The latest tensions between presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin are definitely giving political analysts from all over the world a headache, as they try to decrypt the discourses of the two presidents and somehow foresee where they’re leading. The United States and Russia have a number of imporant topics on their current agenda, such as the developments in Ukraine, Syria, the Iranian nuclear file or the situation in Northern Africa. USA and Russia also fell out over the poisoning and sentencing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the SolarWinds cyber-attacks scandal and Moscow’s bounties on US troops in Afghanistan.
In recent years, relations between Poland and Russia have been marked by tensions over the interpretation of the history of the 20th century. Russia does not have a clear and attractive vision of its future, so it manipulates the past more and more boldly. But the Polish government also uses radical methods to force its own vision of history. What are the gains and losses from aggressive historical politics?
In March, 2014, the so called “little green men”, Russian combatants without any identifying army insignia, occupied this Ukrainian peninsula. A referendum followed shortly on joining the Russian Federation, which the international community didn’t recognize. On March 21, 2014, president Vladimir Putin signed the law that officially declared Crimea part of the Russian Federation. The events of 7 years ago are today perceived differently in Ukraine and Russia.
Squeezed between its own regional ambitions and those of global players, between domestic challenges and its own policy errors, the current regime in Ankara speaks and acts in an increasingly erratic manner. And the consequences are difficult to foresee at this stage.
The government has failed to handle the COVID-19 pandemic on several levels and it seems like no lessons have been learned during the last year. All of this, right before the country votes for a new parliament.
China is the top of America’s concerns, considering the ongoing trade war and Beijing’s bold moves in an area where the United States has strategic interests and close allies. After holding its first exploratory talks with Russia, European allies and the Middle East, in March the White House set its gaze on China and dispatched two of its heavy-duty emissaries to this region.
The failure of pro-Russian Igor Dodon in the presidential elections in the Republic of Moldova does not seem to have upset the Kremlin much: instead of being reprimanded, the officer in charge of the Moldovan case (and assisting Dodon in the election campaign) was promoted in early March. At first glance, the promotion seems to be a job rotation decision, but in reality, it’s part of a broader reorganization of the departments dealing with the former Soviet space and the separatist regions supported by Moscow.
The massive disinformation campaign carried by Moscow in the West, in the former satellites of the Soviet Empire and also on its own territory, has its Achille’s heel: it is limited to a number of themes or narratives.
For the first time in history, a Pope has visited Iraq, the very place where the Bible tells us the world began, following in the footsteps of the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament. Steeped in symbolism and emotion, the visit was a landmark of historic consequence through its sheer novelty. The question is – will it truly make a difference?
There is a discrepancy between the Western estimates, according to which there were hundreds of thousands of rape victims, and the Russian ones, where figures are in the order of tens. But let’s see the arguments of each side of the dispute.
The political stage in Chișinău is once again in crisis. The incompatibility between the pro-European president Maia Sandu and her governing opponents, from the camp of the corrupt pro-Russia “establishment” in Chișinău, has led to new confrontations and situations hard to anticipate.
Speculations on the historical memory are becoming Russia's primary weapon in the hybrid confrontation with European countries. They are directed at EU members as well as the Eastern Partnership countries.
The most effective type of Chinese overseas propaganda is not the one Beijing has carefully planned, but that which appears spontaneously when a distant civilization speaking a language few European understand comes into contact with Europe’s tendency to create mythologies about “the Orient”. In other words, it’s a byproduct of “Orientalism”. Present-day China has replaced 1970s Japan as “the country that does things differently” and is about to outshine the old democracies.
Ever since the appearance of the Internet and the advancement of the World Wide Web, in the 1990s, it was generally thought that they would decisively contribute to the global democratisation of information. And this they initially did, the demos all over the world gaining unprecedented access to an immense variety of information in all fields of human thinking and action. However, governments and inter-governmental organisations also entered this digital arena and their first instinct was to try to control it.
Transnistria is an important stake for some politicians in Chisinau, but not because they're interested In achieving Moldova’s grand national objective – reunification. They’re rather interested in the thousands of votes they could get from Transnistria. However, those votes come in exchange for concessions for the breakaway region.
Poland is following the path marked out by Hungary and its Prime minister. After subjugating the Constitutional Tribunal and the Supreme Court to itself, the nationalist government of Law and Justice (PiS) party started to ruthlessly choke independent news organizations and restrict freedom of speech. Soon, the media mogul Tadeusz Rydzyk may become the most important unelected man in Poland and the strongest player on the media market, apart from the public broadcaster. He is a priest, businessman and close friend of many right-wing politicians.
What makes Serbia interesting to anaylze when it comes to Russia's influence is the already formed pro-Russian public opinion. Therefore, the question arises whether Russia in Serbia has a need to invest in strengthening its influence when public opinion is already in its favor. It is enough to look at the cover pages of the Serbian daily press where you can often see Vladimir Putin, as well as the media reporting on Russia so you can get the impression that the pro-Russian narrative is possibly created by Serbian journalists and editors. It means that pro-Russian narrative is not sponsored or created by Kremlin.
The EU has extended an economic lifeline to Transnistria, the underlying idea being that this would help avoid conflict in that region. Russia is no longer Transnistria's main economic partner, but still has considerable levarage in the region.
Transnistria a reprezentat în ultimele trei decenii una dintre cele mai mari enigme din Europa de Est și continuă să fie un studiu de caz aparte, fiind unul dintre primele conflicte înghețate din spațiul ex-sovietic și apoi un model pentru cele ce au urmat în jurul bazinului Mării Negre.
On January 26, Joe Biden spoke for the first time with Vladimir Putin as President of the United States. The two had known each other for years, but their conversation does not seem to have been a discussion between two friends meeting again, or an exchange of pleasantries between the heads of two states who want to make a first contact and test the waters.
The option for China is connected to Belgrade domestic and foreign policy objectives. As it seeks to show that it has an alternative to the West, Belgrade has chosen the more relevant power, which is on the rise, unlike a Russia marked by isolation and crisis. China, in its turn, is interested to have bridge help that would gain it backdoor access to the European markets.
The more hybrid our reality gets, the more hybrid warfare becomes. The statement is Russia’s latest informal creed, underlying a disproportionate war waged abroad. For that, the country has been using a “no man’s army”, and its best-known avatar is the Wagner Group.
In November 2020, the Turkish government has started to spread a narrative of return to democracy, rule of law and citizens' rights. The main reason for this new apparent U-turn is the degradation of the Turkish economy and, in effect, the diminishing popularity of the regime.
After several strong fake news waves in recent years, antivax sentiments are gaining momentum and cause fears even in the non-conspirative thinkers.
Protests by women and youth in Poland have been going on for three months now. At that time, the police intensified their actions against the demonstrators, sending to the streets uniformed officers who fight the most dangerous criminals in the country. The government, on the other hand, prepared a law forcing demonstrators to accept criminal fines. Effects: broken hands and legs, unlawful arrests, overburdened, ineffective courts and even greater rage in society.
The Middle East seems to be undergoing an all-encompassing reset. One at a time, Arab nations are making their pace with Israel. Monarchies in the Gulf are trying to settle old scores. Radical groups shore up old alliances. Iran gets pushed back after over a decade and a half of expansions. The highlights of the 2000s were the outcome of the attack of the al-Qaeda network on the United States, while those of the following decade the result of the Arab Spring. In the East, the third decade is marked by the political will of its leaders.
Once Moscow’s most reliable satellite in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria expelled six Russian diplomats for spying since October 2019. Is Sofia trying to step out of Moscow’s shadow, or merely creating a smoke screen for affairs on a different level?
Russia uses an aggressive rhetoric to disguise its lack of ideas and even real interest in Moldova. Transnistria – a pawn for future exchanges, tightly controlled by the Sheriff
Trump’s pardoning of people close to him has sparked massive protests in the United States, backed in particular by Democratic politicians. The Blackwater Guard pardon also triggered a UN response. Taken a year after Trump pardoned a Navy Seal accused of war crimes during the military campaign against the Islamic State, the decision will only rekindle old resentments against the United States, dating back to the war in Iraq in the 2000s.
Conspiracy theories in a nationalistic key are being used for decades to justify the primacy of the Turkish state, and lately, of the Erdoğan regime.
The key moments in the recent history of post-communist Romania are unclear. The files of the Revolution, of miners’ raids and the conflict in Târgu Mureș have been classified and reopened periodically. The files have been moved from the military to the civil prosecutor's offices, and the other way round, evidence has disappeared, witnesses have died (some under suspicious conditions) or left the country. Media's efforts to investigate these events have always been marred by monstruous disinformation.
From Hussein’s Martyrdom to the Gulf War, six events that defined the Middle East and are still shaping the way regional stakeholders are acting.