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What’s next for Ukraine’s oligarchs?

Ukraine’s oligarchs have established themselves as an independent component of the socio-political and economic system, whose lack of interests has become impossible in current times. The challenge for Volodymyr Zelesnkyy is how to confront the influence of the oligarchs. Current developments suggest three scenarios between the oligarchs, the new political elite, and civil society.
The collapse of the Soviet Union opened up opportunities for Ukraine to implement economic reform, democratise state institutions and shape the country around liberal values. The experience of post-war western democracies appeared as successful cases for Ukraine since the collapse of the USSR.

January 28, 2020 - Anton Naychuk

God, luck and Viktor Orbán

Over the last ten years, Hungary has become a textbook example of systemic corruption and clientelism in the heart of the European Union. Yet despite the fact that EU institutions have developed a wide range of tools, they could barely curb Viktor Orbán’s regime with regards to its feudal system of corruption.
In order to understand the nature of Viktor Orbán’s regime in Hungary, it is worth reading the classic Hungarian novel Relatives by Zsigmond Móricz. Móricz tells the story about a fictional town that is a hotbed of systemic corruption and a clientelist network of provincial nobility between the wars in Hungary. After 30 years since the democratic transition, its thesis about feudal dependency applies to contemporary Hungary more than ever: “In a certain way, everybody depends on the government.”

January 28, 2020 - Edit Zgut

The Swedish Academy and Peter Handke: Justice for whom?

Austrian writer Peter Handke was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature. The award renewed a debate surrounding this author – his ardent support for Serbia and Slobodan Milošević, who was the Serbian leader in the mid-1990s – and puts the integrity of the Swedish Academy into question.
On December 10th 2019 the well-known Austrian author Peter Handke, received the Nobel Prize for Literature. A number of ambassadors from the Western Balkans boycotted the ceremony, as did Peter Englund, a historian and former secretary of the Swedish Academy. Kosovo declared Handke persona non grata. The controversy is about Handke’s position on Serbia. He is accused of supporting the regime under Slobodan Milošević or even genocide denial.

January 28, 2020 - Joanna Hosa

The poisonous apple

Access to information is a fundamental human right and it has helped build the sovereignty of nations. In the years to come, the concept of “information sovereignty”, advocated by Moscow or Beijing, may turn the tide and damage democratic empowerment. Central and Eastern Europeans should care for their own information sovereignty, but in the first place we should get it right.

In autumn 2018 Poland was celebrating its 100 years of independence. On that occasion the European Solidarity Centre and private television station, TVN24, organised a televised discussion with historians who reflected on the significance of reinstating sovereignty. Timothy Snyder, the American historian and author of Bloodlands, spoke at large about the many dimensions of the concept, and invoked the notion “information sovereignty” – a collective effort to establish free media as well as developing countermeasures to push back against aggressive disinformation campaigns from Bolshevik Russia. Information warfare was as present and real a danger back then as it is today; except that wireless meant mostly long wave radio broadcast.

January 27, 2020 - Wojciech Przybylski

The role of a journalist in the age of disinformation

Information aggressors, especially the Russian Federation, are not “reinventing the wheel”. They use existing mechanisms. Journalists and the media, regardless of the provenance, are the first on the “information front” in the war over people’s hearts and minds. They have a choice: ignore or refute this fact or accept their role as a key element in state security and the information space.

The Russian aggression against Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 introduced a new type of warfare which has proved very effective in the digital era. This new type of war is no longer aimed at taking over territories or resources, but rather influencing human behaviour. It involves non-kinetic activities, which are undertaken in cyber space and are cheaper than traditional methods, but – most importantly – more effective when applied towards western societies which are largely unprepared for this kind of hostile actions.

January 27, 2020 - Adam Lelonek

Putin’s reinterpretation of history is absurd

An interview with Marcin Przydacz, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. Interviewer: Michał Potocki.

January 27, 2020 - Marcin Przydacz Michał Potocki

Russia’s geopolitical greetings for 2020

In orthodox Russia, New Year's Eve precedes Christmas. The Julian calendar, still promoted by the religious authorities, sets Christmas at January 7th. In consequence, between December 24th and January 1st, when Europe and the United States are enjoying the pleasures of family gathering, Russia is still very much active.

January 6, 2020 - Cyrille Bret

What kind of Ukraine does Russia want?

The characteristics of the Russian state point to what it hopes to achieve with regards to Ukraine.

December 20, 2019 - Valerii Pekar

Five things to know in order to not freak out over the upcoming Putin-Lukashenka meeting

This weekend, the Union State of Russia and Belarus marks its 20th anniversary, which the authorities decided to celebrate with a supposedly historical meeting. Despite the prolonged history of the project, the Union State has never become a shadow of what it was meant to become upon its establishment.

December 6, 2019 - Yahor Azarkevich

Another chapter in the Belarusian-Russian integration process 

Interview with Anna Maria Dyner on the regional context of the upcoming meeting between presidents Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Interviewer: Iwona Reichardt.

December 6, 2019 - Anna Maria Dyner Iwona Reichardt

Identity politics is nothing new

A conversation with Francis Fukuyama, professor, writer and public intellectual. Interviewer: Maciej Makulski

November 13, 2019 - Francis Fukuyama Maciej Makulski

A cold summer in Russia. A new wave of repressions and the rise of solidarity

The scale of repression in Russia is now more serious and terrifying than in 2012. At the same time, the Russian public has become more mature and fearless. Independent groups of lawyers provide free legal advice, journalists and activists defend human rights, and various crowdfunding campaigns provide financial assistance to those detained. As a result, prisoners feel encouraged even when they face the brutality of the system.

This summer was marked with a series of unprecedented political protests in Moscow, which started on June 12th and finished on September 29th. First, Russian citizens demanded justice for investigative journalist, Ivan Golunov, who was absurdly charged with the possession of an illegal substance with intent to distribute. Golunov was released days after the charges as a result of pressure from journalists, human rights activists and protesters on the streets of Moscow.

November 13, 2019 - Artem Filatov

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