Russia

  • How Ukraine Can Avoid Disaster in 2019

    Ukraine’s 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections are the most important since the country became independent nearly three decades ago. If next year’s elections follow those held in 2014 when five pro-reform political forces won a constitutional majority, Ukraine’s European integration and withdrawal from the Russian world will be assured by the next election cycle in 2024.
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  • Ukraine, Anti-Semitism, Racism, and the Far Right​

    October 14 saw the latest in a string of annual mass marches by the far right in Ukraine. As many as 10,000 people participated, mainly young men, chanting fiercely. A nighttime torchlight parade with signs proclaiming “We’ll return Ukraine to Ukrainians,” contained echoes of Nazi-style symbolism.

    Lax law enforcement and indifference by the security services to the operations of the far right is being noticed by extremists from abroad who are flocking to Ukraine. German media reported the presence of the German extreme right (JN-NPD, Dritte Weg) at the rally. According to Ukrainian political analyst Anton Shekhovtsov, far-right Norwegians, Swedes, and Italians were supposed to be there too. And on October 15, they all gathered in Kyiv for the Paneuropa conference organized by the Ukrainian neo-Nazi National Corps party. "Kyiv," says Shekhovtsov, "has now become one of the major centers of European far-right activities."

    Such activism, naturally, unnerves liberals as well as Jews, and national minorities. And they often result in alarmist headlines in Western and Israeli newspapers.

    Coming in a year in which the white supremacist C14 group engaged in savage beatings at a Roma encampment near Kyiv, one could draw the conclusion that the far right is on the rise in Ukraine.

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  • What Really Happened in Constantinople Last Week

    Last week Ukraine’s Orthodox Church got confirmation that it will likely receive the independence from Moscow that it has long sought. The issue is complex, and the terminology foreign to most readers. The issue of the Ukrainian church is similar to an iceberg. What appears above the surface is political, but the largest part underneath has nothing to do with politics. Millions of Orthodox Ukrainians were considered outside of spiritual unity with the rest of the Orthodox world. Thousands of other Orthodox Christians who belonged to the only legitimate Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), felt uncomfortable there because it seems to channel Russia’s political agenda. This is the same country which annexed Crimea and launched a hybrid war in Ukraine’s east.

    Both the Moscow Patriarchate and its filial structure in Ukraine, the UOC, have failed to address the pastoral issue caused by the ecclesial schism. It was addressed, however, by the church of Constantinople, which had planted Christianity in the medieval Kyivan state and was responsible for the Kyivan Metropolia (an administrative unit in the Orthodox church) until it gave Moscow some rights to manage Ukrainian ecclesial matters in 1686. On October 11, the governing body of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, called the Holy Synod, revoked these rights from Moscow and reinstated its own control in Ukraine. Effectively, the Ecumenical Patriarchate restored the status quo, which existed on the territory of modern Ukraine at the end of the seventeenth century.

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  • Kyiv Patriarchate Vs. Moscow Patriarchate: David Triumphs Over Goliath

    On October 10, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople agreed to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This is a historic decision with huge geopolitical implications.

    In addition, the anathema that had hung over Patriarch Filaret of the Kyiv Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Makarii of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and their followers was lifted, and they were recognized as canonical.

    Russia, of course, couldn’t refrain from commenting.

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  • Aslund Quoted in Forbes on Russian Billionaire


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  • Western Nations Go On the Offensive Against Russian Cyberattacks

    Atlantic Council’s Ben Nimmo warns: polarization is America’s Achilles’ heel

    Western governments on October 4 unleashed a torrent of accusations against Russia saying its intelligence agency was responsible for cyberattacks on inquiries into Olympic doping, a former spy’s poisoning, and the downing of a commercial aircraft in 2014.

    The US Justice Department indicted seven Russian intelligence officers on charges of hacking anti-doping agencies and other organizations.

    Earlier in the day, Dutch authorities accused four Russians, who they said belonged to Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, of attempting to hack into the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

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  • Carpenter Quoted in Newsweek on New Russia Hack


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  • Carpenter Quoted in Newsweek on New Russia Hack


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  • US Offers NATO Allies Cyber Warfare Capabilities

    The United States is expected to announce in the coming days that it will use offensive and defensive cyber capabilities on behalf of NATO if asked, a senior Pentagon official said,
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  • Why Pro-Russian Forces in Ukraine Have Got a Tiny Shot at Victory

    There will be no pro-Russian revenge in Ukraine next year. The Russians will undoubtedly interfere, and we should watch and expose their shenanigans, but the threat of a pro-Russian party coming to power in Ukraine is miniscule for two factors.

    First, opinion polls show large majorities against the election rhetoric of the Opposition Bloc, which promotes the elevation of the Russian language and integration into the Eurasian Union and opposes NATO and EU membership. Four years after Russia invaded Ukraine, only 7 percent of Ukrainians believe the war is due to the suppression of the Russian language. Support for Eurasian integration has collapsed. Russia is associated with "aggression" (66 percent), "cruelty" (57 percent), and "dictatorship" (57 percent). Backing for NATO has tripled and for EU membership solidified.

    Second, Russia’s occupation of Crimea and parts of the Donbas have removed sixteen percent of voters from participating in Ukrainian elections. Paul D’Anieri’s study ("Gerrymandering Ukraine? Electoral Consequences of Occupation") published by East European Politics and Societies and Cultures shows the impact of the absence of these 3.75 million voters. Of these, 87 percent voted for Yanukovych in 2010; in other words, a quarter of Yanukovych’s voters now live under Russian occupation and cannot vote. This massively changes the landscape for the 2019 elections.  

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