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Category: Articles and Commentary

Dark clouds over Azerbaijan

A decade after the times of “Caviar Diplomacy” when Azerbaijan would buy up support from the delegates of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the mood among European politicians has turned a full 180 degrees. The Azerbaijani delegation was excluded from the sessions for a year by a clear majority of the votes for the “persistent violation of norms and standards of the institution” and a lack of cooperation with PACE. Is this the beginning of the end of Baku’s participation in the Council of Europe?

April 17, 2024 - Anna Zamejc

The “Deceased Hope”: on the death of Alexei Navalny

Boris Nemtsov, the indomitable Russian regime critic, died on February 27th 2015 after a pernicious assault on his life, yet the Putin regime survived his violent death almost unscathed. Will Alexei Navalny's untimely death also pass by without any serious consequences for Russia's ruling establishment?

April 12, 2024 - Leonid Luks

Another Russia is possible

When Putin is finally gone, a majority of the elite and population will want Russia to return to Europe. Europe should facilitate that. There is a massive generational shift currently underway in Russia. These people are open to the outside world, western culture and are independent of the Russian state and Soviet ideology. That shift is closer than people think and the world needs to be ready. That is where the next battle will take place and it is one the West could lose.

On an alcohol-fuelled Zoom catch up, my friends and I put the world to rights. The usual suspects came up: sports, holidays, our kids, women and politics. Before we knew it, the conversation turned to the elephant in the room: the war. Eyebrows were raised, deep breaths exhaled and shoulders shrugged. A couple of heads were scratched. What more can we say? How much guilt should we feel for something we did not personally choose, support or want? We abruptly moved on, but exactly one week later Russian forces recaptured Avdiivka. They had the wind in their backs.

April 11, 2024 - Jesse Sokolov

Three Seas Initiative goes beyond abstract regional concept

The idea of an alliance between the countries of Central and Eastern Europe has remained a popular theory over the past century. Despite this, outside actors have kept such an idea from becoming reality. The Three Seas Initiative of today possesses the potential to truly realize this coalition in testing times.

April 10, 2024 - Jozef Hrabina

Ukraine’s strategic resurgence: redefining power dynamics in the Black Sea

While reports from Ukraine have remained focused on the land war, the fight at sea continues with little respite. The country’s successes in the naval battle have come against all the odds and should only encourage allies to beef up support for Kyiv’s victory.

April 9, 2024 - Leon Hartwell

Belarus and Russia: not in one but different baskets

In spite of their shared desires to challenge the status quo, the Belarusian and Russian oppositions do not always see eye to eye. This is largely the result of a continued assumption that Belarus is uniquely tied to its larger neighbour. The status of Belarusian exiles in the EU today subsequently depends on the recognition of these differences.

April 8, 2024 - Hanna Vasilevich

Democratic backsliding and democratic resilience in Slovakia

As Slovaks head to the polls to vote in the second round of their country’s presidential election there is more at stake than the appointment of a new head of state. With the opposition and civil society united, Fico’s government could face a serious setback to its plans to capture more of the state.

April 5, 2024 - Roman Hlatky

Russia: weaponizing democracy to better fight the West

Russia ditched democracy as not fit for the country’s needs. As a result, the Kremlin identified elections and relatively brief terms of office as the system’s weak points. Since the 2010s, Moscow has learned how to use the openness of the internet and democracy for destabilizing the West. It costs little and brings huge returns. The Kremlin has successfully weaponized democracy for attacking Europe and North America.

April 3, 2024 - Tomasz Kamusella

The growing dangers of European radical populism for Europe and Ukraine

The populist challenge in Europe now appears everywhere across the continent. Questioning the continent’s liberal-democratic norms, these forces are particularly hostile to continued aid to Ukraine. Overall, it appears that several key personalities are leading the charge in this regard.

April 2, 2024 - Joshua Kroeker

Central Asia gains prominence in European Union strategy

Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the importance of Central Asia to the EU has become increasingly clear. Now represents an opportune moment for Brussels to strengthen a relationship that could greatly benefit both regions in the future.

March 29, 2024 - Janusz Bugajski

Azerbaijani presidential elections: reasons and possible implications

Azerbaijan’s recent presidential elections reveal a great amount about the country’s current political outlook. While the timing of the vote may be related to potential internal reforms, a possible peace agreement with Armenia remains the country's top priority on the global stage.

March 26, 2024 - Murad Muradov Rusif Huseynov

How was NATO won? Assessing Poland’s record in NATO after 25 years

Alongside several of its neighbours, Poland recently celebrated a quarter of a century in NATO. Seen as a means of ensuring the country’s transition to democracy, membership of the Alliance has allowed Warsaw to become a key player in European security. Despite this, it is clear that real challenges lie ahead.

March 25, 2024 - Wojciech Michnik

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