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Tag: Russia

Putin’s hold on Russia: the beginning of the end

The invasion of Ukraine has led many to reassess Putin’s decision making strategies. Once considered a highly rational player, the Russian leader now appears to possess a new outlook. This understanding of the world places culture and history above all.

May 24, 2022 - Joshua Kroeker

The war in Ukraine and historical revisionism

The Kremlin has been eager to draw parallels between its ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the Second World War. Stressing the idea that it is fighting Nazism much like in its “glorious” past, the country’s controversial ideology has been in development ever since Putin came to power.

May 23, 2022 - Armen Grigoryan

Russia is really not in a position to challenge the West and expand this war

An interview with Curtis Michael "Mike" Scaparrotti, a retired United States Army four-star general who served as the Commander of United States European Command and as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe. Interviewer: Vazha Tavberidze The war in Ukraine has entered its third month without a clear end in sight. The first phase of the conflict has come to an end with Russia’s withdrawal from its northern offensive and seemingly new objectives to focus more on the east and south of Ukraine. Aleksandr Dvornikov, the Russian general known as the butcher of Aleppo and Grozny, has been appointed the new supreme commander for Russia’s operations. At the same time, the West continues its steadfast support of Ukraine with new shipments of heavy defensive and offensive weapons. How will these new developments affect the state of the war? Georgian journalist Vazha Tavberidze recently sat down with retired US General Curtis “Mike” Caparrotti for his assessment.

April 27, 2022 - Curtis Scaparrotti Vazha Tavberidze

#UkraineUnderFire: A war diary

Imke Hansen is an international peace worker at the Sievierodonetsk field office of the Ukrainian NGO Vostok SOS. Together with her colleague Maksim, she has established a trauma-informed training system for war-affected people in the Luhansk region. She has shared her diary of the first weeks with us.

February 17th 2022
In the morning, the kindergarten in Stanytsia Luhanska was shelled. When Maksim told me, it felt like a punch in the gut. During the past two days, we had breathed a little sigh of relief; the diplomatic appeasements to Russia seemed to be working. Today's sudden shelling along the entire frontline exposed this as an illusion, as Russian disinformation policy. At noon, a school director called to request psychological help for the younger schoolchildren. There had been shelling there as well. In the past weeks, we already expected something to come.

April 25, 2022 - Imke Hansen

New habits of wartime: A view from the rear

It has been scientifically proven that 21 days are needed to form and strengthen a new habit. Unfortunately, Russia’s war against Ukraine has been going on long enough to force Ukrainians to adopt new habits. What are these habits and how do Ukrainians live in the relatively safe regions in the rear of the fighting?

Are Ukrainians used to the fact that there is a war in their state? How can one get used to war? Is it like going through all the stages of the Kübler-Ross model of grief, from denial through to anger, bargaining, depression and finally to acceptance? Actually, no. Every day, it is difficult to immediately know what the date or day of the week is without thinking. But we do know what day of the war it is exactly. Early in the morning of February 24th, a completely new calendar and way to tell time began for Ukrainians.

April 25, 2022 - Maria Protsiuk

Putin’s biggest mistake

I left behind the city I was born in, where I learnt to ride a bike and ice skate, where I finished school and where I had my first kiss. There, I also left my ambitions, my plans and a part of my soul.

I did not believe that this war would take place up until the very last moment. All arguments, expert opinions and pure logic had convinced me that it would not reach Kyiv. Yet, it did. It destroyed my life on February 24th at five o’clock in the morning. The worst part was the first phone call I received about half an hour later. It was my dad, who only said, “Pack up your stuff”. This meant that everything that was written in the media was real. It was not a dream, not a fantasy but my life here and now. This was my life, with Russian rockets that were destroying not only the nearby airport but also my future.

April 25, 2022 - Zoriana Varenia

Waiting for Fortinbras

A conversation with Oksana Zabuzhko, a Ukrainian writer and intellectual. Interviewer: Adam Balcer

ADAM BALCER: We are speaking in Warsaw after the beginning of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. This attack is in fact an escalation of a conflict that has been going on for the last eight years now. After the outbreak of a war we often hear questions as to whether or not it could have been prevented. Could we have stopped the aggressor in this case?

OKSANA ZABUZHKO: When it comes to Russia and its aggressive policy towards Ukraine I have been asking this question not for the last eight years but much longer. Back in the 1990s, I was an optimist and I was convinced that the world was going in the right direction. Francis Fukuyama proclaimed the “end of history” and the West had won the Cold War. It was believed that from now on we would only be getting richer and live in prosperity.

April 25, 2022 - Adam Balcer Oksana Zabuzhko

Putin’s fascism

Russia’s political system, officially known as “sovereign democracy” (suverennaia demokratiia), is nothing but a dictatorship along the lines of Lenin and Stalin’s democratic centralism. After all, the main goal is to re-establish a new Russian empire with Putin on the throne. Imperialism is this “new-old” ideology’s proper name.

During the past decade, the term “fascism” has become ubiquitous in Russia’s public discourse. The more that freedom of expression and freedom of the press have been curbed, the more the word “Nazism” has appeared in the country. The preferred form of both terms is that of a slur, namely “fascists” (fashisty) and “Nazis” (natsisty). In the West, this phenomenon has been largely disregarded as a peculiarity of the political language in present-day Russia. Arguably, it appeared to be nothing more than a rhetorical flourish. On February 24th, however, in a totally unprovoked move, the Russian president ordered his armies to invade peaceful Ukraine officially to “denazify” the country. A day later, he gave a bizarre speech in which he denigrated the Ukrainian government as a “gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis”.

April 25, 2022 - Tomasz Kamusella

The devastating long-term effects of sanctions against Russia

Vladimir Putin and his criminal war in Ukraine have returned the Russian economy back to the dark days of the early 1990s, with spiralling inflation, winding queues in front of banks and shops, stringent financial controls and a new wave of skilled Russian emigrants flowing out of the country. This crisis is only likely to get worse as Russia turns into a pariah state unpalatable for the world’s most technologically-advanced nations and enterprises.

As Vladimir Putin launched his brutal invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, a US-led coalition of like-minded governments launched their own economic barrage of sanctions against the Russian state, its largest companies and some of its most prominent individuals. The sanctions have focused on crippling Russia’s finances and its ability to pay for the war in Ukraine, as well as severing its military-industrial complex from strategic components. They have put a prohibitive lock on key Russian economic sectors like high-tech, energy and tradeables.

April 25, 2022 - Kiril Kossev

Why Russia has very little to offer

Driven by an imperial vision, Russia has always thought of itself as the centre of an empire. After all, it has often ruled over a huge multinational territory and was always militarily stronger than the people who inhabited its sphere of influence. The golden rule for any state holding an imperial vision of inter-state relations is to present itself as the “saviour” of others, and Russia is no exception.

To understand alliances and partnerships, as well as rivalries and conflicts between countries, we often refer to geopolitics and its rules. Attention to the geographical, historical, demographic and economic factors that influence relations between states must not, however, let us forget about the people on the ground. Any alliance or partnership of countries within a sphere of influence should be based on mutual gains for all human beings. Otherwise, it is logical, as well as legitimate, for people to try to circumvent and override the rules of geopolitics. This is exactly what is happening in Russia's European neighbourhood.

April 25, 2022 - Tatevik Hovhannisyan Tiziano Marino

Bearing witness. Despite repressions and state propaganda, the anti-war movement in Russia continues

As the war in Ukraine continues, questions have been asked as to the internal situation in Russia. Whilst the country’s burgeoning anti-war movement may not live up to outside expectations, its attempts to work around the Kremlin’s restrictions are inspiring new and unique forms of protest.

International critics often view the Russian domestic anti-war movement as helpless and doomed to fail. This might seem true as it does not comply with the West and Ukraine’s main expectation that it will start large-scale street protests capable of overthrowing Vladimir Putin’s regime. What often escapes the world’s attention is that there are no such opportunities for the Russian anti-war movement in the country’s political structure. It must first evolve in more sophisticated, symbolic ways to reach a point of numerical strength over time.

April 25, 2022 - Anna Efimova

Learning “history” with Putin

On February 21st, ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin delivered a state-wide history lesson on national television. Since then, the country’s youth has become a key target group for state propaganda. School education has often been considered an effective vehicle for perpetuating and disseminating Russian state propaganda among these young impressionable minds.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24th with Putin’s announcement of a “special military operation”. His announcement followed a speech he made on February 21st, in which he outlined his justifications for the recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions’ independence. He took his audience on a bizarre “history lesson”, first outlining the country’s founding, when Russia was more commonly associated with Kyivan Rus’ (yet Putin often omits the “Kyivan” aspect).

April 25, 2022 - Allyson Edwards

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