Eastern Europe

  • International Support Urged For Ukraine in Face of Russian Aggression

    “There is a war going on in the middle of Europe. A very hot war,” according to Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s vice prime minister for Euro-Atlantic integration, who urged policy makers to confront this “uncomfortable truth” about Russian aggression.

    Speaking in a panel discussion hosted by Ukraine House Davos in Davos, Switzerland, on January 22, Klympush-Tsintsadze said: “Ukraine needs to be given a hand, a shoulder, or some engagement to help against Russian aggression, especially in the year of elections.” Ukraine is gearing up for presidential elections on March 31.


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  • Who Wanted Boris Nemtsov Dead? New Book Offers New Look at Evidence

    Boris Nemtsov was a good friend of mine. He was jollier and more outgoing than most. Unlike most of Russia’s reformers, he abstained from wealth, bravely choosing to live modestly as an opposition politician. He could work with anyone while maintaining good values. On February 27, 2015, he was murdered just off the Kremlin.

    John B. Dunlop, a renowned historian of Russia at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, has just published a book, The February 2015 Assassination of Boris Nemtsov and the Flawed Trial of His Alleged Killers. Dunlop meticulously describes and documents the investigation and the court proceedings over 191 pages.

    The book starts with a presentation of the murder and its investigation, followed by a chapter about the trial. The remaining seven chapters offer different versions of what really happened. This structure is reminiscent of The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. Dunlop lets all sides speak in their own voice in long quotes. The book starts slowly and gains momentum. Nothing is what it first seems. The book’s ultimate insight is that careful study of available evidence offers great opportunities to understand what goes on in Putin’s Russia. This is Kremlinology at its best.

    At first glance, the murder does not appear complicated.


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  • Ukraine Emerges from Isolation

    Transportation links provide advance warnings as to where a society is going physically and mentally.

    Until five years ago, all of Ukraine’s roads led to Moscow. Now they go west.


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  • Trump Doesn’t Have to Quit NATO to Undermine It, Expert Warns

    On January 14, the New York Times confirmed that President Donald Trump talked about pulling out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization more than once in 2018.

    But can the president quit NATO unilaterally?


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  • Putin’s Dream Scenario for Ukraine

    Ukraine’s problem is not that it hasn’t changed enough. It’s that it’s changed too much too fast, thereby raising popular expectations, undermining long-existing patterns of behavior, creating uncertainty, and thereby increasing the popularity of populists who argue that a return to the good old days is imperative.


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  • Ukraine’s Euromaidan Democrats Have No Shot at the Presidency, but What About Parliament?

    Ukraine’s anti-oligarchic forces have finally started the process of forming a broad pro-reform coalition in advance of the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections. On January 11, a congress of various reformist groups announced its support for the presidential candidacy of former Minister of Defense Anatoliy Hrytsenko. While the meeting was largely an event of Hrytsenko’s Civic Position party, it included a number of small parties and civil movements which backed Hrytsenko as well. In addition, a number of prominent MPs from the well-known “Euro-Optimists” inter-factional group in parliament, including Svitlana Zalishchuk, Serhiy Leshchenko, and Mustafa Nayem, joined the congress.

    Nayem called for a broader coalition of pro-reform politicians to work together, urging Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi and the lead singer of the popular band “Okean Elzy” Sviatoslav Vakarchuk to back Hrytsenko. Nayem also touched upon the crucial question of the entire enterprise: Will the new alliance eventually become broad enough to exert real political influence?


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  • How Will Ukraine’s Next President View the World? A Look at the Top 5 Candidates

    Ukraine’s presidential election season is in full-swing. After the holiday recess, the campaign is getting even more dynamic with about forty candidates who have already declared. While the ratings fluctuate almost daily, the top five remain steady, so it’s time to dig in and start evaluating their various views. Below we’ve analyzed their foreign policy platforms. 


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  • The Best Ukraine Can Hope for with Russia in 2019

    Donald Trump has been president of the United States for two years, but it remains uncertain whether he has a Ukraine policy. His administration does, but Trump is famously superficial in his knowledge.

    Trump has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, hardly said anything negative about Russia, and insisted on the need to cut sanctions to improve relations with Russia. Trump has had numerous phone calls with Putin that have not been reported and two scandalous private meetings with Putin from which nothing has become known.

    In practice, US policy on Russia has been tough.


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  • Two More Ways to Make Ukraine Independent

    Ukraine’s Orthodox Church just broke with Moscow, and it’s time for us to move farther away from Russia in the energy sector as well. Even though it is an election year, Kyiv must deliver on the country’s two strategic priorities: increasing gas production in Ukraine and jointly operating Ukraine’s transmission system. After all, energy independence is amatter of sovereignty and national security for Ukraine.


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  • Herbst Quoted in NBC News on Russia's seizure of Ukrainian ships


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