Foreign Policy Blogs

Eastern Europe

Summary of Large October-November 2018 Political Poll in Ukraine: Tymoshenko and Her Fatherland Party Are, so far, Clear Front-Runners for the 2019 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections

Summary of Large October-November 2018 Political Poll in Ukraine: Tymoshenko and Her Fatherland Party Are, so far, Clear Front-Runners for the 2019 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections

Summary of especially comprehensive poll (ca. 10,000 respondents) jointly conducted by Ukraine’s three leading sociological services KIIS, Razumkov Centre and Rating Group, in October-November 2018: (1) Prominent presidential candidates’ rating among citizens who have made up their minds and plan to vote: Tymoshenko (Fatherland) –   21%, Zelenskyi (comedian) –           11%, Poroshenko […]

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The Glazyev Tapes, Origins of the Donbas Conflict, and Minsk Agreements

The Glazyev Tapes, Origins of the Donbas Conflict, and Minsk Agreements

What are the origins of the armed conflict that has been raging in eastern Ukraine since 2014? Which role did Russia play in the emergence and escalation of the originally unarmed confrontation, in the Donets Basin (Donbas), after the victory of the Euromaidan revolution? When, how and to what degree exactly did Moscow get involved? […]

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Whom Does Crimea Belong to? Russia’s Annexation of the Ukrainian Peninsula and the Question of Historical Justice

Whom Does Crimea Belong to? Russia’s Annexation of the Ukrainian Peninsula and the Question of Historical Justice

[Translated from Ukrainian, by VoxUkraine.] The Kremlin media’s well-known narrative of a supposedly almost unanimous support among Crimea’s population as well as of the allegedly profound historical justification for the annexation has many supporters not only in Russia, but also among numerous Western politicians, journalists, experts, and diplomats. Often, these commentators consider themselves – in […]

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Re-Imagining and Solving the Donbas Conflict: A Four-Stage Plan for Western and Ukrainian Actors

Re-Imagining and Solving the Donbas Conflict: A Four-Stage Plan for Western and Ukrainian Actors

Since spring 2014, Ukraine suffers from a full-scale war in the Donets Basin (Donbas). For the solution of the Russian-Ukrainian confrontation, Western and Ukrainian political analysts, opinion- and policy-makers, civic activists as well as diplomats need to jointly implement an agenda of re-imagination, prioritization, pacification and re-integration. The Donbas conflict should be understood anew, approached […]

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How to Solve Ukraine’s, Moldova’s and Georgia’s Security Dilemma? The Idea of a Post-Soviet Intermarium Coalition

How to Solve Ukraine’s, Moldova’s and Georgia’s Security Dilemma? The Idea of a Post-Soviet Intermarium Coalition

Co-written with Kostiantyn Fedorenko After the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, a geopolitical gray zone emerged between Western organizations on the one side, and the Russia-dominated space on the other. This model was always fragile, did not help to solve the Transnistria problem in eastern Moldova or the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in […]

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Revisiting Decentralization After Maidan: Achievements and Challenges of Ukraine’s Local Governance Reform

Revisiting Decentralization After Maidan: Achievements and Challenges of Ukraine’s Local Governance Reform

Four years after Russia annexed Crimea and Russia-backed separatists revolted against the Ukrainian government in 2014, new clashes in the prolonged conflict have caused a spike in casualties. While Ukraine continues to counter the military challenge in the east of its territory, Kyiv has simultaneously undertaken unprecedented and ever-new attempts at reform. As Ukraine nears […]

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What Is the Real Story Behind the MH17 Disaster?

What Is the Real Story Behind the MH17 Disaster?

The official investigation of the rather obvious case of the MH17 disaster by the Joint Investigation Team has been excruciatingly slow. Already, on 17 July 2014, the day of the shooting, it was clear that this missile could have had only come from a regular Russian army unit. Who else would have had the opportunity […]

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Bosnia and Herzegovina is on the brink of a constitutional and political crisis. Simply put: If it happens, Russia wins and the United States and Europe lose.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is on the brink of a constitutional and political crisis. Simply put: If it happens, Russia wins and the United States and Europe lose.

In December 2016, the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Constitutional Court ruled in the “Ljubic” decision that elements of the country’s electoral legislation undermines the rights of the country’s Constituent People’s – the Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats – to elect their own representatives, as enshrined in the Dayton Accords.  What makes this decision so important? The court […]

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Georgia on No One’s Mind

Georgia on No One’s Mind

There’s a scene in the 2007 film Charlie Wilson’s War when the titular character, a congressman played by Tom Hanks, tries to make a case to his congressional peers. He wants to allocate one million dollars toward building a school in Afghanistan, as a way for the United States to combat Soviet propaganda in the […]

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Exclusive Interview: Alfa Bank’s Chief Economist on the outlook for Russia

Exclusive Interview: Alfa Bank’s Chief Economist on the outlook for Russia

The Russian economy returned to growth in 2017 after several years of recession. However, there are still major challenges ahead, including the need for budget reform, a financial sector overhaul, and the risk of sanctions. Natalia Orlova, Chief Economist and Head of Macro Insights at Alfa Bank, offers her expert view on these issues to GRI’s Michael […]

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Why Putin Likes the West

Why Putin Likes the West

Allow me to make two observations before I turn to my remarks. The Mission statement of the Forum’s website asks that we be honest and direct.  And so, although I do not wish to appear overly harsh in my observations, nevertheless I am obliged to be frank and open.  Otherwise, why have a conference such […]

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A Chance for Peace in Ukraine?

A Chance for Peace in Ukraine?

The proposed UN peacekeeping mission to Ukraine needs a combination of Western sticks and carrots. Diplomacy is not enough.

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Is Minsk II in danger?

Is Minsk II in danger?

The last year has seen a period of deadlock in Eastern Ukraine, as the armed conflict continues into 2018 amid fruitless attempts to reach a stable ceasefire. But as new factors emerge, should we expect a flare-up in the Donbass region? Permanent ceasefire remains beyond reach The progress on Minsk II – the key agreement […]

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In the Balkans, crony capitalism runs deep

In the Balkans, crony capitalism runs deep

The fall of Croatia’s biggest privately-owned company, Agrokor, has brought into sharp relief the extent to which crony capitalism, botched privatizations, and corruption still hold sway in the Balkans. In a recent report, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom highlighted the Agrokor scandal – and the actions of its larger-than-life owner, Ivica Todoric – as worrying signs […]

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In oligarchic Ukraine, Manafort is a symptom of a wider disease

In oligarchic Ukraine, Manafort is a symptom of a wider disease

Nearly eclipsing the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the Euromaidan protests last Tuesday was the latest in the ongoing scandal surrounding former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. According to newly released records, the beleaguered political consultant traveled to Moscow at least 18 times during his nearly decade’s worth of work for the pro-Russian politician […]

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