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Tag: politics

Towards a dissolution? Lex Inzko and the fight over history

The denial of the Srebrenica genocide is one of the biggest issues facing Bosnia and Herzegovina today. In this sense, the complete annihilation of a nation or an ethnic group requires the destruction of testimonies and memory as well. It is clear that without justice and paying tribute to the victims, peace cannot be achieved. And without peace, Bosnia and Herzegovina will eventually collapse.

In July 1995 in and around the town of Srebrenica the population of Bosnian Muslims was massacred by the military forces of the Bosnian Serbs under the command of General Ratko Mladić. Opinions on how to describe these mass killings differ between those who believe it was “only” a war crime and those who, in line with the verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, recognise it as a genocide. Evidently, Srebrenica’s history did not end with the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. In the post-war period it has been faced with a new challenge: the denial.

December 7, 2022 - Aleksandra Zdeb

Can Georgia get back on track?

The European Union’s recent decision to award candidate status to Moldova and Ukraine has left Georgia in a difficult position. Whilst eager to integrate with the bloc, the country still suffers from numerous political issues. Tbilisi must now take full advantage of all the tools available to it in order to not fall further behind.

Since the restoration of independence in 1991, Georgia has increasingly identified itself as part of the European family. Despite this, no real reciprocal steps have been taken by Europe to acknowledge these developments. Georgia has most often been perceived by Europe as part of its geographical periphery, somewhat separate from the continent. Since the formal establishment of the European Union in the early 1990s, Tbilisi’s dream of joining the EU has remained a utopian vision. The country has constantly been referred to as simply a “neighbour” of the EU.

October 3, 2022 - Beka Chedia

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

Can Georgia’s parliament get the country back on the European track?

Following a brief summer hiatus, the Georgian parliament is back in session. At the top of the list will be the reform efforts proposed by the European Commission.

September 21, 2022 - Mark Temnycky

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

EU resilience in the Eastern Partnership: what does the case of Georgia’s political crisis tell us?

The Eastern Partnership faces an uncertain future as the European Union cannot offer any viable alternative for the group’s best performers. EU resilience in the region is now under strain. Given the increasing global dominance of China and Russia’s aggressive foreign policy, will Brussels manage to remain a credible actor in the region?

The year 2021 was full of challenges for Georgia’s democratic future and its relations with its western partners. After the parliamentary elections in October 2020, Georgia entered a deep and protracted crisis that, as of writing, still haunts the country’s politics. Disagreements over the results of the elections led to deadlock in February 2021, when the police raided the headquarters of the largest opposition party to arrest its leader. Naturally, this raised concerns among local human rights advocates and democracy watchdogs.

February 15, 2022 - Shota Kakabadze

Russia’s young generation and the Soviet myth

Young people in Russia today generally possess a complicated relationship with the Soviet past. Having no direct experience of the communist state, this group continues to inhabit an uncertain middle ground with regards to historical understandings. The government makes everything more confusing as it continues to offer no clear alternative with regards to national identity.

September 2021 was marked by the elections to the State Duma in Russia. Of the 14 parties on the ballot, only five actually overcame the minimum five per cent threshold to gain representation in parliament. The country’s traditional “party of power” United Russia (UR) scored a record low of 49.82 per cent. Previously, the party had easily gained more than half of the votes and was for a long time the only party in a position to independently push through new bills in the Duma. Despite this recent shift, it does not seem like the situation has changed a lot in Russian politics. UR still achieved a greater number of votes than any other party and, consequently, the most seats in the Duma.

December 1, 2021 - Victoria Odissonova

Nazarbayev’s handmade political transition in Kazakhstan

The “Land of the Great Steppe” finds itself in a partial or even stalled transitory period, despite the departure of Nursultan Nazarbayev as president. At the same time, Kazakhstan has no choice but to continue to navigate between its Russian and Chinese neighbours, even if relations with both are deteriorating.

October 4, 2021 - Charles Fourmi Dylan van de Ven Gabrielle Valli Hubert-Felix Delattre

Is the Georgian Dream committed to democracy and European integration?

Georgia is currently undergoing a political crisis which has led to an unprecedented amount of European Union involvement in resolving it. The mediation of the crisis, led by the president of the European Council, has demonstrated how important Georgia had become for the EU. Yet, the government’s decision to completely annul the deal has sent signals that it may be deviating from its pro-EU path.

After coming to power in 2012, the Georgian Dream party officially set out to uphold democratic values and support Georgia’s European integration. However, after the signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union and obtaining visa-free travel for Georgian citizens to Schengen Area states, the Georgian Dream party soon started to display authoritarian tendencies as it harassed independent media and politicised the judiciary system in order to weaken the opposition. The party was utilised as a tool by its tycoon founder, Bidzina Ivanishvili, for adapting legislation to fit his personal business interests.

September 12, 2021 - Soso Dzamukashvili

Crisis like a dream

Georgia has been trapped in a political, economic and social black hole. It is affected by crisis after crisis. There is no prospect for improvement. Thus, at a certain point apathy may turn into social eruption.

For many months now Georgian politicians have been busy. After last October’s parliamentary elections, the ruling Georgian Dream and the opposition got themselves stuck in a months-long jam from which they could not escape. The opposition accused the authorities of rigging elections and they boycotted the parliament, while the ruling coalition downplayed the accusations and claimed the opposition was unable to accept defeat.

June 23, 2021 - Wojciech Wojtasiewicz

The Baltic states. Three peas in a pod?

The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are often together associated as a bloc, with a similar history, culture and politics. While there are some commonalities among the three countries, there are also some key characteristics that make them quite different from each other.

From the outside, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are usually viewed as one – “the Baltics”. However, their fates have only been intertwined during the last century. Prior to the end of the First World War, Lithuania had been closely connected with Poland, while Estonians and Latvians had been under Baltic German domination for seven centuries, no matter whether the ruling power was Sweden, Poland or Russia. Lithuanian and Latvian are the two surviving Baltic languages, whereas Estonian belongs to a completely different language family, together with Finnish and Hungarian.

April 11, 2021 - Andres Kasekamp

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