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COVID-19 – a crash test for the Belarusian system?

The sudden surge in infections is quickly changing life in Belarus, turning earlier calmness into tension and uncertainty.

April 20, 2020 - Maxim Rust

Talk Eastern Europe Episode 34: Pandemic, power and Putin forever

This episode takes an in-depth look at the political developments in Russia and analyzes the changes that were made in order for Vladimir Putin to stay on as president of the Russian Federation for at least another two terms.

April 11, 2020 - Adam Reichardt Maciej Makulski

Putin is not eternal (with coronavirus or not)

Playing the role as the nation’s leader, Vladimir Putin paid a visit to the Kommunarka hospital in Moscow, the place where those infected with coronavirus are being treated. Just six days later the head doctor of the hospital, Denis Protsenko, announced on Facebook that he had contracted the virus.

April 9, 2020 - Paulina Siegień

How to respond to Putin’s undeclared war

The readiness to view the conflict in Ukraine as a kind of civil war because Russia never openly declared war goes beyond what strategists in Russia had hoped for. In the western part of Europe, a lack of knowledge about our continent’s history of the last century clearly plays into the hands of the Kremlin. Six years on, it still needs to be made clear that Putin is waging war against Ukraine.

In late February 2014 the Russian incursion into Ukraine began on the Crimean Peninsula. By February 23rd, then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had disappeared from Kyiv. With his flight, Vladimir Putin’s man in Ukraine evaded accountability for the lethal use of force against the pro-European protesters on the Maidan during the Revolution of Dignity. The Kremlin’s propaganda machine portrayed Yanukovych’s escape to Russia and the subsequent instalment of an interim president by the Ukrainian parliament as a fascist coup d’état.

April 7, 2020 - Rebecca Harms

Does Zelenskyy have a strategy for managing the Donbas conflict?

The road to peace in Donbas has not appeared smooth and straightforward, as had been expected by President Zelenskyy and his team. The emphasis on humanitarian issues cannot neglect the security situation on the ground nor the unchanged role of the Kremlin.

An attack initiated by representatives of the breakaway territories near Zolote, a town in the Luhansk Oblast, in the early morning of February 18th of this year could dramatically change President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his team’s conflict perception. What has been announced as the biggest separatist offense since 2018 naturally clashes with the pacifistic and human-oriented approach of Kyiv’s new leader. But further developments and statements have shown that we can expect no real change in either rhetoric or tactics.

April 7, 2020 - Hanna Shelest

The challenge of reintegration

A secure reintegration policy for Donbas should include two dimensions: de-occupation and strengthening of national cohesion. Every political step that emphasises one dimension of reintegration at the expense of the other jeopardises the security of those involved and thus the foundations for a sustainable political dialogue.

Rebooting the peace process and reuniting Ukraine – these lofty promises are the mainstay of the presidency of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy since his election last year. In this spirit, during the first so-called Unity Forum held on October 30th 2019 in Mariupol, Zelenskyy introduced three crucial steps on how he sees the process of bringing the occupied territories back to Ukraine: ceasefire, reconciliation and safe reintegration.

April 7, 2020 - Igor Mitchnik Tim Bohse

Evolution of an identity

The war has destroyed and continues to devastate Donbas. A majority of the region’s residents have no place to work or means to make a living. One way or another, these circumstances are forcing those who can afford it to abandon the region. Yet I know that even now there are many in Donbas who consider themselves Ukrainian. Unfortunately, they cannot openly express their beliefs.

I was born in Donetsk in the late 1960s and have lived here all my life. My views of Donbas and its people have been shaped for over decades and they have not changed much in recent years. However, in the first year of the Russian military aggression into our land I began to understand, for the first time, how difficult it is to explain some of the circumstances of our Donbas life to people, even though to us living here these things are quite simple and understandable. With this remark, I would now like start my essay, or rather a discussion, about the self-identification of the people of Donbas during the war.

April 7, 2020 - Volodymyr Rafeenko

Donbas veterans establish their place in Ukrainian society

An interview with Anton Kolumbet, the (former) first deputy minister for veteran affairs in Ukraine. Interviewer: Kateryna Pryshchepa
KATERYNA PRYSHCHEPA: A report recently published by the International Organization for Migration states that Donbas war veterans often face difficulties with access to services and benefits they are formally entitled to. In addition, they also face conflict situations in society. Is it possible to change these tendencies by legal means, or is there a need for information campaigns?

ANTON KOLUMBET: The problem stems from the fact that the current social guarantees and services for war veterans in Ukraine are still regulated by the law adopted in 1992. That law basically replicates the norms of Soviet legislation regarding the Second World War and Afghan war veterans. In the USSR the state was the principal property owner and the manager of social services: under our current free market economic conditions, some of those old benefits simply cannot be offered by the state anymore.

April 7, 2020 - Anton Kolumbet Kateryna Pryshchepa

Borders might be closed, but our policies need to be open

Today, while the entire world is affected by the ongoing SARS-COV-2, Europeans are, more than ever, together in their fight. Our borders might be closed, but our hearts, minds and policies should stay open, especially to those who need help and solidarity the most.

April 1, 2020 - New Eastern Europe

Stay home. Stay safe. Read NEE

In an effort to help cope with the ongoing Coronavirus situation, New Eastern Europe has prepared a special page that will be updated regularly which includes recommended readings from the archives, latest commentaries and news and featured podcasts.

March 30, 2020 - New Eastern Europe

Coronavirus in the Eastern Partnership states (updates)

New Eastern Europe is providing an update on the situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the Eastern Partnership states. Each have enacted certain policies aimed at minimising the spread of the infection. Below we give the current status of these policies as well as an updated number of reported cases by country.

March 16, 2020 - New Eastern Europe

History as a battleground: What’s next in Russia’s constitutional reform?

Earlier this year, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin proposed a range of sweeping constitutional changes to ensure a favourable power transition scenario for the country’s leadership. The reform would also allow Kremlin-linked historians and policy advisers to introduce an alternative, politically advantageous narrative of the Second World War, as the past takes on increased significance in legitimising the regime.

February 18, 2020 - Anastasiia Starchenko

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