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Tag: Russia

From domestic abuse to Wagner’s sledgehammer: war as a product of systemic violence in Russia

Russian war crimes in Ukraine and the terror against people in occupied territories will go down in the history books. In a sense, the Russo-Ukrainian War is a clash of civilisations. Wartime politics has exposed the long-known yet startling truth about the low price of human life in Russia – a product of a deeply entrenched culture of violence. There is a direct link between the war in Ukraine and the political disempowerment of Russian society.

Both Ukrainians and EU citizens have been shocked by Russian war crimes, but equally shocking may be how Russia’s politicians and military leadership treat their soldiers. They are nothing more than cannon fodder, utilised in the name of Putin’s neo-imperial ambitions. Even more perplexing is the fatalism and the lack of resistance from conscripts sent to be slaughtered on the frontline, as well as from their families.

April 29, 2023 - Maria Domańska

How Putin turned Russia into a failed state

In 2014 Vladimir Putin and his propagandists did everything to convince the public that Ukraine was a failed state. By the end of 2022 the situation appears to have reversed. Over the last year, Putin has turned Russia into a failed state.

On August 6th 2022 a programme on the YouTube channel BesogonTV featured a story about a prisoner who died in Ukraine during the “special military operation” while he was simultaneously serving a sentence in a federal correctional facility in Russia. The next day, Russia-1, a state-sponsored TV channel, aired his story as part of its daily news programme.

April 29, 2023 - Anastasiia Sergeeva Andrei Nikolaev

February lasts a year

Despite some popular convictions, there are Russians who do not support their country’s war in Ukraine but decided not to leave. Instead, they are creating civil initiatives that help Ukrainian refugees who ended up in Russia. They also support their fellow Russians who are against the war and need assistance.

To attend a protest in Russia is today almost akin to suicide. This is especially true since the new law on discrediting the Russian army was passed last year. It stipulates punishment in the form of imprisonment for up to three years for those who dare criticise the ongoing war in Ukraine. In addition, another new law on spreading false information or fakes about the Russian army or volunteers who signed up for the war states that a person accused of such an act might get up to 15 years of prison.

April 29, 2023 - Victoria Odissonova

The historical advisors of Vladimir Putin

The decision to invade Ukraine was made by a tiny circle of people within the Kremlin. However, as it turns out, Vladimir Putin’s “advisors” have something unique in common with one another: they have been dead for hundreds of years. What does it mean for Putin, the war in Ukraine and the Russian standoff against the West, when the Russian president lets his actions be inspired and driven by historical precedent?

How many individuals does it take to decide upon invading a neighbouring country? After February 2022, the world learnt that you apparently do not necessarily need to consult a whole lot of people if you are intent on taking what is not yours. For sure, one could suggest that the fear of any leaks concerning your invasion plan could very well mess up your plans in the first place. Therefore, secrecy is a prime matter of recourse.

April 28, 2023 - Benjamin Looijen

Prospects and challenges for Central Asian states against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Central Asia has been known as a region that was for a long period of time incorporated into the Soviet Union and therefore influenced by Russia. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has undermined its reputation and presence in the region, and the emerging gap in trade and security is slowly being filled by China. How do these states manage such new shifts in geopolitics? And what trends may shape their outlook for the future?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has become a serious challenge for Central Asian states, which tend to consider Russia as their reliable partner in the security and economic spheres. However, Russian foreign policy treats Central Asia as an extension of its sphere of influence, which should be maintained by two international organisations led by Russia: the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).

April 28, 2023 - Danylo Stonis

Playing with the past: does the decolonisation of the history of Ukraine make sense?

The current approach to decolonisation as a topic represents a significant problem. In many cases, this issue stems from politicisation and ideological calls to decolonise the history of East Central Europe, which have nothing to do with a methodological, or academic discussion. Usually, the term East Central Europe has been replaced by Russia, Eastern Europe, or the ideological term Eurasia. In general, the rhetoric of decolonisation has been based on the assertion that Russia and the Soviet Union were colonial empires.

The German philosopher Jürgen Habermas recently stated that the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War is a moral crusade that can help the European continent redeem itself. However, this redemption has not yet been acknowledged by the European elite. On the contrary, the constant intellectual arrogance expressed toward Ukraine by Europeans has expanded, particularly in the field of history. In this respect, British historian Adam Tooze has suggested that today’s Russo-Ukrainian War dramatically reconceptualises Europe.

April 28, 2023 - Gennadii Korolov

The unconscious imperialism of a convinced anti-imperialist

The famous writer Mikhail Shishkin is one of the few well-known Russians to voice strong opposition to Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Despite this, many of his words and actions still play into the hands of the Kremlin, ultimately aiding in the continuation of the war.

April 28, 2023 - Tomasz Kamusella

Recipe for disaster: preparations for the First World War on the eastern side of Europe

Much is known about the infamous alliance system that led to the First World War. Ultimately dragging in all of Europe’s military powers, these agreements would lead to great battles typically associated with the Western Front. Despite this, the Eastern Front would prove to be equally bloody and conspiratorial, with the lands of modern Poland playing a central role.

Our imagination of past times is often influenced by cinema. This is probably the case as all topics we read about are preceded by cinematic imagination, which rules our thoughts and provides us with key visions of past events. This is especially true regarding the iconic topics of our European history, one of which is the formative event of the 20th century: The Great War of 1914-18.

April 28, 2023 - Andrzej Zaręba

The Russo-Belarusian Union State is here

Belarus continues to play a low-level yet crucial part in the ongoing war in Ukraine. While the Russian military sends troops to the country, it is also firing missiles at Ukraine from Belarusian territory. It is increasingly clear that the very independence of the country is now under threat. 

April 27, 2023 - Mark Temnycky

Where are the “good Russians”? The complexities of gauging Russians’ stance on the war

In spite of criticism related to the inaction of Russian society, it is important to remember the long-term societal trauma that has encouraged such silence.

April 13, 2023 - Joshua Kroeker

Neo-imperial Russia: a self-hating western country

Moscow’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine is speciously presented as a “clash of civilisations.” While Putin continues to stress Russia’s apparent uniqueness in relation to the “collective West”, it is ultimately western ideas that are powering his neo-imperial project.

April 7, 2023 - Tomasz Kamusella

The fetish of Russia’s stability: an intelligent weapon against the West

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has exposed the nexus between repressive domestic rule and aggressive foreign policy. As long as Russia remains a dictatorship, it will pose an existential threat to the security order in Europe. It is, therefore, in the West's interest to see a permanent dismantling of the current model of government in Russia. Putin's departure from office will create a short-term window of opportunity for political change. Contrary to widespread fears, the end of this autocratic pseudo-stability may pave the way for sustainable peace in Europe.

March 24, 2023 - Maria Domańska

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