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Tag: Russia’s war against Ukraine

A treatise on guilt

Russia, both as a state and a collective of individuals, is guilty of the many war crimes committed in and against Ukraine under the banner of the Russian flag. However, leaving the argument at “Russia is guilty” is both reductionist and dangerous, as it can absolve individuals of their guilt whilst at the same time trivialising the pain and suffering caused at the hands of individuals and their actions.

For over 20 months, Russia has been committing war crimes previously unfathomable on the European continent in the 21st century. Murder, rape, the kidnapping of thousands of children and the bombings of schools, hospitals and cultural sites, are only some of the many atrocities the Russian army and affiliated mercenary groups have committed against the Ukrainian nation. Almost more striking than the horrific images that flow out of Ukraine on a near-daily basis is the deafening silence coming from Russia and Russians.

November 20, 2023 - Joshua Kroeker

From Kyiv to Korea. How the shockwaves of war reverberated across Eurasia

The war in Ukraine is encouraging geopolitical change across the world. This is particularly true with regards to the Korean Peninsula, with Russia growing closer to its traditionally quiet ally in Pyongyang. Both North and South Korea are now faced with navigating an uncertain geopolitical climate with no end to the war in sight.

“Akin to identical twins” is how one academic expert in Seoul described the Korean Peninsula and Ukraine in 2022, as both occupy locations on the Eurasian landmass where the geopolitical interests of great powers intersect. Other Korean commentators have noted similarities between the 1950-53 Korean conflict and the current war in Ukraine insofar as battle lines have barely moved throughout much of the fighting. Yet while parallels between Korea’s yesterday and Ukraine’s today abound, the arc of geopolitics runs directly between Kyiv and Korea.

November 19, 2023 - Anthony Rinna

Zelenskyy’s formula for peace

In October 2022, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, announced a “peace formula” to overcome the Russian threat during a meeting of the G7. Since then, it has become the guiding principle in Ukraine’s international diplomacy and efforts to end Russia’s aggression once and for all.

As the war continues in Ukraine, claiming lives, destroying infrastructure and undermining the economy, the Ukrainian authorities and people are united by a common desire to stop Russian aggression, the associated daily horrors and suffering as soon as possible. In order to make its own position clear before the international community and within the framework of demonstrating readiness for a peace process, the Ukrainian side has submitted a basic set of principles and approaches which has formed the basis of a “peace formula” – or “Zelenskyy Formula” as it is often called.

November 19, 2023 - Anton Naychuk

Fear of Russian drones creates anxiety in Romanian villages

As Ukraine has been trying to re-route its crucial wheat and corn exports via its ports on the Danube river, Russia has begun targeting them. Their proximity to Romania creates a significant risk to the local residents, who feel their concerns remain unaddressed. Drones or fragment of drones have already crashed on this NATO country’s territory, with little recourse.

“The sky was lighting up from the tracer ammunition fired by the Ukrainians and you could see the outline of the drones. The last one crashed at 00:20 – I can show you on my surveillance cameras how loud the bang was. And I told myself: this is one hundred per cent in Romania,” recalls Neculae Marian, a resident of the city of Tulcea who owns a house in the village of Plauru. Following multiple crashes of Russian drones on Romanian territory around the settlement, confidence is low and frustrations towards the country’s decision-makers are at a high. Neculae becomes visibly irate when talking about the government’s response and argues that the authorities have been consistently disingenuous about the risks faced by the local population.

November 16, 2023 - Vlad Iaviță

Russia’s (fading) influence

Russia’s influence in the Western Balkans is traditionally based on its soft power, the energy sector and its diplomatic support for Serbia’s position on Kosovo. The religious, cultural and historic relationship of Moscow with the Orthodox population in the region has been taken as a reason for Russia’s attractiveness. However, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its consequences, the strength of Russian influence in the region is being questioned.

It is commonly said that the Russian aggression against Ukraine has further exposed the fault lines between Moscow and the West in the Western Balkans and that Russia’s aggressive posture in the region is only set to grow as a consequence of the war. Is this concern legitimate or is the Kremlin’s influence in the Western Balkans going to diminish as a consequence of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine?

September 11, 2023 - Katarina Tadić

The anatomies of evil

The ongoing crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine have shocked audiences across the world. However, there appears to be a certain banal nature to these seemingly extraordinary events. A reflection on the writing of Hannah Arendt may help us better understand how such unmitigated evil can occur on an everyday basis.

In early spring 2022, as the horrors of the crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine came to light, a picture of a looted house was posted on Twitter. In the image, among the many items scattered across the floor, there was a book with ripped pages titled Банальність зла. Суд над Айхманом в Єрусалимі (Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil).

September 11, 2023 - Simona Merkinaite

The Kakhovka Dam explosion as Russia’s scorched earth tactic

The destruction of the Kakhovka Dam aligns with tactics employed by Russian forces in various contexts before. This strategy involves the complete destruction of territories in active combat to gain a military advantage and instil fear in opponents. Understanding the Russian scorched earth tactic, and drawing from Ukraine's experience encountering it, is now crucial when planning operations against Russian military forces.

Russian aggression against Ukraine has gained notoriety due to numerous violations of international law and human rights committed by Russian troops. Tragic incidents such as the events in Bucha, Izium and Mariupol have left an indelible mark on human history. The sheer quantity of crimes committed is staggering, leading to valid assertions of a planned genocide of the Ukrainian population orchestrated by high-ranking Russian officials.

September 11, 2023 - Zakhar Tropin

No school for the children of Izium

Ukraine’s newly liberated territories still show the scars of war. Critical infrastructure often remains damaged and life remains anything but ordinary. This is particularly true in the case of schools, with the education system in the town of Izium simply unable to provide for the country’s youngest citizens.

Almost a year after its liberation, Izium, a town in Kharkiv Oblast, bears the visible scars of the Russian aggression. Heavily damaged by the Russian bombing and having at least temporarily lost the majority of its population, Izium still remains an unsafe place to live. It will take a long time for the town to rise again.

September 11, 2023 - Kateryna Pryshchepa

Rethinking Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies in the West

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine since February 2022 has impacted academic research on the region, forcing students and staff in western university departments to rethink their interests and curricula.

After Teresa Reilly took Russian classes for her bachelor’s degree requirements, she was keen to learn more of the language and decided to apply for a master’s programme that would allow her to spend more time in Russia. In autumn 2021, she enrolled in the Erasmus Mundus master’s degree in Central and East European Studies, Russian and Eurasian Studies, with the aim of spending the second year of her studies in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. This would allow her to hone her language skills and work on her thesis, which was focused on a post-colonial view of the relationship between NATO and Yeltsin’s Russia.

September 11, 2023 - Veronica Snoj

The weaponisation of music in today’s Russia

Popular music has become an important propaganda tool to rally Russians in support of the war against Ukraine. An analysis of the ten most popular songs created during the war demonstrates common themes which have emerged, including patriotism, nationalism, religion and feelings for the motherland.

Music is the art most intimately connected to time. Indeed, it serves as a time machine for the transmission of culture, collective memory, concepts, mental states and feelings. But music has other purposes as well. It has a long history of being used as a strong tool for soft power. The Voice of America radio channel in communist countries was a striking example of this. Additionally, artists have utilised it as a form of protest. For example, the Polish rock group "Tilt" found in music the only way to express its rebellion against the communist regime in the 1980s.

September 11, 2023 - Tatevik Hovhannisyan

The long exodus

The ongoing war in Ukraine has forced many refugees to make tough decisions about their future. This is particularly true in neighbouring Moldova, where many Ukrainians are deciding to settle on a more long-term basis. Despite the difficulties of this new life, a large number of refugees are trying to make the best of the situation.

Olena Mustiats, 41, had only the most basic requirements when she fled Ukraine with her six-year-old daughter last March: safety, affordability and a local language she knew. Leaving from her native Odesa, in Ukraine’s southwest, Mustiats settled on Moldova and headed to the capital, Chișinău. “I chose Moldova because it’s closer [to Odesa] than Poland, they speak Russian there, and because prices at the supermarket are cheaper than in Poland,” Mustiats said. A year and a half later, Mustiats and her child are still in Moldova, with no plans, and limited options, to go anywhere else.

September 11, 2023 - William Fleeson

Russia’s war has changed NATO’s learning curve

In light of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, NATO has come to a realisation that irrespective of circumstances, the present leadership of Russia will persist in its revisionist approach and become increasingly agitated in the event of a potential loss in the conflict. Consequently, NATO must proactively ready itself for an extended deterrence strategy vis-à-vis Russia, and be prepared to implement a defence strategy if the need arises. These are the key lessons already learnt over the last 15 months.

July 4, 2023 - Dominik P. Jankowski

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