Foreign Policy Blogs

Europe

Merkel’s Ambiva­lent Legacy in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe: German Ostpolitik in the Shadow of Russia’s Imperial Revenge

Merkel’s Ambiva­lent Legacy in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe: German Ostpolitik in the Shadow of Russia’s Imperial Revenge

When Angela Merkel took office as Federal Chancellor in 2005, she was more prepared for the challenges on the EU’s eastern border than any other West European head of government. However, Berlin had, already before Merkel’s take over of the chancellorship, sent wrong signals to the new neo-imperial leadership in Moscow by inviting Putin to the Bundestag in 2001 and starting the Nord Stream projects in 2005. Consequential missteps before and after Merkel came to power put German Ostpolitik on the wrong path in the new century. In 2014, there was only a partial correction of the Russia course set by Germany’s 1998-2005 Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Today, politicians, diplomats and experts in Moscow likely wonder what has gotten into the Germans since the annexation of Crimea: Weren’t Russian special rights in the post-Soviet space an unwritten law of post-Cold War Eastern European geopolitics accepted by Berlin?

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Solving the Karabakh Conflict: Why direct negotiations between Baku and Yerevan are the only way to go

Solving the Karabakh Conflict: Why direct negotiations between Baku and Yerevan are the only way to go

The solution of the conflict lies in direct negotiations between Baku and Yerevan rather than in mere propping up of domestic mobilization, military capacities, and geopolitical alliances.

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Ukraine’s Low-Carbon Gas Potential and the European Union

Ukraine’s Low-Carbon Gas Potential and the European Union

Strategic investment into Ukraine’s energy industry, including its low-carbon gas generation and transportation system would not only have narrowly geoeconomic, but also wider geopolitical implications. Assistance to Ukraine would help Kyiv contain the Kremlin’s ongoing attempts to unleash further socioeconomic instability in Ukraine.

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Should the US Support Ukraine? A Debate in Washington, DC, and Elsewhere

Should the US Support Ukraine? A Debate in Washington, DC, and Elsewhere

Here comes a senior American commentator working at a leading Washington think-tank, publishing in one of the most influential US political magazines, and repeating exactly those talking points that the Kremlin has been spreading to justify its thinly veiled hybrid war against Ukraine for seven years now. This not enough, Carpenter uses the Kremlin’s favorite narratives to unapologetically call for an end of US support for Ukraine. What more could Moscow hope for?

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“Isolation”: Donetsk’s Torture Prison

“Isolation”: Donetsk’s Torture Prison

The Russia-controlled East Ukrainian separatists have been operating a small concentration camp in the city of Donetsk, Ukraine, for more than six years now. Outside any regular jurisdiction, men and women are being physically and psychologically tormented on a daily basis, in ways reminiscent of Europe’s darkest times.

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Should Ukraine Conduct Local Elections along the Donbas Contact Line?

Should Ukraine Conduct Local Elections along the Donbas Contact Line?

Current military-civil administration in eastern Ukrainian frontline districts need to be kept in place and partially reformed. Should the Donets Basin return to Ukrainian control, they could provide institutional templates for a temporary special regime within the currently occupied territories. On October 25th this year, Ukraine will hold its first nation-wide local and regional elections […]

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The Coronavirus Crisis as a Critical Juncture for Ukraine and the World

The Coronavirus Crisis as a Critical Juncture for Ukraine and the World

by Pavlo Klimkin and Andreas Umland Deliberations on the political repercussions of the ongoing pandemic for international relations and Ukrainian foreign affairs In their seminal 2012 study Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty, Daren Acemoglu and James A. Robinson identified the Bubonic Plague of 1346-1353 not only as one of the greatest […]

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Epoch of Post-Brexit: Britain turns attention to Africa

Epoch of Post-Brexit: Britain turns attention to Africa

Two important international events for Africa took place over the last 10 days of January 2020: the World Economic Forum in Davos and the UK- Africa Invest Summit. The first event stuck in memory only by Patrice Motsepe’s ‘Africa loves Trump’ comment. But the London summit gave fruitful results for both parties. Direct results of […]

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Elections in Ireland by April 24?

Elections in Ireland by April 24?

Seamless border at risk:  on the left, County Armagh, NI, UK; on the right, County Louth, Republic of Ireland (Google Maps) The timing of elections in Ireland could be decided in early January The leaders of Ireland’s main political parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, will meet in early January to decide the date of […]

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Opportunities and Risks in Zelenskyy’s New Ukraine

Opportunities and Risks in Zelenskyy’s New Ukraine

What to make of the new political realities in Ukraine? Both, the presidential and parliamentary Ukrainian elections of 2019 delivered historic results. Ukraine never had a President with so much electoral support (73%), and so little connection to the country’s old political class. Moreover, independent Ukraine never had a parliament with as dominant a party […]

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Voting Advice Applications in Pre-Electoral Ukraine

Voting Advice Applications in Pre-Electoral Ukraine

PROвибір and other electronic instruments are helping Ukrainians to distinguish parties according to their political, socio-economic and cultural agendas Which party to vote for in an election? In Ukraine, like in countries around the world, people are making their political decisions based on a range of factors from emotional attraction to rational calculation. In the […]

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How Distrust toward Voting Advice Applications May Lower the Quality of Ukraine’s Parliamentary Elections

How Distrust toward Voting Advice Applications May Lower the Quality of Ukraine’s Parliamentary Elections

Kyiv’s main media outlets keep ignoring Ukraine’s new voting advice applications So far, Ukraine’s major newspapers and electronic media have largely ignored the freely available novel Ukrainian voting advice applications (VAAs) designed to help voters to make more informed and rational decisions on 21 July. VAAs are computerized instruments that summarize in circa 15 to 40 statements […]

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Complications in Tbilisi’s Friendship with Kyiv: The Georgian Orthodox Church and Ukrainian Autocephaly

Complications in Tbilisi’s Friendship with Kyiv: The Georgian Orthodox Church and Ukrainian Autocephaly

  By Tamar Chapidze and Andreas Umland Over the last two decades, Georgia and Ukraine have become close geopolitical allies vis-à-vis both Russia and the West. In 1997, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova created between themselves a multilateral consultative forum that, in 2001, was upgraded into the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, better known […]

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Critical Questions for Ukraine’s New President: A List of Issues for this Year’s Reform Agenda and Kyiv’s Relations to the West

Critical Questions for Ukraine’s New President: A List of Issues for this Year’s Reform Agenda and Kyiv’s Relations to the West

On 20 May 2019, Ukraine’s new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was inaugurated. Later this year, the European Parliamentary elections will lead to the formation of new EU leadership in Brussels. Finally, Ukraine’s upcoming parliamentary elections this summer or autumn will likely reconfigure much of the – if not the entire – Ukrainian governmental elite, and lead […]

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Secondary literature list for my seminar “Ukraine between the European and Eurasian Unions” @UniJena, in April-June 2019 (books, journals, websites)

Secondary literature list for my seminar “Ukraine between the European and Eurasian Unions” @UniJena, in April-June 2019 (books, journals, websites)

“Ukraine between the European and Eurasian Unions: Revolution, War, Reform” The seminar aims to introduce Master-students into one of Europe’s critical conflicts today, and to illustrate, using the example of Ukraine, inter-relation between Europeanization, post-Soviet transformation and security politics. We will touch upon general themes of European studies, like democracy promotion, neighborhood policies, transposition of […]

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