Europe

  • Why Pro-Russian Candidates Won’t Win Ukraine’s 2019 Elections

    Those who believe Ukraine has not fundamentally changed since the launch of Russia’s military aggression are dead wrong. In fact, the 2019 elections will clearly illustrate that pro-Russian candidates have not only lost significant support, they will barely win any national offices.

    Pro-Russian candidates are hampered from achieving success in the 2019 parliamentary and presidential elections by four factors.

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  • How to Weaken Putin’s Hand (The Answer Isn't What You Think)

    Ukraine is making international headlines again. Conflict in the Black Sea, war in eastern Ukraine, new anti-corruption institutions, and the imminent independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have been widely reported and hotly discussed. But one important topic has gone largely unnoticed in the West—Ukraine’s ongoing local governance reform. The transformation of Ukraine’s administrative structure may seem dull, but it has become one of the most consequential post-Euromaidan reform efforts.
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  • Ukraine’s Maidan Opposition Is Finally Getting Organized, but Will It Make Any Difference?

    On December 7, about two hundred fifty Ukrainians gathered in Kyiv for the launch of a new social movement that looks set to become Ukraine’s first liberal political party.

    People Matter is basing its platform on minimizing the role of government in the economy and reorienting the entire state around the concept of service; in American terms, it would be considered center right or libertarian. The movement is led by five prominent reformers with experience in and out of government: Kyiv entrepreneur and city councilman Sergiy Gusovsky; ProZorro founder and first deputy minister at the Economic Development and Trade Ministry Max Nefyodov; think tank executive Victor Andrusiv; open government expert Oleksiy Honcharuk; and NGO leader Oksana Nechyporenko. Its working slogan, “People Matter,” encompasses the vision for the movement, says Gusovsky, who thinks reforming the state comes down to having the right people in the right place at the right time.

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  • Why the Irish Border Matters

    The land border shared by the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has taken center stage in the current Brexit debate. The volume of trade that occurs between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the potential for a renewal of ethnic violence, the isolationist views of Brexiteers in London, and the concerns of Northern Irish communities themselves have all combined to fuel a stalemate over the border. The reconciliation of these issues is essential to the passage and implementation of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, and, according to the prime minister, to “ensure that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland—so people can live their lives as they do now.”

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  • China's Europe Strategy

    SCHLOSS ELMAU, GERMANY – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban recently shared some history with a friend, explaining why he reached out to China’s then-Premier Wen Jiabao in 2011, seeking urgent financial support and providing Beijing one of several European inroads in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
     
    Orban’s reason was a simple one: survival. Facing a potential debt crisis and unwilling to accept austere loan conditions from Western institutions, Beijing offered a lifeline. For his part, Orban convened some Central European leaders with Beijing, and they laid the groundwork for the “16-plus-one” initiative based in Budapest that since then has provided China unprecedented regional influence.
     

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  • Right-Wing Party Gains Ground in Spain

    For much of the past decade, Spain has been an exception to the Europe-wide electoral rise of populist right-wing parties. The December 2 regional election in Andalusia ended the Spanish anomaly. As the results poured in, heads turned in Europe as Vox, a populist right-wing party, won 11 percent of the vote and twelve seats in the Andalusian parliament. Most polls in the lead-up to the vote had the party around the 5 percent mark.

    Populism is nothing new in Spanish politics. In recent years, left-wing Podemos has successfully employed a brand of populism that appealed to large portions of the electorate in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The conservative platform, on the other hand, was dominated in the 2008 and 2011 elections by the center-right People’s Party (PP).

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  • Dickinson in Foreign Affairs: Can the West Prevent the Slow Strangulation of Ukraine?


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  • Damon Wilson: US Must 'Keep Our Allies as Our Allies'

    Twenty Seventh Annual Mikulás Dinner

    Remarks by Damon M. Wilson
    Executive Vice President, Atlantic Council

    Embassy of Hungary, Washington
    November 30, 2018

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  • From the Azov Sea to Washington DC: How Russophobia Became Russia’s Leading Export

    Vladimir Putin had a simple explanation for the wave of international condemnation that engulfed Moscow in the wake of Russia’s November 25 Black Sea attack on the Ukrainian Navy. According to the Kremlin leader, it was all Ukraine’s doing. “Kyiv is actively stirring up anti-Russian sentiment,” he lamented. “That’s all they have—and it works.”

    This is far from the first time Moscow officials have sought to explain away serious accusations by attributing them to conveniently vague notions of anti-Russian bias. Indeed, the formerly moribund nineteenth century concept of Russophobia has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance since 2014, becoming the Kremlin’s excuse of choice whenever faced by a new round of allegations. Whether the crime in question is the invasion of Ukraine, an attempted coup in the Balkans, chemical weapons attacks in rural England, or electoral interference across Europe and the United States, the Kremlin has clearly decided the best form of defense is to ignore the charges completely and condemn the international community for surrendering to anti-Russian hysteria.   
    Moscow’s motivation is not difficult to grasp.

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  • How the West Got Martial Law in Ukraine Totally Wrong

    The past several days have been historic ones in Ukraine’s development as a sovereign and democratic nation. Moscow’s unprovoked attack on and seizure of three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea on November 25 began this process. This attack represents a serious escalation of Kremlin aggression because it was done openly by regular Russian military forces. Moscow was not hiding its role—as in the Donbas—behind the fiction that local “separatists” were running a rebellion.

    Russian naval forces first rammed one of the Ukrainian boats and then opened fire. Ukrainian communication intercepts show that Russian commanders on shore gave their ships orders to undertake this action and noted that the situation was being monitored by senior officials in Moscow. The Kremlin was likely trying to provoke the Ukrainian ships into firing in order to justify a larger Russian military response. Moscow successfully used this tactic to start its 2008 war with Georgia, but Ukraine wisely did not take the bait.

    In response, President Petro Poroshenko convened Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council (NSDC), which recommended that the government declare a state of martial law covering the entire country for two months. 

    For many in the West, “martial law” conjures up images of dictators and troops strutting down city streets in fatigues.

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