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Analysis

What to watch in Estonia’s upcoming local elections

The 2021 Estonian local elections will be unprecedentedly fractured and may portend major changes to the small northern European nation’s electorate. Despite the rhetoric, most campaigns seek to address everyday concerns.

October 15, 2021 - Samuel Kramer

Azerbaijan in partnership with Turkey and Pakistan braces for the looming geostrategic phantasmagoria

Azerbaijan’s decade-long balanced foreign policy between Russia and the West took a decisive turn after last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh, highlighted by a greater emphasis on military alignment with an increasingly assertive Turkey. Ankara and Baku also came together to shape a nucleus for tripartite configurations with countries in different parts of the globe – Pakistan being an essential one to build a solid international base for supporting Azerbaijan’s cause on the Karabakh issue.

October 7, 2021 - Mahammad Mammadov

Covering up tragedy and the myth of the Great Patriotic War

As the successor state to the Soviet Union, Russia’s great power status is arguably dependent on the legacy of the Great Victory and a sense of moral superiority. Any challenges to Russia’s status as victor and liberator in the Second World War, including an overemphasis on the Soviet Union’s failures or the high number of deaths, could potentially damage Russia’s sense of identity and geopolitical ambitions.

September 30, 2021 - Jade McGlynn

Duma non-elections. A carnival of dirty tricks

The course of this year's Russian State Duma elections demonstrates that the Kremlin has finally abandoned the pseudo-democratic game of appearances. In the coming years, a further tightening of the screws is likely. However, instead of complete control over the political system, the government may face a radicalisation of the social protest mood.

September 27, 2021 - Maria Domańska

What is the final destination for Ukraine’s NATO/EU path?

Prior to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the White House, there were a number of statements, innuendos and high hopes. Lots of efforts were taken by the Ukrainian side to have this long-awaited meeting happen despite current geopolitical challenges. But how is Ukraine prepared to access NATO/EU structures now? Will this meeting have a positive impact for Ukraine on its Euro-Atlantic integration path?

September 23, 2021 - Christine Karelska Pavlo Vugelman

The Titanic is sinking. Is this the end of the Putin-Lukashenka tandem?

The relationship between the two longest-serving European presidents has always been riddled with not-so-inconspicuous power-wrestling, wrapped in a narrative of brotherhood and sprinkled with cosy photo-ops. Up until recently, both leaders enjoyed relative stability on their own political turf, allowing them to manage their bilateral relations from positions of strength.

September 22, 2021 - Agnieszka Widłaszewska

Journalism is becoming an increasingly dangerous profession in Georgia

Media freedom in Georgia has had a turbulent history. It is worth remembering the raid on the Imedi TV station by special forces and its closure during the Saakashvili era, or the year-long dispute over ownership rights of Rustavi 2. However, there has never been a simultaneous physical attack on over 50 media employees like the one on July 5th. Is the freedom of speech under serious threat in Georgia?

September 14, 2021 - Wojciech Wojtasiewicz

Constitutional reform process in Belarus: recent trends and developments

Constitutional reform is a hot topic in and outside of Belarus. Two approaches are currently underway: one led by Alyaksandr Lukashenka and another by the opposition, led by Sviatlana Tsikhanouksaya.

The need for change to the Belarusian constitution was announced long before the events of 2020, and both Alyaksandr Lukashenka and the opposition have initiated a process after the election. The opposition has emphasised the need for changes to the constitution by the political crisis while Lukashenka’s initial interest in constitutional reform was two-fold: to calm the protests and to assure Russia that he can maintain control over the situation. Based on an official proposal recently announced, the changes proposed by Lukashenka’s constitutional commission do not encompass substantive change to the existing non-democratic model, making it even more bureaucratic and slow.

September 12, 2021 - Hanna Vasilevich

Pashinyan, the defeated winner

There is no doubt that Nikol Pashinyan was able to connect emotionally with a section of Armenian society. The repetitive use of the slogans “you are all prime ministers”, “you decide your own future”, “it is all the previous regime's fault” has enabled Pashinyan to quickly win the hearts and minds of the Armenian public. While all these tactics certainly helped Pashinyan to win this snap election, his real achievement was to make Armenians forget about the recent war.

In 1945, Winston Churchill showed the world that winning the Second World War was not enough to get re-elected. More than 70 years later, Armenia has taught another lesson. In June 2021 Nikol Pashinyan, who came to power after the 2018 Velvet Revolution, despite a heavy defeat in Nagorno-Karabakh, managed to win in the snap elections and was confirmed as prime minister. With this victory, Pashinyan was able to falsify the long-standing assumption that losing Karabakh means losing power. How was this possible?

September 12, 2021 - Tatevik Hovhannisyan Tiziano Marino

Radiophobia. Why the fallout of unscientific myths from Chernobyl still prevail

Despite the fact that the scientific evidence that emerged early after the Chernobyl disaster points out that the direct health effects from radiation is greatly exaggerated, the media continues to promote an unscientific and harmful narrative. The fallout of these myths from the Chernobyl accident fell on the fertile soil of radiophobia, and (post) Soviet secrecy has led to a capitalisation on this inherent fear by the entertainment industry and news media.

One recent scientific study shows once again what had been known to most insiders for years: in the prestigious journal Science, a team of western researchers examined the genetic health of children close to the Chernobyl liquidators (the people who were sent to remove substantial parts of radioactive fallout from the explosion and whose heroism is undisputed). What the researchers found might come as a surprise to the broader public: the genetic health of these children was in no way worse than in the general population. In other words, no statistically significant increase in mutations was found in the offspring of those most heavily affected by the accident.

September 12, 2021 - Michael Richter

Russian Duma elections. How promising is the smart voting strategy this time?

This month, United Russia hopes to retain its absolute majority in the State Duma during elections held between September 17th and 19th. Once again, the opposition is trying to make things difficult for Vladimir Putin and his allies by using a “smart voting” strategy. This strategy may have its problems, but it has already caused some headaches for the Kremlin.

September 9, 2021 - Gijs Willem Freriks

EU and national law: which is ‘superior’?

Ongoing disputes between the EU and some its member states are deeply rooted in the problematic relationship between EU law and national constitutional orders. Whilst the general public remain unaware of these issues, lawyers do not intend to resolve them.

August 10, 2021 - Michał Jerzy Dębowski

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