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  • Author: Anna Borshchevskaya
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As in other conflict zones, Moscow cares little about reaching a peace deal so long as it can outmaneuver the West strategically while securing port and energy access—with private contractors playing an increasingly important role. The Kremlin is now openly treating Libya as another focal point of its Middle East activities. After years of U.S. neglect, the country has turned into a proxy war playground, and President Vladimir Putin is vying to become the chief power broker. Earlier this month, he tried (but failed) to get Khalifa Haftar to sign a ceasefire agreement in Moscow with Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). Putin also participated in the January 19 Berlin conference aimed at getting the parties back on the path toward a political solution. And though the prospects for such a deal remain uncertain, Moscow’s involvement in Libya will continue either way.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Civil War, Geopolitics, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Dumitru Minzarari, Vadim Pistrinciuc
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The EU’s Eastern Partnership policy is set to receive an update rather than an upgrade consummate with current geopolitical pressures. The Eastern Partnership’s central flaw is its design, which allows local political elites to build ‘facade democracy’. Core to democratic transformation are genuine rule of law reform and strong security against external threats. Adopting a new ‘shared sovereignty’ model would allow the EU into Eastern Partnership states to push through reform, guarantee the rule of law, and expose evasive local elites. Failure to strengthen Eastern Partnership states in this way could strengthen Russia and allow authoritarianism to diffuse westward into the EU. The EU should make shared sovereignty the basis for future Eastern Partnership relations, building on the momentum of the new accession process secured by France.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, European Union, Partnerships, Democracy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: András Rácz, Cristina Gherasimov, Milan Nič
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: As protests continue to galvanize Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko is consolidating his grip on power. Volatile domestic dynamics – and Russia’s reactions to them – will shape the discredited regime’s future. This paper outlines four possible scenarios for Belarus up to one year from now. They include options for Russia and the EU, whose strategic objectives differ, but whose short-term interests align: preventing bloodshed, avoiding open geopolitical conflict, and preparing for a post-Lukashenko transition.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, European Union, Geopolitics, Protests, Transition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Eastern Europe, Belarus
  • Author: Jacopo Maria Pepe
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: As the coronavirus pandemic fuels technological and geopolitical competition among the great powers, Europe’s relations with China and Russia are facing new challenges and risks. Still, the reconfiguration of power in Eurasia also brings unexpected opportunities for European actors in the area of connectivity. To seize them, the EU needs to reconcile its aspiration to be a globally accepted “normative-regulatory” power with both its limited financial means and its more assertive attitude to geopolitics.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, European Union, Geopolitics, Strategic Competition, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: After Turkey’s unsuccessful ultimatum set for the Syrian regime and its Russian ally to commit to the Sochi Agreement, Ankara has targeted the Assad regime and its allies’ locations along the de-escalation zone by launching Operation Spring Shield. Russia has capitalized on Turkey’s anger by offering an agreement establishing new facts on ground during a Turkish-Russian summit on March 5th.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Armed Forces, Geopolitics, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, United States of America, Idlib
  • Author: Rawi Abdelal, Aurélie Bros
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Sanctions have become the dominant tool of statecraft of the United States and other Western states, especially the European Union, since the end of the Cold War. But the systematic use of this instrument may produce unintended and somewhat paradoxical geopolitical consequences. The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation in the field of energy are particularly illustrative of this phenomenon.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Sanctions, Geopolitics, Secondary Sanctions, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ulrike Franke
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Artificial intelligence is impossible to disregard – it is set to transform society, the economy, and politics. Europe has not yet taken all the steps it needs to benefit from these advances or to protect itself from AI’s potentially dangerous aspects. The US, China, and Russia are alert to AI’s power to change modern warfare: they grasp the geopolitics of AI and may pursue techno-nationalist agendas in recognition of this. Europe can develop sovereignty in AI by beefing up the talent, data, and hardware it draws on; and as a “regulatory superpower” it can set standards the rest of the world will have to follow. If Europe does not address these difficult questions soon it will find itself surrounded by more powerful rivals deploying AI against it.
  • Topic: Politics, Geopolitics, Economy, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Giragosian
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Armenia’s 2018 Velvet Revolution swept old elites out of power, but, unlike Ukraine’s Maidan revolution, had no broad effect on relations between Russia and the West. Armenia lacks friendly neighbours in its immediate region, and it remains heavily reliant on Russia. Russia is a dominant presence in the country but finds itself in a ‘paradox of power’: it wishes to avoid turning Armenian opinion against it, especially since 2016 revelations about Russian arms sales to Azerbaijan. The government and public wish to loosen ties with Russia, strengthen them with Europe, and improve relations with neighbouring countries, including Iran. Europe should break out of its self-imposed ‘ring of restraint’ with Armenia by increasing its technical support, something it can do without provoking Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, History, Geopolitics, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Armenia
  • Author: Marco Siddi
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Gas trade between the European Union and Russia increased considerably in both 2016 and 2017, despite the ongoing political crisis. Simultaneously, two long-standing disputes in the EU-Russia gas relationship – regarding Gazprom’s monopolistic practices and the EU’s third energy package – were settled. Russian companies have invested in new infrastructural projects for the export of gas to Europe, including the launch of the Yamal LNG terminal in December 2017 and the construction of the TurkStream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. However, significant challenges remain for the relationship, most notably the intra-EU controversy on Nord Stream 2 and uncertainty about future gas transit in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Peter van Ham
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Today, political relations between the West and Russia have entered a new mini-Ice Age, existing arms control arrangements are either dysfunctional or simply not used, and both sides are improving their military readiness. The obvious question that needs to be raised is whether, and if so how, these escalating tensions can be contained, or even reduced? This Policy Brief offers insight into the most pressing concerns, focusing on areas and issues where matters could escalate fastest. It asks what role can still be foreseen for arms control and concludes with a call for transatlantic unity and a stronger role for NATO to counter Russia’s military and geopolitical gambit. It suggests that the classic two-pronged “Harmel approach” (based on deterrence and détente) should be restored. This includes a mix of US-Russian high summitry and the revitalisation of the NATO-Russia Council as part of a broad and far-reaching (military) risk reduction process.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia