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Tag: Ukraine at war

The soft power of Ukrainian women will defeat Mordor

A conversation with Iryna, a territorial defence officer, and Natalya, a civil volunteer. Interviewer: Andrii Horobchuk

ANDRII HOROBCHUK: What motivates women to join the territorial defence? How different are their motivations from men?

IRYNA: In fact, there are many kinds of women. First and foremost, there are female civil volunteers. For example, those who do not have children or have taken their children out of Kyiv but remain here themselves. And they just cannot sit at home. A woman generally needs to take care of someone and keep herself busy. This is the way her psyche works. And that is why there are a lot of women who just come of their own free will and do things to take care of the fighters.

April 25, 2022 - Andrii Horobchuk

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

Russia’s targets: children, pregnant women, civil institutions and infrastructure

Not a day goes by without a war crime being deliberately committed by Russia in Ukraine. Documenting these crimes is a huge task that cannot be done by just one organisation. What is needed here is an alliance of various organisations, media groups and volunteers, both abroad and on the ground. They need to document Russian atrocities, sort them, process them for the media and forward them to the authorities for sanctions and prosecution.

No crime is too big for Vladimir Putin to commit, no lie too absurd to utter. This was true even before Russia's troops officially invaded Ukraine on February 24th. The images from Ukraine bring back memories of Grozny in Chechnya and Aleppo in Syria. There, Russian planes also destroyed homes, clinics, schools and other civilian facilities through mass bombardments. The West remained silent when the Russian army was rampaging through Chechnya and Syria. The West apparently did not care about the people there and they did not want a confrontation with Putin. In particular, the war against Syrian civilians was a test for the Russian army.

April 25, 2022 - Jan-Henrik Wiebe

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

Poland as a new frontline state

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine not only wreaked havoc on Ukrainian society but also damaged the regional security architecture of Central and Eastern Europe. For Poland and other states on the Eastern Flank of NATO, it instantly meant that they had all become de facto frontline states.

February 24th marked the end of the world order as we know it when Russian tanks rolled into Ukrainian territory and Russian missiles started to target Ukrainian civilian and military infrastructure. It is by no means an exaggeration to claim that the international security architecture that was shaped after the Second World War is now gone. From the regional perspective, the first day of the Russian aggression changed everything for both Ukraine and its neighbours. Many of these states have been pondering whether they would be next on Putin's list.

April 25, 2022 - Wojciech Michnik

Relations with Russia will never be the same again

No one knows when or how Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine will end. But when the conflict ends, a rebuilding phase will be required. During this period, US and western leaders would be wise to tread lightly as they try to establish a new relationship with Russia.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a new era was born. Fifteen countries emerged from the disbanded union and the West assumed that they would naturally gravitate towards democracy and capitalist economies. As a result, the West welcomed these new countries to join its institutions. One of these countries was Russia.

April 25, 2022 - Mark Temnycky

Hardship on the horizon: Armenia amid sanctions against Russia

Armenian economists, entrepreneurs and private business owners are warning about hardships that have arisen due to sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. The risks and consequences for Armenia’s economy are severe.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has gone beyond the borders of the conflict between the two states and has knocked on the doors of all countries, targeting their economies first. The invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops led to a global economic backlash against Russia in the form of additional economic sanctions. These complement the package of sanctions initiated in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine. These restrictions are still valid and have already had significant negative impacts on the Russian economy.

April 25, 2022 - Anna Vardanyan

Russia’s war in Ukraine: perspectives from the South Caucasus

The war in Ukraine has also opened long-standing geopolitical wounds in the three states of the South Caucasus, which now find themselves on the frontline of the new Cold War. The modest reactions of Baku, Tbilisi and Yerevan to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine underline the precarious states the three countries find themselves in.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has geopolitical implications for Europe and beyond. This includes the three South Caucasus countries, all of which are members of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership initiative. Yet, governmental and societal reactions have varied in all three countries, with the Georgian government being cornered into a strategy of “non-deterrence”, the Armenian government subordinate to Russia’s security interests, and the Azerbaijani government pursuing its balancing policy while also seeking a strategic partnership with Moscow.

April 25, 2022 - Bidzina Lebanidze Irena Gonashvili Veronika Pfeilschifter

More volunteers than refugees: how Romanians mobilised for Ukrainians

Thousands of Ukrainian refugees enter Romania daily through the border crossings and are met by an army of volunteers. Yet, there is no central command running these humanitarian operations. They are, for the most part, happening spontaneously, with officials, refugees and volunteers finding the best solution for each case through word of mouth or on social media. Not having a plan seems to be the best plan so far.

Since Russian tanks started rolling into Ukraine on February 24th, nearly half a million Ukrainian women, children and elderly people have crossed the border into neighbouring Romania. They have arrived either directly from their country or through Moldova. Although a far cry from the more than two million that already made it from Ukraine to Poland, this influx of refugees poses a great challenge to a country that is not exactly known for its robust social services or the organisational capacity of its administration. But, at least until now, things have gone much smoother than most would have thought.

April 25, 2022 - Marcel Gascón Barberá

Lviv: a city of resistance. Photo-story

I spent three days recently in the city of Lviv, in western Ukraine. There I met with Lvivians mobilised to do everything they can to aid in their country's victory. This brief story with photos illustrates just how organised this society is in these efforts.

April 24, 2022 - Adam Reichardt

Open Letter by 156 Experts on Eastern Europe and International Security to the German Government: Immediately Increase Berlin’s Support for Ukraine

Russia's illegal and open war of aggression against a peaceful neighbouring country, which began on February 24, 2022, sealed the failure of German and EU policies towards Russia over the past decades. These policies had been based on the hope that Russia's increasingly obvious neo-imperial ambitions could be contained through a combination of intense diplomacy, multilateral agreements, and various business relationships. However, Russia's continuous military presence in Moldova since 1992, its unconcealed expansion into Georgia since 2008 and into Ukraine since 2014, and further misconduct around the world had already shown this approach to be failing.

April 24, 2022 - New Eastern Europe

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Agencja interaktywna: hauerpower krakow studio krakow.