The recent parliamentary elections have redrawn the political map in the Czech Republic. The incumbent Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has lost power, a coalition of five very diverse parties will most likely govern, and voters of the traditional left-wing parties have lost their representation entirely. The post-election situation is further complicated by the fact that President Miloš Zeman is seriously ill and, according to the hospital where he is hospitalised, is unable to exercise his powers. Prague Castle, however, is silent about Zeman's condition.
The Metropolitanate of Moldova is one of the instruments Russia is using to exert its influence in Chișinău. From backing pro-Russian politicians in election campaigns to blocking certain pieces of legislation that would take Moldova closer to Europe, the Metropolitanate has constantly shown that religion is hardly its sole concern.
The Pandora Papers did not cause a major surprise in Bulgaria, a country accustomed to corruption scandals. It remains to be seen what will their impact be. For now, one of those exposed in the leaks, controversial oligarch Delyan Peevski, instead of hiding returned from Dubai to Bulgaria and announced his come back to the political scene.
The Polish government is exacerbating the conflict with Brussels, and Poles are taking to the streets backing EU membership. But when we look at the matter in more detail, it turns out that it is not as simple as the Western media wants to see it.
The Parliament in Kiev adopted a law aiming to curb oligarchs’ influence in politics. The piece of legislation comes at a time when Ukraine’s partners have warned Kiev authorities they are doing too little to limit the informal decision-making of groups of oligarchs. Despite having already been adopted, the law rather seems to be a sort of “window dressing” designed to boost Zelensky’s influence in the runup to the presidential election. No one really knows who exactly will be on the list of oligarchs who will have to abide by the new legislation and what the long-term implications will be.
The pro-European government in Chisinau has entered a complicated period. Judicial reform has already begun in force and has already generated an internal crisis due to the detention of the prosecutor general, a measure that has been described as too harsh by some analysts, recalling a real "judicial blietzkrieg". This is exactly the kind of situation that Russia usually exploits, and Moscow has a few levers at its disposal to ensure that Moldova goes in the direction it wants.
Who will be Germany’s next chancellor? Olaf Scholz, the Social-Democrat candidate, seems to be the favorite choice. And it wouldn’t be far from the truth either, if the German election system weren’t so intricate. Now, after the September 26 election, all options are still on the table.
After Maia Sandu and PAS took over the reins of power, Chisinau started a genuine diplomatic offensive. There is openness towards the Republic of Moldova in the western chancelleries, as well as willingness to help, but that is no guarantee for success. A decade ago, the country was in a similar situation, but the failure of the governments that followed eventually led to years of isolation.
The Russian-Belarusian exercise "Zapad-2021" has become the object of increased attention from the neighbors of the two countries. But this event on the military-political map of Europe was only used as a distraction by the Kremlin.
Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel was, for years, the driving force behind Berlin’s – and EU’s – policies in the Western Balkans. As Merkel is exiting the scene, the region is still years away from EU integration, and some of its countries even took a turn away from their stated objectives of becoming consolidated liberal democracies.
After the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia’s acts of aggression and its military-oriented stance on NATO’s eastern flank have inevitably become a reason for concern for a number of countries in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly those behind the former Iron Curtain under Russia’s sphere of influence. Efforts to connect European infrastructure from north to south may curb Moscow’s influence in the region, and inadvertently boost the collective security of central and east-European states.
Following the hasty withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan, an increasing number of analysts speak and write about weaknesses of Europe and Washington vis-à-vis illiberal, authoritarian regimes. Some even engage with the idea that the West may have in fact entered a process of decline. However, while the latest developments in Afghanistan could well be the symptom of profound change in the international arena, talking about the West declining in a logic of confrontation with the East is rather problematic.
Just as the electoral campaign was beginning in the the Czech Republic, the public got a taste of a Greek tragedy when the incumbent Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš, was publicly challenged by his estranged son. The bizzare story, which involves even an alleged kidnapping of Babiš Jr. on his father’s orders, has some very real implications as it may be connected to a fraud involving European funds and a company owned by the Prime Minister.
For a month now, the tragedy of 32 Afghan citizens, who have been stuck in no man's land on the Polish-Belarusian border due to the political game between Aleksandr Lukashenko and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has been unfolding. Similar things are happening on the borders in Latvia and Lithuania. The Polish government seems to be the worst coping with the situation. Why is that?
On September 26, 2021, the Germans go to the polls. An extremely difficult choice after 16 years with Angela Merkel at the helm of the country. A choice on which not only the future of Germany, but also that of the EU depends. The imprint left by Mutti, as the Germans have nicknamed Angela Merkel, will not make the mission of the future chancellor easy. The nearly two decades have not been easy at all, but Germany's first woman chancellor has managed to stay in power and, most importantly, impose her views domestically and internationally.
Sheriff Tiraspol, Moldova’s top football club, may be used by the regime in Transnistria to give some visibility to the separatist region and to try to gain a minimum of legitimacy on the international stage.
The refugee crisis that erupted in the summer on Belarus’ border with its western neighbors has several components. We are looking at new tactics in Russia's hybrid actions with the cynical use of an ally and the desire to strike at the most consistent criticisms of Russia.
Ukraine’s policy towards Transnistria also impacts the agenda of the Government in Chișinău, which would rather focus on domestic reforms. Kiev decided to ban the access of all vehicles registered in Transnistria from entering its territory starting September 1, although Chișinău authorities wanted to delay the measure.
On August 30, late at night, the United States completed all operations to withdraw from Afghanistan, bringing an end to the longest war in its history.
30 years after the proclamation of independence in the Republic of Moldova, the country still faces identity issues. Society is divided between those who describe themselves as Moldovans, Moldovan speakers – a tribute to Soviet legacy – and those who consider themselves Romanian and speak Romanian, those who feel they belong to the Russian world, and those who look towards Romania and the European Union.
Returning to Turkey after one year, I found that the country continues its downward spiral. Life is getting harder, and many seem to be increasingly demoralised.
The Taliban have conquered Afghanistan again, almost 20 years after they were chased away by a US intervention. How was this possible and, especially, what awaits us?
The desire to overthrow GERB and Boyko Borissov wasn’t enough: There is Such a Nation, the new party that won Bulgaria’s latest elections, made another U-turn on Tuesday by revoking its ministerial nominations amid rising controversies.
Cuba has recently faced its largest protests in three decades. The protesters used social media to mobilize. Is this the weapon that will bring down one of the longest-surviving communist regimes in the world - or at least force it to accept profound reforms?
In the past few years, Chinese investments in Serbia have intensified, strengthening economic and strategic cooperation between the two countries. However, in addition to investing in production, new technologies, servicing old debts, some of these investments have brought with them harmful effects on the environment, but also a further collapse of the legal system and institutions.
The Republic of Moldova has been presented with a historic opportunity, after pro-European forces, represented by the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), have secured the Parliament, the Government and the Presidency. The post-Soviet period of transition may now be over, and the pro-European track, which has been in the limelight in Chișinău for three decades, may become irreversible.
Donald Tusk returned to Poland. He's main goal is to take power from Kaczyński and the right-wing government of Law and Justice. How does he want to do it and what are his chances?
After winning the presidential elections, Maia Sandu has stabilized and secured the relations with the country’s closest neighbors - Romania and Ukraine. The legitimate question arises whether she has also managed to stabilize the complicated relationship between the Republic of Moldova and Russia, especially in the new context created by the recent parliamentary elections, won by the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), which she has founded.
After the warm summer, a hot autumn awaits the Czech Republic. Elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament are held at the beginning of October and they could change the political landscape in the country. The current political hegemon Andrej Babiš and his ANO movement could lose their position, traditional left-wing parties – communists and social democrats – may not make it to the upcoming Chamber of Deputies and there are some new political forces, such as a party led by former anti-mafia policemen, which is growing and promising "justice".