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Tag: Russia

Russia’s Blitzkrieg has become Blitzfail. Conclusions from the first days of the war

Just four days have passed since the beginning of the active phase of war. Yet, we can already sum up some conclusions.

February 28, 2022 - Valerii Pekar

We should not have let Putin become what he is today

An interview with Linas Linkevicius, the former minister of foreign affairs of Lithuania. Interviewer: Vazha Tavberidze

February 26, 2022 - Linas Linkevičius Vazha Tavberidze

A response to Leonid Ragozin’s “Putin no longer fears a democratic Ukraine”

Debate continues over whether or not Putin is specifically worried about Ukraine’s ongoing attempts at reform. Whilst democracy in the country is flawed, the situation on the ground is by no means as bad as suggested by certain writers.

February 23, 2022 - Luke Smith

Could Transnistria become the next victim of Russian aggression?

Ongoing tensions over Ukraine have the potential to greatly impact other flashpoints in the region. This is most clear with regards to pro-Russian Transnistria, which lies less than 100 kilometres from Odesa.

February 21, 2022 - Katarzyna Rybarczyk

The promise of the Eastern Partnership is not dead yet

In the context of the current crisis with Russia, can the European Union’s Eastern Partnership be able to recover some of the promise it had at the time of its founding? To what extent can it change without change inside the EU itself? Certainly, what the EU needs is not hard power but a hard edge.

In the midst of the greatest security crisis to engulf Europe since the height of the Cold War, the sixth summit of the EU’s Eastern Partnership on December 15th last year might easily be dismissed as a non-event. Whilst relations between Russia and the six members are a matter of high drama across Europe, the partnership attracts no more attention than a non-speaking part in a play. Provocative and discordant on most subjects, the international commentariat has no difficulty agreeing on one thing: the partnership’s irrelevance.

February 15, 2022 - James Sherr

Imperial mania. The road to the third empire

Growing Sino-American rivalry has directly influenced Vladimir Putin’s plans to restore Russia’s sphere of influence in our part of Europe. In order to create the country’s third empire, Putin needs to concentrate on three states: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Of the three of these countries, the most important is Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden has continued to pursue a China-focused foreign policy ever since his election victory in 2020. This pivot to Asia is clearly not the only legacy from the previous Donald Trump administration. During the first decades of the 21st century, America’s increasing focus on China and the challenge of a potential war in South-East Asia influenced US foreign policy in other regions of the world, including Central Asia and Central and Eastern Europe.

February 15, 2022 - Paweł Kowal

Is today’s Russia a “USSR 2.0”? Putin wants us to think so

The West’s lack of inner cohesion, slow reactions and a preference for dialogue provide the Kremlin with a chance to effectively play its own game. Putin surely discovered a long time ago that bluffing and good brinkmanship are enough for the West to do everything to prevent conflict. There is only one condition: it must believe that Putin's Russia is a “USSR 2.0”.

“I think that’s right,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on January 9th when asked by CNN if he agreed that Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to restore the Soviet Union. “I think that’s one of President Putin’s objectives, and it is to re-exert a sphere of influence over countries that previously were part of the Soviet Union.” This is exactly what the Russian president would like the West to believe. Whilst the head of US diplomacy was making this statement, Russian-American negotiations were about to start in Geneva.

February 15, 2022 - Agnieszka Bryc

Ukrainian democracy in action. Why a successful strategy to counter authoritarianism includes Ukraine’s membership in the EU and NATO

Whilst Ukraine continues to struggle with various internal issues, its ongoing reforms have sent a clear message regarding its desires for western integration. The EU and NATO must now recognise Kyiv’s ambitions and respond in an equally enthusiastic manner.

February 15, 2022 - Hanna Hopko

The Eurasian Dream. In the pursuit of splendour

Throughout the last 500 years, Russia has looked for different concepts with which it can strengthen its greatness and image of prestige. The ideology of Eurasianism is a relatively modern example of just one of these inspiring concepts, with the belief directly influenced by various intellectual and political legacies throughout the country’s history.

The history of Russia, apart from being the story of a nation, is by no means simply a tale of intriguing people desperately seeking greatness above all. However, striving for exceptionality remains a key feature of many national outlooks. As a Pole, I am at least partially aware of how often my fellow countrymen praise Polish history and its significance, exaggerating our achievements and showing off before the rest of the world. I believe such grand rhetoric is at least partly based on a nation’s genuine struggle for its place and identity.

February 15, 2022 - Grzegorz Szymborski

Revisiting the 2008 Russo-Georgian War can offer lessons for today

An interview with Ekaterina Tkeshelashvili, Georgia’s former minister of foreign affairs, deputy prime minister and state minister for reintegration. Interviewer: Jakub Bornio

JAKUB BORNIO: I would like to start with the NATO Summits in Bucharest (2008) and Strasbourg/Kehl (2009). Back then, the Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Georgia and Ukraine was rejected. At the same time, both countries were promised that they could become members of the Alliance at some point in the future. Do you interpret these events as a success or rather a failure?

EKATERINA TKESHELASHVILI: Bucharest was a crossroads. The decisions made at Bucharest were not simple ones and have to be looked at from various perspectives. A coin always has two sides. Two aspects are particularly important. First is timing. This was the first time when, in a consolidated way, the government of the United States really pushed for a Membership Action Plan for both Georgia and Ukraine. This generated and strengthened support from the allies. However, this was not true for all, particularly those concerned with the deterioration of relations with Russia.

February 15, 2022 - Ekaterina Tkeshelashvili Jakub Bornio

Crimea has returned to the heart of Ukraine, now it must return to its body

An interview with Anton Korynevych, Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Head of the Office of the Crimea Platform. Interviewer: Tomasz Lachowski

TOMASZ LACHOWSKI: Some time has already passed since the inaugural summit of the Crimea Platform, which took place on August 23rd 2021 in Kyiv. This initiative can be interpreted as a new mechanism of international co-operation designed to return the issue of the Russian occupation of Crimea to the international agenda and, hopefully to create in the future a framework for the de-occupation and reintegration of the Crimean peninsula into Ukraine. What is your interpretation of this event?

ANTON KORYNEVYCH: I am really pleased with the course of the summit of the Crimea Platform and its direct results. However, at the same time, I fully understand that this was only the first step, which, needless to say, took a lot of time and many efforts on the part of the Ukrainian authorities. It should be emphasised that the summit gathered an unprecedented number of representatives of various states and institutions. Precisely, to remind our readers, 46 international partners took part in this event.

February 15, 2022 - Anton Korynevych Tomasz Lachowski

Between nationalist propaganda and recognition of minority victims: the Russian interpretation of the Second World War

A conversation with Sergey Lukashevsky, director of the Sakharov Center in Moscow. Interviewer: Kristina Smolijaninovaitė

KRISTINA SMOLIJANINOVAITĖ: The Sakharov Center as we know deals with the history of Soviet totalitarianism as part of its mission to promote freedom, democracy and human rights. It once held the exhibition “Different Wars” by the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, which concerned conflicting memories of the Second World War across different parts of Europe. That war often serves as a focal point for collective memory on fascism or imperialism and is therefore a key reference point for defining national and regional identities. It also helps to remind people of the ideals of peace and respect for human lives. So how relevant is the remembrance of the Second World War in your country today? One underlying question also concerns the choice of narrative, with the specific ideals of the Great Patriotic War contrasting with the more general Second World War.

SERGEY LUKASHEVSKY: I do not think that there is generally any real remembrance of the Second World War, but rather of the Great Patriotic War. Basically, one can describe it in just four sentences: 1) The Great Patriotic War was fought by the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany; 2) this conflict was the bloodiest and most destructive episode of the Second World War; 3) the Soviet Union triumphed over Nazi Germany, in a war that left millions of people dead, wounded or crippled, with major destruction in all parts of the Soviet Union where the war took place; and 4) due to this, remembrance is considered relevant nationwide.

February 15, 2022 - Kristina Smolijaninovaitė Sergey Lukashevsky

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