public debate and suggest proposals, it became obvious that only those changes proposed in line with the regime's vision would be considered and adopted by Minsk.

July 14, 2022 - Hanna Vasilevich

The political psychology of war

Political ideologies are influenced not only by socio-demographic factors, but also by psychological variables such as personal needs, social identity processes and information processing. It is difficult to give a simplistic answer as to why people follow the ideological constructs of lies. The rejection of information, the instrumentalisation of the media and the erasure of dissenting voices, as well as the creation of confusion and fear, create weaponised narratives aimed at undermining civilisation and the personal as well as cultural identity of the opponent.

The current Russian war in Ukraine raises many questions about the human willingness to use violence and especially so when the justifications for war are based on false and fabricated claims. Systematic manipulation and ideological indoctrination have been clear parts of Vladimir Putin's leadership style for quite some time now. He has almost perfected the tactics of psycho-political governance. This is accomplished through certain tactics and mind tricks that mobilise people to support the war or even participate in it.

July 14, 2022 - Rasan Baziani Raze Baziani

From emperors to refugees: Russian emigration to Armenia and Georgia

Moscow’s war in Ukraine has not only forced millions of Ukrainians to flee their home country but has also led hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens to seek exile abroad. Among the most popular destinations for Russians are two South Caucasian republics: Armenia and Georgia.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February, several hundred thousand Russians have fled the country. Some sources even estimate that more than one million Russian citizens have already gone into exile. Among them are some of the country's biggest celebrities, such as Alla Pugacheva, who settled in Israel, and music stars like Face and Zemfira, who both moved abroad out of fear of persecution for their anti-war activism.

July 14, 2022 - Svenja Petersen

The more things change… Britain, Russia and the war in Ukraine

The Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine has upended its bilateral links with countries around the world. This is no clearer than in the United Kingdom, which has forged a rather contradictory relationship with Russia over the past few decades. British politicians are now faced with pursuing a clean break with this peculiar status quo in response to today’s exceptional circumstances.

It has not been an easy winter for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Whether it is overlooking a friend’s paid lobbying or lockdown parties at Downing Street, the British leader has often found himself in the media spotlight for all the wrong reasons. This uncertain domestic situation has had a drastic effect on the fortunes of his own Conservative Party, with recent by-election results often turning in favour of opposition parties. Polls now show steady support for the Labour Party for the first time since Johnson’s landslide election victory in late 2019. Nevertheless, the famously resilient Boris continues to hold on to his job.

April 25, 2022 - Niall Gray

Relations with Russia will never be the same again

No one knows when or how Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine will end. But when the conflict ends, a rebuilding phase will be required. During this period, US and western leaders would be wise to tread lightly as they try to establish a new relationship with Russia.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a new era was born. Fifteen countries emerged from the disbanded union and the West assumed that they would naturally gravitate towards democracy and capitalist economies. As a result, the West welcomed these new countries to join its institutions. One of these countries was Russia.

April 25, 2022 - Mark Temnycky

Mission impossible? EU membership for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova during wartime

Whilst Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova’s applications for EU membership were submitted before they were really ready, the Russian military assault on Ukraine has put the EU in a very delicate situation. Nevertheless, the EU has given the green light to start evaluating the eligibility of the three associated states for candidate status.

Never before have Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova's European prospects been as bright as they are now. All three partner countries in the Eastern Partnership region have already submitted applications to join the European Union. However, the trigger for this move was not the success of internal reforms or the fulfilment of other political and economic milestones (also known as the Copenhagen Criteria).

April 25, 2022 - Denis Cenusa

Russia’s war in Ukraine: perspectives from the South Caucasus

The war in Ukraine has also opened long-standing geopolitical wounds in the three states of the South Caucasus, which now find themselves on the frontline of the new Cold War. The modest reactions of Baku, Tbilisi and Yerevan to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine underline the precarious states the three countries find themselves in.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has geopolitical implications for Europe and beyond. This includes the three South Caucasus countries, all of which are members of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership initiative. Yet, governmental and societal reactions have varied in all three countries, with the Georgian government being cornered into a strategy of “non-deterrence”, the Armenian government subordinate to Russia’s security interests, and the Azerbaijani government pursuing its balancing policy while also seeking a strategic partnership with Moscow.

April 25, 2022 - Bidzina Lebanidze Irena Gonashvili Veronika Pfeilschifter

Prospects for a hydrogen alliance after Ukraine’s victory

The European Union needs hydrogen imports as never before, hence Ukraine could be the new source, Poland a transit country and Germany the destination market. The condition for such co-operation, however, would be a Ukraine without Russian troops killing Ukrainians on its territory.

March 30, 2022 - Anastasiia Zagoruichyk Wojciech Jakóbik

Georgia on the margins of the Russian war in Ukraine

After the illegal recognition of “Luhansk” and “Donetsk” separatist regimes and the direct invasion of Ukraine, the Putin regime could further its aggression not only against Ukraine but also Georgia.

March 13, 2022 - Vakhtang Maisaia

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: a dramatic game-changer

The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine has changed the international security architecture. But we cannot say we did not see it coming, since the premises of Putin’s future actions could be noticed in both his previous statements and actions, and the West’s arrant dismissal of them. Now, with both NATO and EU standing closely behind Ukraine, we wonder how it was possible to let this happen, and where we are now.

March 3, 2022 - Łukasz Kamieński Maciej Smółka Wojciech Michnik

German Ostpolitik in the shadow of Russia’s imperial revenge

The strange tragedy of Angela Merkel's Ostpolitik in 2005-2021 was that the highly intelligent and committed chancellor showed herself incapable of departing from the wrong track in Germany’s Russia policy that Berlin had already taken before she took office. It is symptomatic that none of the early German mistakes vis-à-vis Moscow was directly related to Ukraine, yet the conflict surrounding Ukraine since 2014 has been marking the fiasco of Germany's Ostpolitik in the new century.

Berlin made a momentous blunder long before Angela Merkel came to power and early in the succession of Vladimir Putin's reigns of, so far, two premierships and four presidencies. In September 2001, the Federal Republic’s government invited Russia's newly minted second president, Vladimir Putin, to address the assembled Bundestag. No other Russian head of government or state has ever received such an honour.

February 15, 2022 - Andreas Umland

The Eurasian Dream. In the pursuit of splendour

Throughout the last 500 years, Russia has looked for different concepts with which it can strengthen its greatness and image of prestige. The ideology of Eurasianism is a relatively modern example of just one of these inspiring concepts, with the belief directly influenced by various intellectual and political legacies throughout the country’s history.

The history of Russia, apart from being the story of a nation, is by no means simply a tale of intriguing people desperately seeking greatness above all. However, striving for exceptionality remains a key feature of many national outlooks. As a Pole, I am at least partially aware of how often my fellow countrymen praise Polish history and its significance, exaggerating our achievements and showing off before the rest of the world. I believe such grand rhetoric is at least partly based on a nation’s genuine struggle for its place and identity.

February 15, 2022 - Grzegorz Szymborski

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