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Tag: politics

A triumphant referendum?

Russian officials and state media outlets have called Russia’s recent vote on constitutional amendments a “triumph”. What does the result tell us about the state of Russian society? How did Russians living abroad vote? According to official data, Russians living in the Baltic states voted in favour of the amendments to the constitution at a higher rate to Russians living in Russia or Russians living in other EU countries. Why was this?

On July 1st Russia’s nationwide voting on constitutional amendments – designed primarily to give the current Russian president, Vladimir Putin the opportunity to remain in power until 2036 – came to an end. According to Russia’s Central Electoral Commission, more than 57.7 million voters, or 77.92 per cent of those who voted, supported the amendments, while 15.7 million, or 21.27 per cent, voted against it. The turnout, according to official reports, reached almost 68 per cent.

September 7, 2020 - Olga Irisova

Who is behind the plot to topple the Latvian parliament?

What started as a justifiable reason for protest was quickly hijacked by a handful of individuals looking to profit from the growing polarisation in Latvian society. A proposal by several anti-establishment political groups on November 14th last year called for the dissolution of the national legislature. It was at that point when it became clear that the groups had started a movement that would cause an unprecedented rift in civil society.

There exists a very common misconception in modern-day Latvian politics that all political conundrums can be solved by the most radical expression of civic action one can find within a democracy. However the idea of a movement pushing towards dissolving the national parliament, which is very popular, is flawed to the core and has the potential to stir up domestic and regional politics to an unprecedented level.

April 7, 2020 - Ričards Umbraško

Moldova (re)balancing its foreign policy

For the time being, Machiavellian principles dominate Moldova’s foreign policy. With pressure from the European Union targeting the rule of law and the need to find material benefits, the current Moldovan ruling elite is heading to the widest doors.

Since the first days of independence in 1991, the political class in Moldova has chosen to tie the country’s foreign policy to a bifurcated East-West orientation. This is reflected in the state’s governance as leaders constantly search for quick fixes from the outside. Thus, this geopolitical oscillation has become a modern Moldovan political tradition with the foreign policy dichotomy as a sort of "trademark" used to quickly interpret, not always accurately, public perceptions or the conduct of the political parties by observers both at home and abroad.

April 6, 2020 - Denis Cenusa

Grim reality after a colourful revolution

The left-wing government that came to power in North Macedonia after the 2016 mass protests is facing new challenges. Symbolic politics is significant for showing that the new North Macedonia is indeed a country for all, but it may not be enough. What the citizens want, first and foremost, is a functioning state.

When you use a water pistol filled with paint as a weapon against the government no one takes you seriously. The situation changes, however, when tens of thousands of enraged fellow citizens join you in this fight. This is exactly what happened when Macedonian citizens succeeded in overthrowing the nationalist government that had been in power for a decade. They wanted to put a stop to corruption and the mafia connections but also set up extremely high demands for the Social Democrats who have gained power. The new government brought along a change in the name of the country – now called North Macedonia – and long-awaited freedom, but also many disappointments.

April 6, 2020 - Aleksandra Zdeb

A crisis in Georgia’s politics

Georgia’s parliamentary elections are scheduled for October this year, and they will be held in the face of great politico-economic instability. The level of social dissatisfaction is at a record high, but there seems to be no easy alternative to the Georgian Dream.

It would be difficult to find a more telling symbol of Georgia’s continued political tensions than the green fabric that covers the fence surrounding the square around the Georgian parliament building and which has become a billboard for both anti- and pro-government graffiti. The fence was set up in January this year. Officially, it was explained that the fence was erected because of renovation works which were needed to fix the destroyed sections. Yet it is impossible not to have the impression it was meant to halt the continuation of protests that were taking place in front of the parliament.

April 6, 2020 - Mateusz Kubiak

Thinking in dark times

An interview with Roger Berkowitz, Professor of Political Studies and Human Rights and Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities at Bard College. Interviewer: Simona Merkinaite.

April 6, 2020 - Roger Berkowitz Simona Merkinaite

Talk Eastern Europe 33: Ukraine reshuffles the government

In the latest Talk Eastern Europe podcast Adam and Maciek open the episode with a discussion on how the coronavirus situation is developing in the Eastern Partnership countries. They also highlight one small bit of good news in recent days, despite all the bad news that has been dominating the headlines.

March 27, 2020 - Adam Reichardt Maciej Makulski

The rise, death and rebirth of Eesti 200

The remarkable story of Estonia 200 gives hope to similar political initiatives in the region. Reaching out to the country's increasingly alienated Russophone community, the party showed maturity and pragmatism.

March 13, 2020 - Samuel Kramer

History as a battleground: What’s next in Russia’s constitutional reform?

Earlier this year, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin proposed a range of sweeping constitutional changes to ensure a favourable power transition scenario for the country’s leadership. The reform would also allow Kremlin-linked historians and policy advisers to introduce an alternative, politically advantageous narrative of the Second World War, as the past takes on increased significance in legitimising the regime.

February 18, 2020 - Anastasiia Starchenko

Riigikogu election – what lies ahead for Estonian democracy in 2019?

With just over a week to go before the first round of Estonia’s 2019 elections, the country’s political scene seems to remain unshaken, with the two largest parties likely to swap shares of their parliamentary seats. Potential electoral success for nationalists may, however, give them significant political leverage with which to shape a new coalition government.

February 21, 2019 - Adam Wylegalski

Nord Stream: The narrative of a new Molotov–Ribbentrop pact?

The debates that took place on the first Nord Stream pipeline exemplify the politically detrimental consequences that can arise from the misuse of the past for political gains. Carefully analysing the context and history of the comparison shows that Polish politicians are not trapped in memories of the past, rather they have developed tools to play on their audience’s sensitivity to its own history.

History appears in various shapes within the public debate. Though not a Polish specificity, the Polish political sphere offers fertile ground for memory studies. History can be the object of public policy, as in the ongoing debate on the 2018 amendments to the 1988 Act on the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN law).

November 5, 2018 - Francis Masson

Moldova’s odd couple: Plahotniuc and Dodon

In recent months, the Moldovan parliament passed two bills which aim to change the country’s electoral system. It now seems ever more likely that Moldova will adopt a mixed electoral model and increase the chances of Vlad Plahotniuc, an oligarch (who is the wealthiest and most influential man in Moldova) and leader of the biggest pro-European party in the ruling coalition, to stay in power after the planned 2018 parliamentary elections. Time and again, Plahotniuc has found support from his formal rival – the leader of the pro-Russian socialists, President Igor Dodon.

June 1, 2017 - Kamil Całus

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