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The war in Ukraine as a test for “Global Britain”

The United Kingdom has been one of the most prominent supporters of Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24th. There is a broad elite consensus behind the UK’s hard-line position towards Russia and strong public backing for its support for Ukraine. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been eager to emphasise Britain’s leading role in providing military and diplomatic support to the country, seizing the opportunity to try to shift the national conversation away from a series of domestic scandals.

July 14, 2022 - Alex Nice

The ghosts of Poltava

In May 2022, as a result of Russia’s renewed war of aggression against Ukraine, Sweden broke its long-standing official position of military non-alignment and applied to join NATO. The success of this application will depend very much on the goodwill of Turkey. While this whole situation will seem very odd to the casual outside observer, there is an interesting historical backstory that connects Sweden, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

July 14, 2022 - Matthew Kott

Germany still struggles to understand its Eastern neighbours

The full-fledged Russian invasion of Ukraine has deeply shocked Germany and its political elite to the core. Ukraine and the West expected Berlin to step up and show leadership in this war. But has anything changed substantively in German foreign policy and its intellectual and institutional ability to handle this invasion? The answers are mixed and disappointing to many in Ukraine and Europe.

July 14, 2022 - Mattia Nelles

As Russia invades Ukraine, Israel walks a diplomatic tightrope

When Russian troops crossed the Ukrainian border on February 24th, Israel found itself in a dilemma. Faced with western pressure to pick sides, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid stressed that they had to act to preserve their freedom of action in Syria. The Israeli Air Force has long carried out airstrikes against Iranian and Hezbollah targets with the tacit permission of Russian forces stationed in the country.

July 14, 2022 - Sam Sokol

The war that brought back the eternal Bulgarian dispute

The war in Ukraine for Bulgarian society is what Donald Trump was for the United States and Brexit for the United Kingdom – a quake that divided society. Bulgaria became a member of the European Union in 2007, but never managed to part with two definitions of itself. One is that it is the poorest and most corrupt country in the EU, and the other is that it was the most loyal satellite of the Soviet Union. These labels continue to influence Sofia's policy and largely explain the political changes in the country since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

July 14, 2022 - Krassen Nikolov

A referendum in the shadow of war

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shifted international attention away from yet another referendum in Belarus. Like all the previous ones, these reforms significantly change the Belarusian political landscape, while giving Alyaksandr Lukashenka even more influence and power.

A long-debated constitutional referendum was held in Belarus on February 27th. It had only one question: do you accept the new constitutional amendments? An alternative version of the constitution was put forward by the country’s democratic forces outside of Belarus called “The People's Constitution”. However, this was not even considered by the state working group. Despite an official invitation to all citizens to participate in public debate and suggest proposals, it became obvious that only those changes proposed in line with the regime's vision would be considered and adopted by Minsk.

July 14, 2022 - Hanna Vasilevich

The geopolitics of hospitality

The arrival of millions of Ukrainian refugees in Poland has resulted in an unprecedented humanitarian response from groups and individuals in Polish society. Yet the actual geographies of refugee reception differ significantly from their instrumentalised geopolitical representations by state leaders.

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Poland has received over 3.5 million arrivals from Ukraine according to the latest UNHCR reports. This is an exceptional number, and the country became, in the space of one month, the state with the second largest refugee population in the world, lauded domestically as well as internationally for its outpouring of support.

July 14, 2022 - Luiza Bialasiewicz Natalia Barszcz

The political psychology of war

Political ideologies are influenced not only by socio-demographic factors, but also by psychological variables such as personal needs, social identity processes and information processing. It is difficult to give a simplistic answer as to why people follow the ideological constructs of lies. The rejection of information, the instrumentalisation of the media and the erasure of dissenting voices, as well as the creation of confusion and fear, create weaponised narratives aimed at undermining civilisation and the personal as well as cultural identity of the opponent.

The current Russian war in Ukraine raises many questions about the human willingness to use violence and especially so when the justifications for war are based on false and fabricated claims. Systematic manipulation and ideological indoctrination have been clear parts of Vladimir Putin's leadership style for quite some time now. He has almost perfected the tactics of psycho-political governance. This is accomplished through certain tactics and mind tricks that mobilise people to support the war or even participate in it.

July 14, 2022 - Rasan Baziani Raze Baziani

From emperors to refugees: Russian emigration to Armenia and Georgia

Moscow’s war in Ukraine has not only forced millions of Ukrainians to flee their home country but has also led hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens to seek exile abroad. Among the most popular destinations for Russians are two South Caucasian republics: Armenia and Georgia.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February, several hundred thousand Russians have fled the country. Some sources even estimate that more than one million Russian citizens have already gone into exile. Among them are some of the country's biggest celebrities, such as Alla Pugacheva, who settled in Israel, and music stars like Face and Zemfira, who both moved abroad out of fear of persecution for their anti-war activism.

July 14, 2022 - Svenja Petersen

The mission of journalists is to reveal the truth

An interview with Mykola Semena, a Ukrainian journalist originally from Crimea. Interviewer: Anna Efimova

ANNA EFIMOVA: You are a passionate advocate for the Crimean Tatars, the indigenous Crimean ethnic minority who were deported to Central Asia and Russia in 1944 for collaboration with the Nazis. You witnessed their resettlement to Crimea during perestroika. What was your role as a journalist at that time?

MYKOLA SEMENA: At that time, I was editing and writing for a Simferopol newspaper. At the peak of Crimean Tatar resettlement in Crimea, the situation was so complex. Crimean Tatars are closely linked to the history of the peninsula. Their agriculture and folk crafts laid the foundation of the Crimean economy, they had a developed material and intangible culture. However, till the end of the 1980s, their history was suppressed by Soviet propaganda.

July 14, 2022 - Anna Efimova Mykola Semena

What Russia needs most is cash for bombs

An interview with Piotr Woźniak, former president of Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG), Poland’s largest gas company. Interviewer: Mykola Voytiv

MYKOLA VOYTIV: If we look at prices and the war, what do you think awaits the European gas market?

PIOTR WOŹNIAK: The sharp rise in natural gas prices was caused by increased demand from the European Union in November and December 2021 – Russia expected this and prepared by not pumping natural gas into underground gas storages in the Netherlands, Austria and Germany. Russia’s aggression in Ukraine only intensified this dynamic. Keep in mind, that natural gas prices are a relative concept. Whilst some are fixed in bilateral contracts for gas supply, such as Russian natural gas, natural gas from the Norwegian continental shelf, or LNG, others are priced in line with European energy exchanges and hubs.

July 14, 2022 - Mykola Voytiv Piotr Woźniak

The ghosts of past wars live on in Russia’s Victory Day

Victory Day has become the main secular holiday in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It is also an occasion for the government to showcase Russia’s military might and rally people around the flag. This year, the authorities used the celebration to bolster public support for the war in Ukraine, which they described as a necessary measure designed to "denazify" the country and prevent an imminent attack on Russian soil.

“Here in Leningrad people were dying of hunger during the blockade. We don’t want that to happen again,” says 31-year-old Valery. He was explaining the reasons why he supported Russia’s “special military operation” against Ukraine. Valery was among the tens of thousands of people who took to the streets of St. Petersburg to celebrate May 9th, or, as it is called in Russia, Victory Day.

July 14, 2022 - Oleg Smirnov

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