Foreign Policy Blogs

Eastern Europe

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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Eastern Europe’s Duplicitous Tango with Moscow and Brussels

Eastern Europe’s Duplicitous Tango with Moscow and Brussels

Far from having strong ideological persuasions one way or the other, Eastern Europe’s leaders exploit cultural divides inside their countries for short-term political gain.

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What Saakashvili’s Resignation Means for Ukraine’s Future?

What Saakashvili’s Resignation Means for Ukraine’s Future?

The decision may symbolize the increasingly anti-reformist environment in Ukraine and the likely failure of promises spearheaded during the 2014 Euromaidan.

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Prague’s Terrorist Perils

Prague’s Terrorist Perils

In late August, Martin Konvicka, a Czech anti-immigrant nationalist planned and staged a fake ISIS assault in the middle Prague’s Old Town Square.

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Belarus: The Other Problem on Europe’s Eastern Border

Belarus: The Other Problem on Europe’s Eastern Border

Near the Lithuanian border is the site of Belarus’ newest nuclear reactor, due to be completed in 2018 with opaque Russian funding.

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Any New Year’s resolutions Mr. Orbán?

Any New Year’s resolutions Mr. Orbán?

Old tricks die hard in the European Union’s “rogue state,” but the West must acknowledge its hand in fueling the political culture in Hungary.

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The EU is Fostering Progress in Tackling Corruption

The EU is Fostering Progress in Tackling Corruption

Romania’s fight against corruption is showing encouraging signs of progress, but the bitter medicine of reform marks a traumatic period for the country.

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Media Freedom and Plurality is Struggling in Central & Eastern Europe

Media Freedom and Plurality is Struggling in Central & Eastern Europe

The European Union must do more to tackle endemic corruption and the lack of media pluralism in central and eastern Europe.

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Freedom Calling in Montenegro?

Freedom Calling in Montenegro?

Opposition movements in Montenegro will gather for a “Sloboda Trazi Montenegro” (Freedom Calling) rally in Podgorica on September 27.

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Ukraine’s Fahrenheit 451 Moment

Ukraine’s Fahrenheit 451 Moment

The western region of Ukraine is depicted as being drawn towards EU, the US, and NATO, and everything that they imply: liberal democracy, pluralism, and freedom of expression; while the east gravitates towards Russia, meaning authoritarianism, repression, and an intolerance to dissent. But, as recent developments in the propaganda war illustrate, this division may not be as clear-cut as it appears on paper.

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