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Tag: geopolitics

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

Turkey: A littoral middle power?

When Turkey's relationship with the Black Sea is viewed through the lens of geopolitics, it becomes clear that Russia will never be far away.

October 13, 2020 - Abdulmelik Alkan

Will China’s facemask diplomacy pay off?

China has recently engaged itself in Central and Eastern Europe. Its influence in the region may become even stronger as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Central and Eastern Europe’s location is strategically very attractive – geopolitically and economically. That is why Washington has often called this region a pivot area, a term popularised by the late Zbigniew Brzeziński. With a large part of the region now part of western integration structures (especially NATO), the Kremlin sees it as a threat to its spheres of influence. Thus, the language of Russian strategists includes phrases such as the “American cordon sanitaire” or (alternatively) the “Western Limitrophe”.

September 7, 2020 - Jakub Bornio

COVID-19 not to spare Eastern Europe from great power competition

Despite official pleasantries on overcoming COVID-19 together, the pandemic still has not instilled a spirit of good faith co-operation between global actors. The crisis, to the contrary, has accelerated, exacerbated, and laid bare rivalrous trends that pre-dated its existence. While there is little reason to hope that the countries of Eastern Europe will be spared from this competition of great powers, the changes will be less profound than it might first seem. Europe, Russia, China and the United States will, in particular, be the outside players to watch.

July 7, 2020 - Alena Kudzko

Post-COVID Eastern Europe: Equation with many unknowns

From the very early days of the global COVID-19 pandemic, discussions about how it will change the world began. The overwhelming majority of commentators of international affairs believe that Europe (and the rest of the world) will be a completely different place than before the coronavirus. Although the social and economic consequences of the pandemic are already obvious, it is definitely too early to tell that the crisis will fundamentally change the international political order and the way the economic system will be organised.

July 7, 2020 - Wojciech Konończuk

Bracing for impact. Shifting geopolitics in the South Caucasus

For the three countries of the South Caucasus, the sudden emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has reconfigured domestic politics, reordered policy priorities and recommitted each government to respond to the overwhelming crisis in public health. For Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the urgency of managing the immediate crisis will soon be matched by the equally daunting task of ensuring economic recovery and enabling social repair.

July 7, 2020 - Richard Giragosian

Eastern Partnership in times of coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic affected global markets in a very similar way to the 2008 financial crisis. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the 2020 outlook does not project three per cent growth anymore, but a sharp contraction of the same number (minus three per cent), which will be worse than the loss in 2008.

July 7, 2020 - Péter Stepper

Georgia and COVID-19. The miracle of social and institutional resilience

Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, some forecasts on Georgia’s prospects were apocalyptic – everything could have gone wrong. Although Georgia is ranked lower and lower each year (which, in this instance, means improvement) in the Fragile State Index since 2008, many had doubts if the conjunction of several factors would allow this small country in the South Caucasus to manage the incoming crisis effectively. While more than 40 per cent of the population still lives in mountainous, isolated areas, a robust inflow of tourists to the capital city as well as sea and ski resorts could have had a serious impact on the dynamic of the pandemic.

July 7, 2020 - Beata Górka-Winter

A reality check for the realists

Putin’s behaviour is not just an inevitable consequence of the fact that Russia is a great power – it is a combination of post-Cold War historical grievances and a zero-sum conception of the world that positions Russia in permanent opposition to the West.

During the third US presidential debate in 2012, then President Barack Obama mocked his opponent, Governor Mitt Romney, for a remark he had made several months earlier: “When you were asked what is the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia. Not al-Qaeda – you said Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.” This joke got a lot of traction among Democrats who cited Romney’s comment about Russia as evidence that he was clueless about the modern challenges the United States faces around the world.

July 7, 2020 - Matt Johnson

Talk Eastern Europe Episode 40: Will COVID-19 bring a new world order?

Our experience with the coronavirus demonstrates that pandemics know no borders. Nearly every country has been affected. The economic crisis that continues to take a toll on societies shows that more than ever solidarity and global solutions are needed for global problems. Will the COVID-19 pandemic force humanity to rethink the international system and global order? Can future crises be averted by better global coordination and a more robust system?

June 11, 2020 - Adam Reichardt Maciej Makulski

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