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Analysis

A crisis in Georgia’s politics

Georgia’s parliamentary elections are scheduled for October this year, and they will be held in the face of great politico-economic instability. The level of social dissatisfaction is at a record high, but there seems to be no easy alternative to the Georgian Dream.

It would be difficult to find a more telling symbol of Georgia’s continued political tensions than the green fabric that covers the fence surrounding the square around the Georgian parliament building and which has become a billboard for both anti- and pro-government graffiti. The fence was set up in January this year. Officially, it was explained that the fence was erected because of renovation works which were needed to fix the destroyed sections. Yet it is impossible not to have the impression it was meant to halt the continuation of protests that were taking place in front of the parliament.

April 6, 2020 - Mateusz Kubiak

Putin’s ideas for 2024

Vladimir Putin’s push for constitutional changes is likely a way to stay in power. But will they be enough to convince the society which is growing more discontent with the current stagnation?

January 31, 2020 - Agnieszka Legucka

A real game changer in the region

The economic diversification and growing relations with actors other than Russia presents both great opportunities and challenges to the Eastern Partnership states. This includes deepening economic ties with the European Union, but also with China and Turkey. Meanwhile, the outlook for Russia regaining its influence in the region, or at least halting this trend, looks bleak.
In the last few years, several countries participating in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership programme have been working to deepen their economic relationship with the EU, as well as with Turkey and, to a lesser extent, China. These changes in economics will have long term geopolitical consequences. Overall, they come at the expense of Russia’s interest, which remains influential but will be unable to halt the changes with its own economic tools. This is why the Kremlin will try to promote its interests by any means necessary, including force.

January 28, 2020 - Adam Balcer

The intervention in Kosovo revisited. Twelve lessons for the future

The 20th anniversary of the NATO campaign in Kosovo, which led to the beginning of a long process of state-building, was recently commemorated. Yet it is worth recalling what led to the campaign and understanding the lessons of its aftermath which are very much relevant today.
In 1999, NATO launched an 11-week air-campaign to halt the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Kosovo. The intervention in Kosovo is arguably one of the most important events in contemporary history. It was the first time NATO operated outside its territory and the first sustained use of force since its establishment in 1949. Furthermore, it was the first time that force was used to enforce UN Security Council resolutions for the purpose of halting crimes against humanity.

January 28, 2020 - Visar Xhambazi

Illegitimate election observation and conflict resolution

The observations of illegitimate elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples’ Republics in 2014 and 2018 by far-right and far-left European politicians serve the purpose of augmenting the number of actors and dimensions of a conflict with the aim of protracting any conflict resolution process. What is more, these elections violate the sovereignty of the state, since they take place in areas not recognised by the international community.
Politically-motivated election observation, noted in the post-Soviet region since the beginning of 21st century, aims to provide a counterbalance to assessments of international missions working on the basis of transparent methodologies and long-term observation. The political observation is also extended to elections in separatist regions of the former Soviet Union, where it is used to influence the conflict resolution processes.

January 28, 2020 - Daria Paporcka

Shadow of a bear. How Viktor Medvedchuk turned from a marginal man into a grey eminence in Ukraine

Since the collapse of communism, Viktor Medvedchuk has been a prominent face in Ukraine’s political scene. His higher ambitions, however, have never come to be realised. He is now back in the parliament raising new questions of a political comeback.

On August 29th 2019 the first session of the new Ukrainian parliament since the July elections was convened. Now, the majority of the Verkhovna Rada is held by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People party which holds 254 of the 450 seats. The second largest fraction is the pro-Russian Opposition Platform – For Life; with 44 deputies, it cannot pride itself on having much influence. As a matter of fact, neither can any of the other opposition parties.

November 13, 2019 - Petro Bilian

Uncertainty and risk in Lukashenka’s times

The last 25 years in Belarus should not be seen as a period of development that was based on some predetermined plan. Rather it is a story of maintaining power, local successes and the failures of one man.

The history of a country can be divided into periods of growth and decline, euphoria and insecurity, crises and rebuilding. In Belarus, however, the past 25 years can be described as the time of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Yet, a true picture of this period is much more blurred and nuanced. It is therefore difficult to make a clear, one-sided, assessment of the last quarter century and call it a period of decline or growth.

November 13, 2019 - Andrei Kazakevich

The downfall of a captured state

In June this year Moldova ended its one-party rule and political deadlock when a pragmatic coalition of pro-democratic and pro-Russian forces took power. This coalition now faces a series of challenges, which puts justice reform and anti-corruption as the top priorities. Realistically speaking, however, to deliver any substantial outcomes the government is going to need time, support and stability.

Moldova has produced an unexpected, though much welcomed, democratic recovery after it disembarked from the oligarchic-centred political system in June 2019. The unequivocal recognition by the major powers – the European Union, the United States and Russia – was certainly instrumental in helping Moldova overcome its political deadlock. The Socialist Party and the ACUM bloc of pro-democratic forces have, for now, put aside their geopolitical differences and agreed to govern together.

November 13, 2019 - Denis Cenusa

New president, old authorities

Kazakhstan’s presidential election on June 9th was a breakthrough. It was the first election in the history of the young country where the main candidate was not Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had ruled Kazakhstan for almost 30 years. The country’s new president is Qasym-Jomart Toqaev, a long-time diplomat and confidant of Nazarbayev.

“I have made a difficult decision for myself – to resign from the powers of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.” It was a historic moment when Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his resignation live on TV on March 19th 2019. He made an unusual decision for a region where presidents tend to die in office rather than resign. This step came by surprise for many at that time but had been in preparation for years.

November 13, 2019 - Othmara Glas

Lord of the flies. Power struggles on Central Asia’s island of democracy

With its unique political model, Kyrgyzstan, in a region full of autocratic regimes, is sometimes called an “island of democracy”. This reference, however, does not imply full ascension of democracy.

Kyrgyzstan is often understood to be the only democracy in Central Asia. A transfer of power has happened here more often than its neighbours. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have witnessed replacement at the top following the death of their respective rulers; in Kazakhstan, the presidential change happened this year with the approval of its long-serving president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who, as an aksakal , still retains significant political power; Emomali Rakhmon has been ruling Tajikistan, unchallenged, since the mid-1990s, when he rose to power after political turbulences and a bitter civil war.

November 13, 2019 - Rusif Huseynov

Overcoming challenges with innovation. Capacity building in Ukraine

From the very beginning, the European Union’s Support Group for Ukraine has focused on governance issues, for which it has mobilised close to 300 million euros in support between 2015 and 2019. With this and the deployment of other resources, the EU is closely involved in the implementation of key reforms. A lot has been accomplished, but many challenges lie ahead.

Five years ago Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity signalled the beginning of an extraordinary period of change. This included the enormous reform programme initiated with the signature and implementation of the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA) with the European Union. After decades of stalemate, this alignment to western and often specifically European standards, rules and structures was a particular challenge to Ukraine’s institutions, some of which had remained largely unchanged since the times of the Soviet Union.

November 13, 2019 - Berend De Groot Maria Maslowska Peter M. Wagner Stefan Schleuning

All is not quiet on the eastern front

A fateful combination of geopolitical facts has made Ukraine and Georgia key to the success of the Kremlin’s strategic goal of imperial resurgence, which apparently can only be achieved by controlling the fate of these two nations. Consequently, Georgia and Ukraine have become the primary targets of Russian aggression.

The world is rich with geopolitical hot spots right now. Iran, the Levant, North Korea, the waters east of China – all provide credible risks of a major war. Sino-American competition is clearly a major international issue for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, multi-sided geopolitical struggle in the Middle East will certainly provide a plentiful supply of crises.

August 26, 2019 - David Batashvili

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