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Tag: War

Russia’s anti-war opposition: a thing of the past?

The first days and weeks of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine saw western media place great emphasis on internal protests in Russia. However, this factor has seemingly disappeared from reporting in recent months. A nuanced understanding of today’s internal opposition is crucial to combatting images of a population fully supportive of the Kremlin.

July 26, 2022 - Joshua Kroeker

Germany’s Russia policy must change

While Germans are slowly learning that Ukraine is a nation with a unique language and culture now threatened with annihilation by Russia, the country’s traditional longing for accommodation with Moscow is already starting to re-emerge in national discourse. In Germany, we have yet to understand that it is a Russian war against which the Ukrainians are defending themselves militarily. Russia must lose and Ukraine must win in order for it to have a future.

There is one key thing that I have learned since Vladimir Putin openly declared war on Ukraine and attacked it by land, sea and air. In Germany, people prefer to speak of peace rather than talk about war. In many conversations and discussions that I engage in privately or publicly, I not only need to explain, but often have to justify myself for being in favour of Germany and the EU supporting Ukraine in its defence against this attack. I am often accused of being emotional. Of course I am emotional. I too, take this war personally. This is what a Ukrainian friend said about herself a few weeks ago.

July 15, 2022 - Rebecca Harms

For our freedom and yours

Ever since 2014 the war in Ukraine has often been thought of as a local conflict, wholly separate from wider issues. If Putin’s full-scale invasion has proven anything, however, it is that Kyiv now finds itself on the frontline of a battle to defend liberal democratic values against authoritarianism.

For at least a few years, if not more, we have heard many intellectuals grimly point to a growing crisis of democracy and an increase in populistic, authoritarian and even dictatorial tendencies in an increasing number of states. This trend has also been evidenced by Freedom House studies. The data these investigations have collected in recent years demonstrate that the number of democratic countries in the world has been on the decline since 2005. In addition, there have been numerous reports on the worsening quality of democracy in countries that may have not formally abandoned the democratic system of governance, but have become illiberal nonetheless.

July 15, 2022 - Mykola Riabchuk

Overcoming imperial trauma

Perhaps Poland’s own troubled relationship with Europe and European values, flirtations with quasi-Russian authoritarianism, nationalism and xenophobia, underpinned by aggression, prejudice and contempt – are all symptoms of our unresolved contest with imperial Russia. In other words, we are not Eurosceptic at all. We would truly like to be Europeans, but are restrained by unfinished business with Russia.

News of the Russian invasion of Ukraine caught me off guard in Greece, to where I travelled for a few days of spring and peace, the deficit of both we often find chronic. We are experiencing a seemingly eternal pre-spring, arranged for, by and into variable tones of depression, aggression, despair and sterile dynamism. This is underlined by a repressed impression of pointlessness, sterility, perpetually alternating frost and thawing of the spirit. We anticipate war and an inability to find peace.

July 14, 2022 - Piotr Augustyniak

Central European sensitivity towards Ukraine

After Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, people who live in Central and Eastern Europe were able to quickly assess the situation and express their empathy for Ukrainians. They felt a sense of connection with them and started to help them straight away.

We have always had difficulty when trying to explain what it means when we say “Europe”. Indeed, this concept is dynamic and has undergone many changes over time. That is why in his “Letters to the European Deputies” (Lettres aux députés européens), a Swiss writer and promoter of European federalism in the 1950s, Denis de Rougemont, wrote that it was difficult to place Europe in one space and time. Clearly, the Europe which is seen from nearby, from within or on the periphery, is different from the Europe that is seen from afar. For example, from a remote continent.

July 14, 2022 - Kinga Gajda

The power of local diplomacy

Local networks and “sister city agreements” have become an opportunity for local governments to express their outrage directly to Russian cities or partners. Since the end of February, cities like Glasgow, Turku, Tokyo and Tallinn have suspended their relations with their sister cities in protest of the invasion.

In 1986, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to divest city funds from banks connected to the South African government. Hundreds of US cities and states adopted similar policies in the last years of the Cold War, lending a hand to national decision-makers – and sometimes pushing them – to end apartheid. These actions were part of a longstanding tradition of local government diplomacy that has continued during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In March, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that she was suspending sister city ties with Moscow. “While this is not a decision I enter into lightly”, Mayor Lightfoot explained, “we must send an unambiguous message: we strongly condemn all actions by the Putin regime.”

July 14, 2022 - Cristian Cantir

The borders of solidarity

When Russia started its open aggression against Ukraine on February 24th, millions of Ukrainians started to flee from the rockets that were now falling on their homes and cities. Clearly, the most obvious direction of escape was to the West, and Poland in particular. However, it was not so clear how Poland would react to this inflow of migrants. A huge conventional war in the 21st century in a neighbouring country was once something unimaginable. As a result, it was difficult for the nation to prepare.

July 14, 2022 - Paulina Siegień

The war in Ukraine as a test for “Global Britain”

The United Kingdom has been one of the most prominent supporters of Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24th. There is a broad elite consensus behind the UK’s hard-line position towards Russia and strong public backing for its support for Ukraine. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been eager to emphasise Britain’s leading role in providing military and diplomatic support to the country, seizing the opportunity to try to shift the national conversation away from a series of domestic scandals.

July 14, 2022 - Alex Nice

The ghosts of Poltava

In May 2022, as a result of Russia’s renewed war of aggression against Ukraine, Sweden broke its long-standing official position of military non-alignment and applied to join NATO. The success of this application will depend very much on the goodwill of Turkey. While this whole situation will seem very odd to the casual outside observer, there is an interesting historical backstory that connects Sweden, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

July 14, 2022 - Matthew Kott

Germany still struggles to understand its Eastern neighbours

The full-fledged Russian invasion of Ukraine has deeply shocked Germany and its political elite to the core. Ukraine and the West expected Berlin to step up and show leadership in this war. But has anything changed substantively in German foreign policy and its intellectual and institutional ability to handle this invasion? The answers are mixed and disappointing to many in Ukraine and Europe.

July 14, 2022 - Mattia Nelles

As Russia invades Ukraine, Israel walks a diplomatic tightrope

When Russian troops crossed the Ukrainian border on February 24th, Israel found itself in a dilemma. Faced with western pressure to pick sides, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid stressed that they had to act to preserve their freedom of action in Syria. The Israeli Air Force has long carried out airstrikes against Iranian and Hezbollah targets with the tacit permission of Russian forces stationed in the country.

July 14, 2022 - Sam Sokol

The war that brought back the eternal Bulgarian dispute

The war in Ukraine for Bulgarian society is what Donald Trump was for the United States and Brexit for the United Kingdom – a quake that divided society. Bulgaria became a member of the European Union in 2007, but never managed to part with two definitions of itself. One is that it is the poorest and most corrupt country in the EU, and the other is that it was the most loyal satellite of the Soviet Union. These labels continue to influence Sofia's policy and largely explain the political changes in the country since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

July 14, 2022 - Krassen Nikolov

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