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Category: Issue 5 2022

Georgian Dream faces a critical moment

Georgia’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused controversy at home and abroad. Adopting an approach aimed at avoiding Moscow’s attention, the state has often been accused of effectively pursuing a pro-Kremlin outlook. Tbilisi must now take clear and effective steps to support Ukraine in order to win back the trust of its partners.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has already dramatically changed developments in Europe, has become closely linked with Georgia’s internal politics. The ruling Georgian Dream party has come under strong criticism from society many times due to their not necessarily clear position on, and lack of support for, Ukraine. Many even believe that if previously Georgian Dream tried to maintain a pro-western image, then the war in Ukraine has unveiled their real face in terms of being pro-Russian. In this critical period, the party managed to make Georgian-Ukrainian relations tense, with a diplomatic scandal erupting between the two countries.

September 29, 2022 - Nino Chanadiri

Germany as a bellwether for post-war European energy security

The interdependence between Russia and Germany has also created geopolitical and security concerns for the EU. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germany needs to now understand that domestic and European energy security are intertwined. There are several measures that Germany can adopt in order to address this energy security dilemma in the short and long term, taking into account geopolitical circumstances at the EU level.

Three days into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a Zeitenwende – a turning point in the history of East-West relations. His speech in the Bundestag was meant to mark a generational change in German foreign policy towards Russia. When Chancellor Scholz declared that Germany would, in a gradual process, dramatically reduce its dependence on Russian energy supplies, it launched a debate among German policymakers that has reverberated across Europe. While the goal is apparent, to extricate Germany from Russian energy dependence with minimal economic trauma, there is still no consensus on how to achieve this.

September 29, 2022 - Ismet Fatih Čančar Marc Ozawa

Building back greener: a roadmap for rebuilding post-war Ukraine

Ukraine can play an important role in the European Union’s energy transition. A green agenda should be prioritised as a part of Ukraine’s post-war recovery. Its integration into the EU’s energy market and energy transition priorities should become key targets not just for the EU, but for other external donors and international financial institutions.

Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine in February triggered a global energy crisis and has forced the European Union to speed up its vision for energy security. It has also broken down the barriers between energy security and climate policy. At the same time, Ukraine needs to review its own vision for energy security; as a candidate for EU membership it ought to enact binding targets to reduce its fossil fuel use. The EU’s climate target for 2030 was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than half compared to levels in 1990. This target is in line with the EU Green Deal objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

September 29, 2022 - Oksana Khomei

The Asian front of the war in Ukraine

In the Asia-Pacific region, political and diplomatic actions to isolate Russia by the West are complicated. This is because it is unclear what the United States and the European Union can offer to the many troubled countries in search of cheap raw materials, foreign investments and technology. Washington and Brussels need to realise that the Ukrainian game is played on a global level and requires a much greater effort.

The invasion of Ukraine is generating global consequences that will have a long-term impact on the regional order and the geoeconomics of the Asia-Pacific. In particular, the protracted conflict is causing a deterioration in the economic situation of many South and Southeast Asian countries, which are still trying to recover after two years of the pandemic. The rising cost of raw materials, especially energy commodities, coupled with the blocking of exports of Ukrainian and Russian products, has fostered the emergence of huge trade deficits and soaring inflation throughout the region. The shock was so severe that it even triggered a series of economic crises that quickly turned into political ones undermining regional stability.

September 29, 2022 - Tiziano Marino

Sovereignty kills. Lessons learnt from the war

An interview with Andrey Makarychev, a visiting professor at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu in Estonia. Interviewer: Maciej Makulski

MACIEJ MAKULSKI: Would you agree that the region has lost a sort of stability and predictability that it has enjoyed for over 30 years (with significant turbulence though in 2008 and 2014)? Or was it only an illusion of stability in which people wanted to believe?

ANDREY MAKARYCHEV: Of course, the security landscape in this part of Europe has drastically and dramatically changed. I think the changes are very much related to the fact that we, in Europe, have lost many of the illusions that were inherited from a relatively peaceful and very liberal mindset from the beginning of the 1990s. First of all, this relates to the way we understand security. There were many expectations that security would transform from its military version into something softer and more related to issues such as people’s well-being, environmental protection and climate change, etc.

September 29, 2022 - Andrey Makarychev Maciej Makulski

Contemporary left in Georgia

A conversation with Bakar Berekashvili, Georgian political scientist and sociologist. Interviewer: Veronika Pfeilschifter

VERONIKA PFEILSCHIFTER: Thinking about today’s left in Georgia, how can we characterise it and who promotes left ideas in Georgia, in your view?

BAKAR BEREKASHVILI: First of all, I believe that we must analyse the left in Georgia in two dimensions: the left in the field of political parties and the left outside of it. In the political field, when speaking about the left, the so-called mainstream political parties have power and resources that they use to dominate the political field. There is no leftist political party that considers positions that we can describe as left in today’s Georgia.

September 29, 2022 - Bakar Berekashvili Veronika Pfeilschifter

Forced into exile, young Russian activists continue the fight against the regime

The story of Liuba and Anzhela, two young Russian activists, shows that causes mobilising young people in Germany, Italy or Finland are just as much a concern to some young Russians. Yet as Russians, they are also fighting on several other fronts. The most important is the imperialism that their country is forcing on the world.

On a sunny May 8th in Berlin, the day before a highly contested Victory Day march, pro-Ukrainian activists set up stands and a small stage opposite the city’s Soviet war memorial. There is Ukrainian music playing and people walk around dressed in yellow and blue. A political activist speaks in Russian before the assembled crowd and a woman next to her translates into German.

September 29, 2022 - Cristina Coellen

Women will shake and reverse public opinion about this war

An interview with Liliya Vezhevatova, a coordinator of the Feminist Anti-War Resistance in Russia. Interviewer: Anna Efimova

ANNA EFIMOVA: According to recent research by the Russian human rights project OVD-Info, more than half of Russian protesters are women. How have feminists, who have never been a leading public and social force in Russia, managed to unite against the war in Ukraine?

LILIYA VEZHEVATOVA: Feminist organisations have been burgeoning in Russia over the last two decades. Activists have been deeply involved in internal and external discussions. However, we were not treated seriously during this time. We subsequently remained intact as the war started, while prominent Russian political activists were either in prison or in exile. We mobilised fast at the right time – our movement started on February 25th.

September 29, 2022 - Anna Efimova Liliya Vezhevatova

Modern Europe – forged in the Gdańsk Shipyard

In recent years Polish collective memory has become too focused on the military traditions of freedom and independence fighters. This approach overlooks the thinking and achievements of the 1970s and 1980s, which were the result of peaceful social movements. By opting for non-violence, the ten-million-strong Solidarity movement, Solidarność, chose a difficult, but in the end effective, path.

The historic Gdańsk Shipyard is one of the most important memory sites in Europe today. It is a complex that includes Solidarity Square, alongside the Monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1970, the historic Gate Number 2, the former BHP Hall (a place where in 1980 the famous August Accords between the communist authorities and the democratic opposition were negotiated) and the European Solidarity Centre (ECS). Upon the ECS’s initiative the shipyard was placed on the European Heritage Label list.

September 29, 2022 - Basil Kerski

The unfin(n)ished story of the Baltic alliance

From the region’s perspective, the 1922 Warsaw Accord between Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Poland was a significant step in strengthening geopolitical interests and safeguarding against Russian aggression. Unfortunately, the agreement ultimately failed. This year’s ratification by Finland’s parliament of its application to join NATO can be seen as a final step in this process that began over 100 years ago.

The most promising and – to a certain degree – surprising declaration made by Finland on its interest in joining the NATO Alliance immediately reminded me of the so-called Warsaw Accord. This treaty was drafted 100 years ago on March 17th 1922 and embodied the initiative of a Baltic alliance between Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Poland. Anti-Soviet in nature, cooperation ultimately failed due to reservations expressed by Helsinki. In the summer of 1922 the Finnish parliament – Eduskunta – decided not to ratify the pact. A century later, on May 17th 2022, 188 out of 200 Finnish MPs voted on accession to NATO. The story has come full circle. A story which deserves to be told.

September 29, 2022 - Grzegorz Szymborski

From a fractious to uneventful relationship with the reluctant hegemon. German reunification from the Czech perspective

Czech-German bilateral relations have become stable and rather uneventful. Since the fractious debates of the 1990s on past injustices, diplomats of both countries have sought to find a robust common topic for discussion. Even though Prague is viewed by Berlin as a more or less unproblematic partner that oscillates within the desired margins of German foreign policy, Germany would prefer that Czechia presents clearer positions on grand European and global debates.

September 29, 2022 - Tereza Novotná Vít Havelka

A gap in Polish-German relations

Over 30 years have passed since Germany reunified and signed a pivotal agreement on bilateral affairs with Poland. Meant to signal the start of a new age of co-operation, the treaty’s spirit has nonetheless been challenged by numerous issues both old and new. A renewed agreement is now needed to build a shared future free from the ghosts of the past.

September 29, 2022 - Kinga Gajda

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