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A shining city on a hill. What if anything can American values teach a free Belarus?

The United States may not be the best model for a fledgling democracy looking for fresh values. America's values have never been as pure as its rhetoric, and

November 17, 2020 - George Blecher

Do European values still matter in Ukraine?

Politics in Ukraine is still not driven by ideas or ideologies, but rather by personalities and money. While on the pro-western flank there are at least

November 17, 2020 - Volodymyr Yermolenko

A country of grumblers? Hungarian values and how to misunderstand them

Are Hungarians ill-fated and determined to be incapable of overcoming their historical baggage? Some seem to think so, including some sociologists. Yet, it

November 17, 2020 - Réka Kinga Papp

A timeline, interrupted

The politics of today’s populist leaders is nearly always the eternal return to the past. 1989, however, represents a normative stop they would prefer to

November 17, 2020 - Mateusz Mazzini

We took our victories for granted

An interview with Vladimir Tismaneanu, a political scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park. Interviewer: Simona Merkinaite.

November 17, 2020 - Simona Merkinaite Vladimir Tismaneanu

Our common heritage

The region of today’s Central and Eastern Europe was mostly part of the eastern half of the Roman Empire. Its religion, writings, customs and traditions

November 17, 2020 - Jacek Hajduk

On Russia and resignation

In Russia, it remains unclear whether the current discontent will coalesce into a lasting challenge to the Kremlin. Both journalists and analysts tend to

November 17, 2020 - Natasha Bluth

A Belarusian clash of civilizations

It can already be seen that in regards to today’s Belarusians the political and state identity dominates over an ethnic and national identity. The

November 17, 2020 - Maxim Rust

Revolution in Belarus. Surprisingly female?

The unexpected female dimension of the Belarusian opposition has made it fresh, emotional and empowering. These three women who did not give up after the

November 17, 2020 - Olga Dryndova

In Belarus, national solidarity, not nationalism, leads the day

What unites the protestors in Belarus is not a devotion to the purity or glory of their “people”. Rather, it is their common attachment to ideals of popular sovereignty and fundamental rights shared by all citizens. What is happening in Belarus is very much a legacy of the French Revolution, which placed the figure of the oppressed citizen at the heart of the struggle against tyranny.

Protestors raise their nation’s historical red-and-white flag in the streets. Op-eds exult in Belarusian national poetry and history. And everywhere in this tiny ex-Soviet republic, there seems to be a surge of national feeling. For many westerners, who have become accustomed to reading about increasing nationalism in Europe and beyond, it may be tempting to assume that these are the gestures of yet another nationalist movement.

November 17, 2020 - Christian Gibbons

What happens to Belarus after Lukashenka falls?

The current Belarusian transformation looks as if it could be having results similar to those of the 2018 Velvet Revolution in Armenia rather than of the 2013-2014 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. Yet, the pathological relationship of Moscow’s imperialism towards Russia’s Eastern Slavic “brotherly nations” can mean that Belarus’s future may, in the end, become more similar to Ukraine’s rather than Armenia’s present.

Ukraine and Belarus are two of the culturally and geographically closest nations of Europe. Their Eastern Slavic languages, major Christian-Orthodox churches and peculiar locations between Russia, on the one side, and the European Union (as well as NATO), on the other, are comparable and intertwined. Both are, on one level, very close to the also largely Orthodox and Eastern Slavic Russians.

November 16, 2020 - Andreas Umland

Moldova’s oligarch mayors go global

The experience of Moldova reveals that in Central and Eastern Europe’s highly politicised and oligarchised environment, city diplomacy can be an easy tool for wealthy politicians suspected of corruption to gain more popularity and shield themselves from the judicial system. Ilan Șor and Renato Usatîi have been particularly adept in this realm.

Orhei, a medium-sized city about an hour north of Chișinău, is an unlikely rival to Monaco. Yet mayor Ilan Șor – one of the country’s oligarchs – promised in 2018 that Orhei’s residents would “live as they do” in the European principality. Farther north, in Bălți, mayor Renato Usatîi – yet another oligarch – claimed to have started a revolution in the city’s contacts with the world.

November 16, 2020 - Cristian Cantir

China’s footprint in Ukraine: a breathing space between Russia and the West

With so much of Ukraine’s foreign policy dominated by the theme of pursuing a multi-vector balance between Russia and the West, China’s rise as a player in Eastern Europe has not been without implications for Kyiv. The Ukrainian government has inked agreements with Beijing in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative, yet has been reluctant to fully endorse China’s far-reaching economic activities.

Rising among Ukraine’s top foreign policy priorities is the geographically-distant People’s Republic of China – a country with which Ukraine’s relationship has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. For Ukraine, China is a valuable source of investment as well as a third-party actor in a foreign policy landscape traditionally dominated by the Euro-Atlantic community and the Russian Federation.

November 16, 2020 - Anthony Rinna

The Eastern Partnership enters a new decade

Despite all the input from numerous stakeholders, much remains to be seen in the future of the Eastern Partnership. The region has seen less than an ideal start to the new decade due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its multi-level implications for the EU and EaP countries.

If 2019 was dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership (or EaP), 2020 has an intriguing question at its core: where to go next? This question loomed over the EU and decision-makers, state officials. The policy details of this question will stay with us until at least the next EaP summit in March 2021.

November 16, 2020 - Pavel Havlíček

Clan war instead of fighting coronavirus and corruption

Chaos is probably the most accurate word to describe what has been happening recently in Kyrgyzstan. Political pluralism in this Central Asian state is so advanced that the Kyrgyz people find it difficult to understand who is currently seeing eye-to-eye with whom, who is against whom, and who calls the shots.

Nearly a month has passed since the October 4th parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan, but it remains unclear who is actually holding power in the country. There were as many as three individuals claiming the prime minister’s seat. President Sooronbay Jeenbekov announced that “as soon as the situation stabilises” he would be ready to step down. After the resignation of subsequent Supreme Council speakers, two of the deputies argued which one had the right to preside over the Supreme Council (the country’s parliament).

November 16, 2020 - Ludwika Włodek

Prisoner’s Voice – Oleh Sentsov

This interview was conducted as part of the #PrisonersVoice project of Internews Ukraine. The project aims at drawing global attention to Ukrainian political prisoners who were or are still being kept in Russian prisons. Download the free #PrisonersVoice application for your mobile or tablet on AppStore or GooglePlay to learn more.

November 16, 2020 - Oleg Sentsov Tetiana Matychak

Prisoner’s voice – Oleksandr Kolchenko

This interview was conducted as part of the #PrisonersVoice project of Internews Ukraine. The project aims at drawing global attention to Ukrainian political prisoners who were or are still being kept in Russian prisons. Download the free #PrisonersVoice application for your mobile or tablet on AppStore or GooglePlay to learn more.

November 16, 2020 - Oleksandr Kolchenko Tetiana Matychak

The power of Ukrainian youth

Young Ukrainians tend to put the values that are related to their lives first. These include family, health, well-being and love. They also value clear conscious, service to the homeland and having open debates on social issues. Over half declare that they feel responsible for the future of their state and want to contribute to it.

The first 25 years of independent Ukraine is already behind us. In attempts to help understand the changes that have occurred over this time, there are countless political, economic and social analyses, commentaries, recommendations and prognoses. The vast majority of them have referred to this period as one of wasted opportunities. In our research, which we have been carrying out in this regards, we focus on the role the youth has played in the democratic transformation and its future potential.

November 16, 2020 - Natalia Dolgopolova, Anna Surkova, Kinga Anna Gajda, Alina Meheda

Armenian Syrians. From one war to another

Syrian refugees, who left their homes because of the war, are risking their lives trying to get into countries neighbouring Syria, as well as to Europe. More than 20,000 went to Armenia – the vast majority as descendants of Armenians who fled the massacres at the beginning of the century in today's Turkey. They lived there peacefully until another conflict re-erupted.

Today, Yerevan is full of new flavours and fragrances. While walking along its streets, one cannot help but notice Middle Eastern smells coming from the new restaurants and bars. In the urban landscape more and more Arabic-language signs can be observed: “Aleppo shop”; “Syrian cuisine” (next to the usual ones in Armenian or Russian). This Caucasian capital has been increasingly permeated by Middle Eastern influences caused by the complicated history of the Armenians nation, and wars.

November 16, 2020 - Magdalena Chodownik

The fleeting memory of December 1970

In December 1970 violent riots broke out in the Polish cities of Szczecin and Gdynia, while in Gdańsk strikers surrounded the seat of the Polish United Workers’ Party. Clashes with militia erupted and the central committee of the communist party decided to brutally quell the rebellion. These events became an important founding myth for the struggle against the communist authorities. Fifty years later, how are these events remembered?

In December 1970, 14 years had passed since Wiesław Gomułka became the first secretary of the communist party in the People’s Republic of Poland. At that time, both the thaw of 1956, which allowed Gomułka to return to power, and hope for reforms that he promised (the so-called Polish way to socialism) were already a fading memory. It was not the right moment for a nostalgic journey to the past. And with Christmas just around the corner, everyone was busy stockpiling goods that were hard to come by.

November 16, 2020 - Piotr Leszczyński

The line between politics and friendship

A review of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism and Twilight of Democracy. The Failure of Politics and the Parting of Friends. By Anne Applebaum. Publisher: Penguin/ Allen Lane, London, 2020.

November 16, 2020 - Simona Merkinaite

Spies not like us

A review of Shadow State. Murder, Mayhem and Russia’s Remaking of the West. By: Luke Harding. Publisher: Guardian Faber, London, 2020.

November 16, 2020 - Adam Reichardt

Belarus at sea

A review of Апошняя кніга пана А. (Mr A.’s Last Book). By: Alhierd Bacharevič. Publisher: Januškievič Publishing House, Minsk, Belarus, 2020.

November 16, 2020 - Tomasz Kamusella

Ukraine’s “learning” revolutions of 1990, 2004/05 and 2013/14

A review of Three Revolutions: Mobilization and Change in Contemporary Ukraine, Volume one. Edited by: Paweł Kowal, Georges Mink and Iwona Reichardt. Ibidem Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany, 2019.

November 16, 2020 - Ostap Kushnir

Serbia’s and Croatia’s struggles with the past

A review of Współczesna Serbia i Chorwacja wobec własnej historii (Contemporary Serbia and Croatia facing their own past). By: Tomasz Stryjek. Publisher: Scholar, Warsaw, Poland, 2020.

November 16, 2020 - Grzegorz Skrukwa

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