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  • Author: Philip Remler
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has been returning to its origins as a Cold War–era Conference – a forum where states and blocs, often antagonistic to one another and espousing opposing ideals, can air their frictions and hostilities. The OSCE was created without legal personality and with the liberum veto of the consensus principle. These constraints stunted the growth of executive capabilities and bound the OSCE closely to the will of its participating States. That rendered most mediation efforts ineffective, especially where an OSCE state is both belligerent and mediator in the same conflicts. Peace operations have been more effective – notably the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine – but the same factors have tightly constrained its activity. Though all participating States committed themselves to democratic governance, rule of law and respect for human rights, these ideals failed in much of the former Soviet Union, and autocrats have used the organisation’s lack of legal personality and the consensus principle to hobble the OSCE’s efforts. If the OSCE’s participating States want it to remain an Organization, not a Conference, they must take action to secure its executive autonomy.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Peacekeeping, Democracy, Conflict, OSCE
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Alla Hurska
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On February 19, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) imposed sanctions on Ukrainian tycoon and politician Viktor Medvedchuk and his wife, Oksana Marchenko (Pravda.com.ua, February 19). Medvedchuk is a leader and people’s deputy of the pro-Russian party Opposition Platform–For Life, the largest opposition faction in the Ukrainian parliament. Moreover, he is a close acquaintance of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The NSDC sanctions list also includes five Russian nationals and Ukrainian national Nataliya Lavreniuk. The latter is Marchenko’s friend and the common-law spouse of Taras Kozak (already under sanctions), a people’s deputy from the same political party and Medvedchuk’s business partner. Apart from targeting those eight individuals, sanctions were imposed on nineteen associated businesses, including firms that own aircraft and operate direct flights from Kyiv to Moscow as well as a number of joint stock companies registered in Russia, Moldova and Portugal (Pravda.com.ua, February 20). These measures came two weeks after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered the shutdown of several television channels—ZIK, NewsOne and 112—connected to Kozak. The move was described by Zelenskyy as a necessary step to fight Russian propaganda. But according to the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) and the NSDC, these actions were motivated by more complex issues. Specifically, the three aforementioned TV channels were being financed by limited liability company trading house Don Coal (Rostov, Russia), which receives revenue from smuggling coal out of the Luhansk and Donetsk “people’s republics” (LPR/DPR) (Pravda.com.ua, February 4).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Oil, Sanctions, Coal
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Pavel Felgenhauer
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The Second Karabakh War, between Armenia and Azerbaijan, began on September 27, 2020, and ended on November 9, 2020, with a Russian-brokered and guaranteed agreement. The conflict claimed the lives of thousands of Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers. But after 44 days of fierce fighting, it concluded with Yerevan soundly defeated: Armenia lost territory occupied during the First Karabakh War in 1992–1994 as well as over 30 percent of prewar Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast—a region of Soviet Azerbaijan majority populated by ethnic Armenians. Today, the rump self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR or “Artsakh”)—still controlled by Armenians and not recognized by anyone—is fully surrounded by Azerbaijani troops and territory. The rump Karabakh “republic’s” perimeter is guarded by some 2,000 Russian “peacekeepers” who also control the so-called Lachin corridor, the only highway left open from Armenia proper to Karabakh through the city of Lachin. The future of the rump NKR and its Armenian population is unclear. Baku refuses to discuss any special administrative status for the territory, insisting Armenians born in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast or their descendants must disarm and apply for Azerbaijani citizenships to stay as a minority inside Azerbaijan. In turn, the NKR leadership has declared Russian an official language alongside Armenian to avoid use of Azerbaijani Turkish (Izvestia, February 17). Officials in Stepanakert (Khankendi in Azerbaijani) apparently hope this may tempt Moscow to keep its peacekeepers in Karabakh permanently and maybe eventually agree to annex the NKR outright.
  • Topic: Weapons , Conflict, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Eastern Europe, Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Author: Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As the European Union (EU) debates its new post-2020 funding instruments, EU civil society support faces a pivotal moment. The union has been fine-tuning this support in recent years and is now contemplating further reforms. Civil society around the world is undergoing far-reaching changes as new types of informal activism emerge, governments try to constrict civic activity, and digital technology has major political implications. Against this backdrop, this analysis proposes ten practical ideas for how EU civil society assistance needs to evolve. It focuses on the countries that fall under the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)—Turkey and the countries of the Western Balkans—and the six states of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. This research examines how EU funding mechanisms need to change and assesses whether current financing proposals are likely to be beneficial or damaging. It suggests how the EU can overcome the main challenges of supporting newer forms of activism. And it explores how the EU can best help civil society to resist the heightened repression it faces in most IPA and EaP states. To improve its civil society assistance, the EU should: 1. tie critical measures to civil society support; 2. set minimum thresholds for mainstreaming; 3. engage with unfamiliar civil society partners; 4. define clearer rules on government-organized nongovernmental organizations (GONGOs); 5. focus on systemic resilience; 6. help local fund raising; 7. widen support networks; 8. better connect civil society to politics; 9. assess the civil society impacts of other EU policies; and 10. link civil society to foreign policy. This publication does not attempt to give a comprehensive or detailed account of all aspects of EU civil society support—something Carnegie has covered elsewhere.1 Rather, it offers a snapshot of the current state of play in this area of policy at a moment when the EU is debating significant changes and is set to make decisions that will affect the future course of its civil society support.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Social Movement, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Eastern Europe, Balkans, European Union
  • Author: Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the Euromaidan Revolution, self-identification and attitudes within Ukrainian society have changed profoundly. This report takes stock of the identity changes both nationwide and in three major oblasts, namely Lviv, Kharkiv and Odesa, representing in this study the Western, Eastern and Southern regions of the country respectively, to identify new differences and unity points. To this end, the report focuses on two major issues, looking firstly at the trajectory of the identity shifts nationwide and in three key regions, and secondly, at their political effects. The question of the sustainability of the changes is also addressed. Taking the regional aspect into consideration is crucial given that cleavages have traditionally had a visible regional pattern, and that the identity shifts coincide with a realignment of centre-periphery relations within the context of the ongoing reforms, particularly decentralization. The report also furthers understanding of the potential risks – or lack thereof – of this process for the Ukrainian state. This publication is part of a research project “Ukraine after Euromaidan” conducted by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. The project is implemented with the financial support of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2020.
  • Topic: Revolution, Local, Decentralization , Identity, Euromaidan Revolution
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Veera Laine, Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In Russia, the confirmed Covid-19 infections have been suspiciously few. The official numbers do not reflect reality as there has been no systematic testing at any phase of the epidemic. Now, however, the number of cases has risen rapidly, and the new situation has an effect on the Kremlin’s position in the eyes of the people.
  • Topic: Leadership, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Alexander Lukashenko’s “victory” in the election cannot bridge the gap between the president and the modern part of Belarusian society. Turbulent times may lie ahead for Belarus. This will require the West to revise its current approach and invest more in supporting forces that want reforms and the country’s Europeanization.
  • Topic: Reform, Elections, Europeanization, Transition
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Belarus
  • Author: Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During his first year as President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky prioritized presidential power-building. In order to do so, he relied heavily on the old system and established practices, such as “hands-on” management and the personalization of state agencies. Institution-building was replaced by the targeted fine-tuning of the dominant system. Some important reforms launched by the government in autumn 2019 were later stalled and reversed. As before, the adoption and implementation of comprehensive reforms will largely depend on Western pressure and conditionality. The major problem is that there are multiple centres of power in the country and the president’s actions only produce an illusion of control, while in reality the system is fragile and unstable. During the rest of his presidency, Volodymyr Zelensky will increasingly depend on oligarchs and govern through situational alliances. In exchange for their support, he may have to acquiesce to their continued dominance over the economy and the restoration of their influence in politics. Instability will intensify as his personal popularity wanes and economic and political crises deepen.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Leadership, Institutions, State Building, Transition, Elites
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Peopleʼs grievances were not reflected in Russia’s regional elections this year. The Kremlin is reaping the benefits of increasingly blatant electoral fraud and citizensʼ political apathy.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, Rigged Elections , Opposition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Olevs Nikers
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In mid-November, Latvian officials inaugurated a 5G test site at the Ādaži military base, near Riga. The facility is the first of its kind not only in Latvia but throughout Europe. The 5G testing area will provide an opportunity for Latvian and allied armed forces to develop and assess various new sensors, defense systems and platforms utilizing the emerging high-speed, low-latency cellular network technology, including autonomous vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), as well as various innovations in healthcare and remote communications (Tvnet.lv, November 13). To date, 5G (“fifth-generation”) networks operate, in some capacity, in more than 25 countries around the world. And with its ceremonial “launch” of 5G in July 2019, Latvia became one of the first European states to begin implementing this next-generation communication network for commercial and public use (Mfa.gov.lv, July 24, 2019).
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Economy, 5G
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Latvia
  • Author: Grigory Ioffe
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Popular narrative tropes are not always accurate predictors of how a story will ultimately develop. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the former presidential hopeful and a person believed by many to have won the presidential elections of August 9, is widely seen as a positive character in the unfolding Belarusian drama. Courageous and likable, she does her best to rally international support for the protest movement in her home country.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, Protests, Public Relations
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Belarus
  • Author: Paul A. Goble
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The Azerbaijani military’s use of Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), purchased from Turkey, played such a prominent role in Baku’s victory over Armenian forces during the Second Karabakh War (September 27–November 9, 2020) that defense analysts around the world are now focusing on how their countries may utilize similar unmanned systems and how they could respond if such drones are used against them (Regnum, accessed December 16; Ecfr.eu., November 24; see EDM, November 9). Notably, Azerbaijan employed its Bayraktars to identify and attack Armenian forces as well as to provide a real-time picture of the battlefield that was useful for both strategic planning and propaganda (see EDM, October 15). Now, Vadim Nozdrya, who heads the Ukrainian arms trade state committee Ukrspetseksport, has announced that Kyiv is prepared to purchase from Turkey 48 of these battle-tested UAVs (Milliyet), December 4). That news is undoubtedly prompting analysts in Moscow to consider how Ukraine could eventually use such drones to threaten Russian control of occupied Crimea or Donbas and what Moscow needs to do in response.
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Weapons , Drones, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan, Crimea, Mediterranean
  • Author: Virginia Atkinson, Meredith Applegate, Oleksandra Palagnyuk, Yullia Kryvinchuk, Zhozefina Daiier
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: Women, people with disabilities, internally displaced persons and the LGBTQ community often face discrimination and political exclusion. People who identify with more than one of these identities, such as women with disabilities or young people who are displaced, have unique experiences that are often not considered in the design and implementation of electoral and political activities. Intersectionality, or the interconnected nature of different social identities, is fundamentally about power and has a profound impact on understanding the dynamics of political inclusion and exclusion. To address barriers to meaningful participation and make their voices heard, it is crucial to identify, assess and develop contextualized solutions. In Ukraine, a vast number of dedicated civil society organizations (CSOs) and activists work diligently to push for equality and access to political life. However, obstacles to full and equal political participation remain across Ukraine. These obstacles are even more significant for people with multiple social identities, who face unique experiences of discrimination. CSOs representing different identity groups are generally not yet coordinating or building coalitions to advocate for joint causes, and the experiences of those facing compounding discrimination are often not considered by political decision-makers. A new assessment from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) identifies vulnerabilities that impact the political participation of these groups in Ukraine and opportunities for coalition-building. The Intersectionality Assessment of Political and Electoral Participation in Ukraine seeks to make conversations about electoral and political rights more deliberately inclusive of all Ukrainians. It provides targeted recommendations for decision-makers at all levels of government, national CSOs and international organizations. The assessment is available in English and Ukrainian.
  • Topic: Minorities, Women, Displacement, Disability, LGBT+, Participation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Barbara Blaszczyk
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: Poland’s new Employee Capital Plans (PPK) scheme, which is mandatory for employers, started to be implemented in July 2019. The article looks at the systemic solutions applied in the programme from the perspective of the concept of the simultaneous reconstruction of the retirement pension system. The aim is to present arguments for and against the project from the point of view of various actors, and to assess the chances of success for the new system. The article offers a detailed study of legal solutions, an analysis of the literature on the subject, and reports of institutions that supervise pension funds. The results of this analysis point to the lack of cohesion between certain solutions of the 1999 pension reform and expose a lack of consistency in how the reform was carried out, which led to the eventual removal of the capital part of the pension system. The study shows that additional saving for old age is advisable in the country’s current demographic situation and necessary for both economic and social reasons. However, the systemic solutions offered by the government appear to be chiefly designated to serve short-term state interests and do not create sufficient incentives for pension plan participants to join the programme.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Social Policy, Capital
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Poland
  • Author: Dragos Adascalitei, Cornel Ban
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Business and Development Studies (CBDS), Copenhagen Business School
  • Abstract: The East-Central European countries that joined the EU in the 2000s are the unsung success of economic development. This paper discusses the consolidation of an export-led growth model in this region by drawing on an alternative school of thought to Varieties of Capitalism: growth regimes. By focusing on three distinct time periods (2000-2008, 2008-2012 and 2012-2019), it shows that despite marginal shifts towards consumption-led growth through personal debt or wage increases, the core of the region’s economic model continues to be heavily dependent on exports. Combining IPE and CPE analytical frameworks, we show that the consolidation of the CEE export-led model has both systemic and national roots. Specifically, we argue that growing international competition from Asia in the beginning of 2000s has forced firms in Western economies to seek alternative sources of competitiveness that involved a mix of wage moderation at home and expansion towards the East. The internationalization of Western firms met capital hungry Eastern governments, which were all too happy to use FDI to restore the competitiveness of their outdated SOEs. Backed by a social bloc that involved domestic and foreign capital as well as workers in the tradeable sectors, the export-led growth model took off and generated growth rates well above those in core countries. The 2000s also saw an increase in debt fueled consumption, that partially compensated for the lack of wage growth in the region. The crisis provided an opportunity to put an end to hybridization and to reinforce the export-led component of growth through short-term austerity measures and deeper labor market reforms. These changes consolidated the export-led model that remained in place even amidst political reconfigurations that, at least rhetorically, aimed to fight the economic dependency of the region on FDI. After the crisis ended, however, the closing of the debt-finance consumption channel combined with the German export boom to the rest of the world and local demographic decline to put upwards pressure on wage-financed consumption increases without inflationary or external balance problems. Yet despite historically low spreads in the region’s bond markets, this did not count as a full Kaleckian turn, however, with the region’s contribution of consumption to GDP growth remaining far below both consumption-led growth regimes and balanced ones.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Foreign Direct Investment, Economic Growth, Exports, State-Owned Enterprises, Consumerism
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Central Europe
  • Author: Sven Sakkov
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, most of Europe went on a “strategic holiday”. The West had won and the future was bright. Even the fact that at its weakest the Russian Federation was still able to create frozen conflicts at its borders did not dent this optimism. Defence spending in Eu- rope was plummeting throughout the 1990s, and all the way to 2014. NATO’s prevailing paradigm changed from being a collective defence organi- sation more to something of a collective security actor, with many main missions and a plethora of partnerships. After the shock of 9/11, the Alliance focused on counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan. Military capabilities required to fight a modern near-peer adversary atrophied even further. In this context, some Allies did not take their eyes off Russia – primarily Poland and the Baltic States. Yet they were perceived by major Western Allies as nuisances requiring psychological counselling, as countries who had been traumatised by their harsh history and hence had become incapable of embracing this new reality of partnership with Rus- sia. Even the Russian military aggression against Georgia in 2008 did not change that Zeitgeist. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented her “reset” button to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov just seven months after Russian tanks rolled into Georgia.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, Eastern Europe, North America, Northern Europe
  • Author: Artur Kovalchuk, Charles Kenny, Mallika Snyder
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper examines the impact of Ukraine’s ambitious procurement reform on outcomes amongst a set of procurements that used competitive tendering. The ProZorro system placed all of the country’s government procurement online, introduced an auction approach as the default procurement method, and extended transparency. The reform was introduced with a dramatic increase in the proportion of government procurement that was conducted competitively. This paper examines the impact of ProZorro and reform on contracts that were procured competitively both prior to and after the introduction of the new system. It finds some evidence of impact of the new system on increasing the number of bidders, cost savings, and reduced contracting times.
  • Topic: Governance, Reform, Procurement, Contracts
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Kremlin is trying to learn lessons from old problems regarding its electoral authoritarian system, but new ones are constantly emerging. At the heart of these is the Kremlin’s party system.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, Election watch, Local, Party System
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Along with Vladimir Putinʼs third presidential term, intensified repression has manifested itself in line with the countryʼs increasing economic challenges. The starting point for this political trend was the so-called Bolotnaya Affair in May 2012. Since then, the regime has tightened the screws: non-governmental organizations receiving foreign funding must register as ‘foreign agents’; there are numerous restrictions on the use of the internet, as well as conditions for organizing demonstrations. The regimeʼs policies aim to send signals to the rest of society about the serious consequences that unwanted political and civic activities might cause. However, measures become inflated when the repressive deterrent targets too many. By 2019, along with the changed social mood, unparalleled solidarity against repressive policies, particularly around the regional elections in Moscow, has forced the authorities to retreat from some of their initial repressive goals. The Kremlin duly has to re-evaluate the usage of its repressive deterrent against the political opposition and civil society.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Elections, Repression, Fear, Opposition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Robert E. Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The war in the eastern Ukrainian region known as the Donbas has killed over 13,000 people, displaced millions, and led to the worst rupture in relations between the Russian Federation and the West since the end of the Cold War. The war was caused by inherent cleavages in Ukrainian society, combined with clumsy and self-interested intervention by outside powers. The war’s effects on Ukraine have been profound: the collapse of the post-Soviet Ukrainian political elite; billions of dollars in direct and indirect losses to the Ukrainian economy; a wholesale restructuring of the Ukrainian armed forces; social dislocation and psychological trauma; and unprecedented environmental damage. Despite these sad legacies, there are reasons to be optimistic that a settlement to the conflict is in view. The exhaustion and frustration of people in the separatist-controlled regions, Russia’s changing policy on the war—at least in part a result of rising frustration among the Russian public—and the election of a new Ukrainian government without regional ties or ties to networks of oligarchs all contribute to the possibility of peace. But in order for peace to endure after the war, the Ukrainian state must construct a broad-based, civic national identity, and it must tackle the country’s endemic corruption. The international community must be engaged in both crafting a settlement to the war and helping Ukraine deal with its consequences. External observers may be inclined to point to social division and corruption as the internal causes of the war, and argue that Ukraine has to fix itself before the outside world can intervene to help. And this is true as far as it goes. But it is also true that the outside world contributed to the start of war in Ukraine by making the country the object in a geopolitical tussle between Russia and the West. Any honest accounting of the war’s history must acknowledge this fact. And any fair treatment of Ukraine after the war should seek to compensate it through significant, long-term assistance.
  • Topic: War, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Separatism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: For more than half a decade Ukraine has been one of epicenters on the map of geopolitical crises in the world and consequently drawn a lot of international attention worldwide. Ever since it gained its independence form the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine was a of the country also changed. Ukraine has been dominated by Russia as the Russian Empire penetrated deep toward the Black Sea in the 17th century, and the position of inferiority towards Moscow was also the case in the USSR. The first upheaval dubbed the Orange Revolution sort of buffer zone between the West and East, between the United States and European allies on the one hand, and the Russian Federation on the other. With the change of political elites and their political preferences, the orientation in 2004, brought to power Viktor Yushchenko, who tried to conduct reforms and bring Ukraine closer to the West, but the effect of his Presidency were ephemeral. President Viktor Yanukovych turned Ukraine’s sight towards Russia again, but also kept the process of EU association alive before suddenly deciding not to sign the Association Agreement with the EU just days before the planned signing ceremony on 29th November 2013. This Yanukovych’s abrupt turn from EU in favor of stronger ties with Russia triggered the wave of massive public demonstrations which later become known as the Euromaidan and subsequently the Ukrainian revolution in February 2014. The Euromaidan Revolution toppled Yanukovych and the new pro-Western government was formed. Russia soon reacted to the change of tide in Ukraine by annexing the Crimean peninsula in March and soon the armed conflict between the pro- Western government in Kiev and Russia backed rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts broke out. Ever since the spring of 2014, Ukraine has been engulfed in a brutal conflict in the east of the country that is hampering its efforts to reform and get closer to the EU. Nonetheless, Ukrainian leadership is under the new President Volodymir Zelensky is striving to forge stronger links with the West and the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Crimea
  • Author: Yvonni-Stefania Efstathiou, Connor Hannigan, Lucie béraud-Sudreau
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Between March and November 2018, the 25 participating member states launched 34 projects, with the core aim of addressing the EU’s capability shortfalls. In May 2019, a call for a third round of project proposals will be launched. The IISS undertook an early assessment of how PESCO projects are carried out, to assess whether the momentum on the ground has continued since the projects were announced at the political level. A strong pace of implementation would require detailed timelines, deadlines and financial plans, as well as clear links with EU capability requirements. Questionnaires were sent to the projects’ country leads, and were complemented by interviews and secondary-source research. We looked at various dimensions of implementation: timelines, financial commitments, stakeholder involvement and the projects’ relation to strategic autonomy. The results are mixed. While some projects are off to a strong start, there are common challenges for all
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Brussels, Central Europe, Western Europe
  • Author: Maciej Bałtowski, Piotr Kozarzewski
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The paper discusses the role of the state in shaping an economic system which is, in line with the welfare economics approach, capable of performing socially important functions and achieving socially desirable results. We describe this system through a set of indexes: the IHDI, the World Happiness Index, and the Satisfaction of Life index. The characteris-tics of the state are analyzed using a set of variables which describe both the quantitative (government size, various types of governmental expenditures, and regulatory burden) and qualitative (institutional setup and property rights protection) aspects of its functioning. The study examines the “old” and “new” member states of the European Union, the post-communist countries of Eastern Europe and Asia, and the economies of Latin America. The main conclusion of the research is that the institutional quality of the state seems to be the most important for creation of a socially effective economic system, while the level of state interventionism plays, at most, a secondary and often negligible role. Geographical differentiation is also discovered, as well as the lack of a direct correlation between the characteristics of an economic system and the subjective feeling of well-being. These re-sults may corroborate the neo-institutionalist hypothesis that noneconomic factors, such as historical, institutional, cultural, and even genetic factors, may play an important role in making the economic system capable to perform its tasks; this remains an area for future research.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economy, Economic Growth, State, Economic Policy, Institutions, Trade, Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, European Union
  • Author: Saliha Metinsoy
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: Why does the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assign more stringent labor conditions in some cases and not others? This paper argues that the Fund’s bureaucratic organizational culture and neoliberal economic beliefs dictate its interpretation of international economics and predict the stringency of labor conditions in its programs. Particularly, the Fund staff envisage that lower unit labor costs would indirectly increase competitiveness, boost exports, and contribute to the balance of payments in fixed exchange rate regimes, where currency depreciation is not possible. To this end, the Fund assigns more stringent labor conditions in fixed regimes compared to floating ones. To test this theory, the paper uses a mixed method. It firstly demonstrates the association between exchange rate regimes and the stringency of labor conditions in Fund programs in a global sample. It then complements this analysis by showing particular organizational habits and beliefs at work in two cases, namely in Latvia and Hungary in 2008 under their respective IMF programs. Furthermore, the paper shows that distribution of income away from labor groups (i.e. lowered wages) is in fact by design in IMF programs in an attempt to increase competitiveness in fixed regimes.
  • Topic: Economics, International Monetary Fund, International Development, Neoliberalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Hungary, Latvia
  • Author: Valérie Mignon, Antonia Lopez-Villavicencio
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: This paper assesses whether the emergence of new trading partners (i.e., China and Eastern Europe) as suppliers reduces the exchange rate pass-through (ERPT) in Eurozone countries which differ regarding their external exposure. Using bilateral data on import prices at the two-digit sector level, we find that (i) pass-through is complete in many cases, (ii) ERPT from China is higher than from the United States, and (iii) there is no compelling evidence of a generalized link between ERPT and the increasing integration of some emerging markets in European imports. We also show that the launch of the single currency has not provoked a sufficient change in the part of trade exposed to exchange rate fluctuations and, therefore, has not affected the pass-through. Overall, the trend of liberalization in new players' markets has not altered the competitive environment such as to induce exporters of other countries to absorb exchange rate depreciations.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Exchange Rate Policy, Eurozone, Trade, Imports
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Edward C. Chow, Andrew J. Stanley
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: After the Soviet Union collapsed and Russia was roiled by political and economic chaos, many state-owned assets were privatized based on political connections and corrupt practices. The oil sector was a particularly attractive, but by no means the only, target for these privatizations. By the end of the 1990s, almost all of Russia’s oil production was privately owned. In spite of continued nontransparency, the oil sector began to resemble a competitive market with private investors introducing Western technology, financial accounting, and operating and management practices. It also started to attract major foreign investments. The remaining state oil assets were managed by a sleepy state enterprise named Rosneft that, in spite of its name (Russian Oil), produced less than 5 percent of Russia’s oil. Today, majority state-owned Rosneft produces almost half of Russia’s oil. Its daily oil production of 4.6 million barrels, according to its last reported quarterly results, is double that of the world’s largest oil company by market capitalization, ExxonMobil, which last reported daily liquids production of 2.3 million barrels. Rosneft’s rapid rise coincided with the rule of Vladimir Putin, who first became president of Russia in 2000. Its production increases were built largely on the backs of controversial acquisitions of assets previously held by private companies such as Yukos, TNK-BP, and Bashneft. Rosneft’s acquisition spree accelerated after Putin’s close associate and Russia’s then-deputy prime minister Igor Sechin became chairman of its board of directors in 2004. Sechin left government in 2012 to take over as Rosneft’s chief executive officer. Rosneft’s board of directors is now chaired by former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Rosneft’s transformation as Russia’s national oil champion is consistent with Putin’s policy of regaining state control over the commanding heights of the Russian economy, which is more reliant on oil income today than the Soviet Union ever was. Rosneft is Russia’s largest taxpayer and contributed a quarter of government revenue in 2014. Until recently, Rosneft concentrated mainly on consolidating its dominance over the domestic oil patch. It is also Russia’s leading refiner and is increasing natural gas production for direct sales to domestic gas users, producing 67 billion cubic meters in 2016. In 2014, Russia was hit by the twin shocks of a global oil price collapse and Western economic sanctions enacted after its aggression against Ukraine in the Donbas region and annexation of Crimea. These developments affected Rosneft severely since it involved the value of the commodity it produces and sells and restricted Rosneft’s access to international financing when it was heavily indebted from the aforementioned acquisitions. A normal company might hunker down, repair its balance sheet, and wait for external conditions to improve. Instead Rosneft has done the exact opposite and expanded its international business aggressively. As part of the 2014 U.S.-led sanction efforts, Igor Sechin, as the leading figure of Russia’s largest petroleum company and his having “shown utter loyalty to Vladimir Putin,” was directly sanctioned. Further Russian sanctions enacted by Congress in 2017 called on the U.S. Department of the Treasury to submit a detailed report on senior political figures, oligarchs, and parastatal entities as determined by their “closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth.” While the unclassified version of the report released to Congress on January 29 included Igor Sechin, the report was poorly received and largely regarded as nothing more than a “rich list” by Russian experts. However, the report also contains classified annexes, including a list of parastatal entities and supporting analysis, which by definition would have included Rosneft. Although Rosneft’s rapid international expansion is too recent to assess definitely, this paper describes some of Rosneft’s overseas ventures and explores possible motivations, economic and political, behind them.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Foreign Direct Investment, Sanctions, Gas, Transparency, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Olga Oliker
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Religious violence is surely as old as both faith and fighting themselves. In the Russian Federation, as elsewhere in the world, religious teachings and philosophies are used both to justify and combat violence. But what forms does this take, and with what implications for Russian society, Russian policy, and Russia's future? This volume examines the many ways in which religion and violence intersect in Russia, and offers recommendations for both policymakers and scholars as they chart paths forward. Presenting the results of original research by collaborative teams of Russian and western authors, it takes on topics from violent radical Islamic jihadism to religious propaganda employed by violent right-wing groups; from repression of religious communities to conflict within religious confessions. In each case, it offers not only new analysis, but prospective policy solutions to make Russia and Russians of all religions (and no religion) safer and more secure.
  • Topic: Religion, Violent Extremism, Violence, Repression, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Sagatom Saha, Ilya Zaslavskiy
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A prerequisite for Ukraine’s economic and political success is reform of its energy sector. Enduring corruption and mismanagement in the energy sector have generated pernicious budget deficits, eroded sovereignty, jeopardized energy security, and limited economic potential. Although all post-Soviet states have encountered obstacles in transitioning to market economies, Ukraine has been remarkably slow to introduce market reforms, and its sclerotic energy sector is at the center of its economic dys- function. Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Orange Revolution, and nine International Mon- etary Fund (IMF) loans conditional on reform, Ukraine’s energy sector remains a drain on taxpayers, a playground for corrupt oligarchs, and an unattractive destination for international investment. However, Ukraine now has a small but important window of opportunity. The 2014 Euromaidan Revolution—the series of pro-European demonstrations that culminated in Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s removal—provided a mandate and framework for energy reform. Beginning in 2015, Ukraine moved to cut implicit subsidies on natural gas, adopted laws to restructure the state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz, and halted imports of Russian gas. These advances are welcome news not only for Ukraine, but also for the United States. A prosper- ous and energy-secure Ukraine, capable of standing up to Russian interventionism, would advance U.S. foreign policy objectives in the region. Recognizing this, Washington already provides technical, financial, and military assistance to Kiev.1 The United States has focused particularly on encouraging Ukraine’s energy-sector reforms, last year tasking the State Department with promoting the country’s energy security with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Unfortunately, Ukraine’s energy-sector reforms to date do not go far enough. To achieve lasting reform, Ukraine must curtail its population-wide subsidies, reinforce the independence of its energy regulator, and dismantle the monopolies that exist in every segment of the natural gas sector. The benefits that would result from these steps are manifold. End consumers would enjoy better energy services and lower prices; the domestic energy sector would create high-skilled jobs and boost eco- nomic output; and the government would secure new revenue streams that could bolster national priorities such as defense and social services. Further reforms in Ukraine’s energy sector could mean the difference between economic growth at the current sluggish rate of 2 percent and reaching 6 percent or more, which some experts suggest is possible.2 Ultimately, Ukraine will be the arbiter of its own success in energy-sector reform. But the United States can and should do more to help it achieve politically and technically complex reforms. Apply- ing greater diplomatic pressure, providing technical assistance, and offering targeted financial in- centives—and disincentives—could speed the pace of Ukraine’s reform efforts. The Donald J. Trump administration, which has not yet articulated a clear strategy toward the country, should place energy-sector reform at the center of its relationship with Ukraine. Doing so would constitute a low-risk, high-reward strategy for Washington to counter Moscow’s influence at the North Atlan- tic Treaty Organization (NATO) border without overcommitting to military options and antagoniz- ing Russia. Moreover, by helping Ukraine reform its energy sector, the Trump administration may create opportunities for trade in energy equipment and services, advancing its strategy of U.S. en- ergy dominance.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Reform, Gas
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Diego A. Ruiz Palmer
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Russia’s Zapad 17 large-scale exercise, staged in September 2017 in cooperation with Belarus, as part of their combined operational grouping of forces, attracted unprecedented attention in the West. Widespread interest in Zapad 17 reflected a deepening concern even before its conduct that the exercise’s actual purpose and scale did not correspond to the troop size and objective announced by Russia, namely 12,700 Russian and Belarussian troops involved in fighting a postulated terrorist threat. Instead, by all accounts, Zapad 17 was much larger in scale than notified by Russia (60,000-70,000 troops versus 12,700) and oriented to fighting and defeating a capable adversary.1 Zapad 17 was only the latest Russian exercise to generate similar concerns.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Tobias Aust
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Th e year 2014 marked an infl ection point in NATO‘s relations with Russia after the Cold War: Moscow moved from a potential “strategic partner to a strategic competitor.”2 With the illegal annexation of Crimea, the intervention in the Ukraine, and the continued intimidation of NATO member states, Russia violated central principles of the Euro-Atlantic security order, such as the inviolability of frontiers and the non-use of force.3 Th is in turn has led to calls in NATO for reinforced deterrence, especially from East Europe, while other NATO allies have argued for concurrent dialogue with Moscow.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Lynn Granola
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Harriman Institute
  • Abstract: David Caute, in The Dancer Defects, a wide-ranging volume about the Cold War struggle for supremacy in many realms of cultural activity, devotes his one chapter on dance to the high-profile defections that, beginning with Rudolf Nureyev’s “leap to freedom” in 1961, captured so many headlines. But as we will see in the next two days, there was more – far more – to the story than defections and far more even than ballet, although ballet certainly played a big part in Cold War battles for supremacy. Musicals like West Side Story and dances like the Twist belonged as much to the Cold War imaginary as events at the Bolshoi or the old Met that began with the playing of national anthems and even, on occasion, the display of national flags. Movie theaters and television were also battlegrounds, with millions of Americans tuning in to the Ed Sullivan Show for their first glimpse of real Russian dancers. Although the United States and the USSR were the main protagonists of the Cold War, they were not its only ones. The ideological struggle that was said to pit capitalist freedom against communist oppression took place on many fronts and involved allies, clients, and surrogates of those countries in different parts of the world. The two powers dueled at festivals in Africa, Western Europe, and the Middle East. Master teachers and choreographers were dispatched, and students sent to metropoles. Companies large and small embarked on long tours, spreading the gospel of dance along with a dose of ideology, earning foreign currency for their governments or budget relief for themselves, and contributing to the international visibility of the dance boom. Many breathed a sigh of relief when they returned home, but over the years the exposure to other repertories and other training regimes could be felt in the globalization of works, performance styles, and techniques. In the Cold War struggle for hearts and minds, people outside the corridors of power played a huge part. When the Moiseyev Dance Ensemble first toured the United States, the dancers were mobbed when they bought teddy bears for their children; Americans invited them home, believing that people-to-people diplomacy was the way to peace. Dancers were diplomats; in their dresses and pumps they met artists and dignitaries. They performed in opera houses and on improvised stages, giving full-scale performances and lecture- demonstrations – sometimes to people who had never glimpsed ballet or modern dance before, or witnessed performances by a company of African- American virtuosi. At a time before mass air travel, they traversed oceans and continents, encountered strange foods, languages, and customs. They became members of a global dance culture. The cultural Cold War has become a minor cottage industry. But when Naima Prevots published Dance for Export: Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War in 1998, it was the first book to examine the phenomenon with respect to dance. Since then a number of scholars have followed in her footsteps, and several will be giving papers on their work at this symposium. Dancing the Cold War had its inception two years ago when the late and sorely missed Catharine Nepomnyashchy and I curated a symposium on Russian movement cultures of the 1920s and 1930s. The event was multidisciplinary in that it prominently featured both visual iconography and film. This time, in addition to film, photographs, and memorabilia, we will be hearing from dancers from ten US companies who took part in multiple Cold War tours, as well as Soviet-trained artists who have pursued post-Cold War careers outside Russia. We are also fortunate in being able to share Cold War images from the remarkable collection of Robert Greskovic and to show a film of Balanchine’s Western Symphony, specially loaned to us by the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, which was made in Paris in 1956 with Cold War dollars. Tonight we begin with another Cold War film, Plisetskaya Dances, about the legendary Bolshoi ballerina, Maya Plisetskaya. It was made in 1964 by Moscow’s Central Documentary Film Studio and introduces us to the star who blazed so brightly over the international dance firmament. In Moscow she danced Swan Lake for innumerable foreign leaders, including Fidel Castro (shown on the symposium program and poster after a performance). Abroad she danced it to ecstatic crowds. We know from her memoir, I, Maya Plisetskaya, that her path was not easy. Her father was killed in the late 1930s, and she danced her first Dying Swan (or something that approximated it) at an outdoor concert in the city of Chimkent before an audience of political exiles, including her mother. She was denied permission to take part in the Bolshoi’s 1956 tour of London because one of her father’s brothers had settled in New York, had children, and grown prosperous. None of this appears in the film, of course. What you see instead is the magnificent Bolshoi ballerina, with her outsized temperament and splendid jumps, a dancer who had scaled the heights of international fame but remained at heart deeply Russian.
  • Topic: Cold War, Arts, Culture, Dance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Soviet Union, Cuba, North America
  • Author: Robert Barić
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Recent Polish proposal for financing permanent US military presence in Poland isn't motivated only to counter current Russian aggressive posture. This offer is a part of a wider Poland strategy for achieving long term security. In pursuing this strategy, Warsaw risks not only to undermine NATO cohesion, but also to deepen growing East-West divide inside the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Imperialism, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Ljubica Nedelkoska
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Over the past few decades, migration from developing to developed countries was often viewed as 'brain drain', as talented workers were forced out of their home countries due to lack of competitive opportunities. The population that left these countries and settled in the more economically advanced parts of the world have, over time, acquired financial capital and built social networks within host countries. Hence, while the home countries were still suffering from the scarcity of knowhow, significant shares of their populations began to actively engage in more productive economies. It seems that, through migration, developing countries had unexpectedly created significant networks of human and financial capital abroad. But are these foreign networks transferring knowhow back to their home countries? It turns out that those same reasons that induced the economic migration in the first place, often make it difficult for migrants to engage afterwards. What would happen, however, if a large proportion of these diasporas was forced to return back to their home country - would that lead to knowhow transfer? Our study investigates the impact of such an abrupt return migration wave between Greece and Albania.
  • Topic: Development, Migration, Labor Issues, Developing World, Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Greece, Albania
  • Author: Stepan Grigoryan, Hasmik Grigoryan
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." With the growing tension between East and West, and with the rejection by Russia of common international rules, the question how the post-Soviet states should construct their foreign relations remains of utmost importance. Armenia, a landlocked country in the South Caucasus, has yet to accomplish its transition from socialism to democracy and market economy. Moreover, efforts along these lines have regressed, and the authorities do little to implement reforms or to establish a healthy system of checks and balances. In recent months the country has been overwhelmed by protests. The authorities neither address domestic problems nor satisfy protestor demands. Instead the Armenian government frequently resorts to disproportionate use of police forces against peaceful protestors. With political prisoners and hundreds of detained civil activists, journalists and politicians, it will be impossible to build an independent and prosperous country. Armenia has a rich history and culture, but at the same time it has experienced dark historical periods. The Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict shape Armenian identity. However, such historical issues have been instrumentalized by the Armenian government. Instead of building the future, Armenian authorities emphasize the past. Policies based on past grievances lead the Armenian government to become more and more dependent on Russia. Armenia needs to tackle corruption, falsified elections, a corrupt judiciary and many other problems -- and Western partners whose efforts are based on democratic values, free and fair elections, and respect towards human rights have a crucial role to play. This chapter offers background on Armenia's relations with various actors, historical matters that shape Armenian identity, and the failure and lack of will to improve the country's current situation. It then discusses the role of the West and its importance for Armenia. We seek to answer why Armenia slowed down its reform efforts, what the West needs to do to improve the situation in Armenia.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Genocide, International Cooperation, Reform, Political Prisoners, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Armenia, European Union
  • Author: Thomas de Waal
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." Twenty five years after Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia became independent states, the South Caucasus remains a strategically sensitive region between Europe and Asia, Russia and the Middle East. It is still struggling with the legacy of the conflicts that broke out as the Soviet Union collapsed. Economic development lags behind its neighbors and unemployment and emigration are enduring problems.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Territorial Disputes, Foreign Aid, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Syria, South Caucasus, United States of America
  • Author: Anar Valiyev
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." Since gaining independence twenty-five years ago, Azerbaijan has pursued three major foreign policy goals: resolution of the Karabakh conflict based on the territorial integrity of the country; preservation of its own independence and security; and finally becoming the major regional player by using its energy and geographical positions. Azerbaijan’s foreign policy actions may be considered a kind of “silent diplomacy,” which Baku is using to gradually develop Azerbaijan’s role in the region, playing off of contradictions among other powers. During this time, Baku has taken some bold actions that indicate its policy is not dependent on regional powers and that its interests are to be taken into account. Today, looking at the fast-changing situation in the region, we can conclude that none of these goals have been fulfilled completely. In fact, the country is perhaps facing more challenges than before. The Karabakh conflict remains one of the most problematic issues. In terms of security and trade, Azerbaijan is still struggling to find its place in the mosaic of such institutions as the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union. In addition, the sudden drop in oil prices and the inability of the country to create a diverse economy has become another headache for the political establishment. Moreover, the lack of needed investments decreases the chances that the country will become a regional hub. This chapter reviews current problems challenging the country and recommends ways the transatlantic community can deal with Baku on pressuring issues.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Oil, Territorial Disputes, Economic structure
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan, South Caucasus, European Union
  • Author: Zurab Gaiparashvili
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: First Universal Democratic Elections in Independent Georgia offers a detailed overview of the first national democratic elections conducted in the Republic of Georgia in 1919. These elections served as an acknowledgement of Georgia's independence, which gave it autonomy for the next three years. The book portrays the spirit of multiculturalism being practiced in the lead up to and during the elections, through the development of campaign materials in several languages, such as Georgian, Farsi, Armenian and Russian, as well as allocating special quotas. It also reflects on how various ethnic groups were encouraged to represent their respective communities, with the participation of the Greek’s Democratic Party in elections offered as an example. The first democratic elections proved to be successful in creating gender parity for women and men of Georgia. Other impressive aspects of these elections were how well structured reimbursement procedures were developed for parties and other procedures were conducted professionally, practicing the principles of equality, accessibility and accountability. The book enables readers to get an insight into how Georgia’s newly established government tried to embark on an endeavor to build a democratic state, which would ensure prosperity and equality for its people. It also sheds a light on how advanced Georgian state bodies were in the first half of the 20th century, as the country strived for independence and development while being surrounded by the Russian and Ottoman empires. Representation and engagement of women and ethnic minority groups also serves as a best practice for that period. The book offers a wide range of visual materials, which provide a better understanding of processes and circumstances of not just elections, but the general political situation in the country and contains documentary materials and historical photos.
  • Topic: Multiculturalism, Elections, Democracy, Diversity
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Erica Shein, Chad Vickery, Heather Szilagyi, Julia Brothers
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: his report details findings from an IFES Abuse of State Resources Assessment conducted in Georgia following October 2016 elections. This assessment served as the pilot test of the Abuse of State Resources Research and Assessment Framework assessment methodology, which was researched, developed, and peer-reviewed under the Global Elections and Political Transitions mechanism supported by the United States Agency for International Development. Using this methodology, the report draws on detailed desk research as well as a field research mission to Georgia in May 2017. Findings are focused on abuse of state resources (ASR) legal provisions, oversight institutions and enforcement mechanisms. ASR violations are a consistent feature of national and municipal elections in Georgia, and assessment interlocutors see the participation of civil servants in campaign activities as one of the most significant challenges. Also of concern is the perceived over-staffing of public service departments and legal entities of public law, especially at the local level. This report aims to provide actionable recommendations for improving the ASR environment in Georgia. The report focuses on three principles for detecting, deterring and remedying ASR abuses in a manner commensurate with international standards. Principle 1 evaluates the legal framework for addressing three potential avenues for ASR: state personnel, state funds and physical resources, and official government communications. Principle 2 focuses on oversight of the ASR legal framework by independent institutions. Principle 3 analyzes the effective enforcement of sanctions and penalties. The methodology applied for this assessment also acknowledges the need to account for contextual factors may impact the ASR in elections. As such, the report provides a narrative overview of challenges related to the public service framework, campaign finance framework, civil society oversight and advocacy, media environment and public information, and public procurement in Georgia. Based on in-depth analysis of each of the areas described above, the report offers detailed recommendations to strengthen the legal framework with an emphasis on clarifying the rights and responsibilities of civil servants, ensuring that ASR sanctions and penalties achieve a deterrent effect, and clarifying mandates of oversight and enforcement bodies.
  • Topic: Corruption, Elections, Voting, Election Interference , Rigged Elections
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Eastern Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Renata Karkowska
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The goal of this study is to identify empirically how country-level development, taking into account the financial and macroeconomic environment, affect the risk profiles of the banking sector in Europe. Through a dataset that covers 3,399 European banks spanning the period 1996-2011, and the methodology of panel regression, the empirical findings document the heterogeneity of banking risk determinants. I examine the implications of bank leverage that manifest itself as spreading and growing instability. The study contributes to and combines the different strands of literature and understanding of the importance of the links between the variables. It also contributes to the literature by focusing on a group of countries from Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States that have not been studied before. The extended model provides a causal link between risk in the banking sector and the growth of the financial market and macroeconomy. I apply four measures of country-level development that are available in previous studies: share of foreign ownership in the banking sector; the financial freedom index; the real growth rate; and stock market capitalization. Using these measures, I obtain different results which highlight the fact that the effect of macroeconomic and financial development on banking sector risk-taking is ambiguous.
  • Topic: Financial Markets, Economic Growth, Banks, Trade Liberalization, Macroeconomics, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, European Union
  • Author: Jakub Zowczak, Kamil Pruchnik
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyze how different models of transformation in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) increased or decreased the risk of being stuck in the middle-income trap (MIT). The key finding is that the CEE and CIS countries are, from a definition point of view, not materially at risk of the MIT as out of nine selected MIT definitions, none of the CEE or CIS countries were “stuck” more than three times. At the same time, the CEE countries are more at risk of falling into the MIT than the CIS countries; however this is because the CIS is a poorer region and is not near the lower MIT thresholds. The CEE countries had a better start at the beginning of the transformation and on average implemented a better set of transformation models; however, some CEE countries are now struggling to permanently join the advanced countries and CIS countries are, on average, far behind that. The literature review on transformation models and the analysis of the “jumps” in the World Bank ranking classification suggest that while the MIT is not a concern for CEE or CIS countries, in order to speed up convergence, CIS countries might consider more shocks and consistently following free market related approaches. The study fills a gap in the literature on the MIT which has thoroughly analyzed the Asian and Latin American countries but has provided little analysis of the CEE and CIS countries.
  • Topic: Finance, Economic Growth, Economic Policy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe
  • Author: Samuel Knafo, Benno Teschke
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: Marxism has often been associated with two different legacies. The first rests on a strong exposition and critique of the logic of capitalism, which has been grounded in a systematic analysis of the laws of motion of capitalism as a system. The second legacy refers to a strong historicist perspective grounded in a conception of social relations and an emphasis on the centrality of power and social conflict to analyse history. In this article, we challenge the prominence of structural accounts of capitalism, which are inspired by the first of these legacies and argue for the need to radicalize the agent-centered and historicist contribution of Marx that derive from the second. Our claim is that Marxists operating within a structural framework systematically fall into economistic readings of capitalism, which hinder the practice of historicisation Marxism was supposed to buttress. To make this argument, we show how this tension between these legacies has played out within Political Marxism (PM). We argue that both orientations – encapsulated in the simultaneous programmatic emphasis on historically specific social conflicts and determinate rules of reproduction that are logically deduced from definitive social property relations – co-existed already uneasily in Robert Brenner’s original contributions to the Transition Debate. We proceed by critically exploring the increasing reliance on a structural conception of the ‘rules of reproduction’ in later works of PM’s early proponents and by some of its contemporary followers. This, we argue, has led to the reification of capitalism and a growing divide between theoretical premises and historical explanation. In response, we seek to return to the early historicist innovation of PM and to recover and develop its commitment to a more contextualised and open-ended interpretation of social conflicts. Through this internal critique and re-formulation of PM, we wish to open a broader debate within Marxism on the need for a more agency-based account of capitalism, which builds more explicitly on the concept of social relations.
  • Topic: Economics, Socialism/Marxism, Capitalism
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Eastern Europe, Germany, Western Europe
  • Author: Jessica Ruch
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: A wife must listen to man and do as he says. She belongs to him now,” my colleague quietly translated as the young couple held hands before the priest. This wedding was just one personal experience of a Peace Corps volunteer in a southeast village, however, research shows systematic discrimination against women and a widespread prevalence of gender based violence (GBV) in Ukraine. The UN reports that 90% of violent cases are against women and though the government has introduced initiatives and ratified laws to prevent and protect against GBV, the country faces major obstacles inhibiting prevention and survivor protection. Domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence, sexualized violence, sexual harassment, and human trafficking are the four most pervasive types of GBV in Ukraine. Like many other countries, DV and IPV are taboo and veiled from public and private discussions in Ukraine. The myths encouraging victim blaming in family violence and normalization of violence is still widespread in society. Comprehensive DV data was not collected until the EU and UNDP’s 2009 study, which revealed that nearly 1/3 of adults experienced DV as children and 44% of women experienced DV in their lifetime. Men were more likely to experience DV as children, and women as adults. Seventy-five percent of DV survivors never sought help and only 1-2% contacted NGOs or social services. Information on the status and response to sexualized violence is vague and unsubstantiated. The Ukrainian government reports that service providers are trained to deliver physical and psychological care to sexual assault survivors, but the EU’s Gender Equality Commission concludes that there are no services which ensure immediate care, trauma support or counseling, nor are services free or accessible to all survivors. The NGO, Women Against Violence in Europe reports that there are no permanent centers supporting survivors of sexual assault.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Gender Based Violence , Sexual Violence, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Sean Clark
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Security and Development, Dalhousie University
  • Abstract: The central contention here is that Russia's outbursts of international hostility are a reflection of the very nature of the Putin regime. They can be explained as the conscious choice of a regime striving to maintain power, decisions conditioned in turn by deep-seated pathologies that limit the Kremlin's room for maneuver. What follows is a discussion of these constraints, as well as consideration how best to deal with them.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Territorial Disputes, Authoritarianism, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Eastern Europe, Crimea
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Symbolic ensembles that are often displayed in the public sphere by right-wing populists are “thick” in this sense. They include many inter-locked symbols that – in combination – allow for a narrower range of possible interpretations and thus attract a smaller, in this case right wing leaning group of people. They constitute the symbolic base of Polish thick populism, an exclusionary and polarizing political-cultural formation, that at the moment is supported by well over one third of the Polish population, controls the government, and slowly dismantles Polish liberal democracy.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Democracy, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland
  • Author: Jonathan Mijs, Michèle Lamont
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Citizens in countries that implemented more rigorous neoliberal policies over the last two decades (1990 to 2010) draw stronger symbolic boundaries between themselves and unwanted others. Based on publicly available data from the European Values Study, our research suggests that neoliberal policy implementation is intricately related to the ways in which citizens define worthiness. We find that in central and eastern Europe, the adoption of neoliberalism goes together with weakening boundaries toward ethnic others and a strengthening of animosity toward the poor, who are increasingly described as lazy and undeserving of government help. Conversely, in western Europe we find a weakening of boundaries toward the poor, but a strengthening of animosity toward ethno-religious others, Muslims in particular: citizens increasingly do not want Muslims as their neighbors. The trends we observe are supported by studies describing European citizens’ stance toward the (undeserving) poor, on the one side, and research on anti-immigrant sentiments, the rise of nativism, and the vote for extreme right parties, on the other. The contribution of our project is to offer a framework that describes these trends as two facets of symbolic boundaries and to link these to the uneven rate of implementation of neoliberal policies across European societies.
  • Topic: Poverty, Religion, Sociology, Neoliberalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Western Europe
  • Author: Andrew Rasiulis
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: In 2014, a war started in Ukraine that has led to a current death toll of approximately 8000 people. This war was the result of a climax of ongoing challenges in Eastern Europe in its transition from the post-Soviet era. While the region as a whole undertook divergent paths, with some states joining NATO and the EU, Ukraine has struggled for 25 years to find its bearing. Caught between its historical connections to both West and East, and a failure to solve the problem of an oligarchic based economy with a chronic national debt, Ukraine today is the focus of the search for stability in Eastern Europe. Canada and its NATO Allies are fully engaged in assisting Ukraine with its challenges of reform. The Minsk 2 process, established in early 2015, has stabilized the fighting, but a diplomatic resolution remains elusive. Faced with the prospect of either further war, frozen conflict or diplomatic resolution, Canada's new Liberal Government has the option to raise its diplomatic game and bring Canada's experience of ethnic and regional diversity to the negotiating table. Such a contribution to stability would well serve Canada's national interests.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Government, European Union, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Canada, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Hrvoje Butković, Višnja Samardžija
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The team of IRMO researchers has published a study about the nonstandard work in Croatia in the period since outbreak of the economic crisis, based on the desk research and the interviews. The study is focused on the activities of the trade unions and employers related to increase of the nonstandard work in the sectors of construction, metal industry, retail trade, public healthcare and agency work. The research was published within the project ‛PRECARIR – The rise of the dual labour market: fighting precarious employment in the new member states through industrial relations’ which IRMO implements as a partner from Croatia while it is coordinated by the Dublin City University (DCU). Together with nine other national studies it was published as a CELSI Research Report at the webpage of the CELSI institute from Bratislava. The study was reviewed by three scientific reviewers, and it will be presented at an international conference concerning the nonstandard work in Ljubljana on the 31st May 2016 and at the final conference of the PRECARIR project in Dublin 20th June 2016.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Health Care Policy, Unions, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Croatia, Southern Europe
  • Author: Janko Bekić, Marina Funduk
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: On 29 September 2015, representatives of twelve Central and Eastern European countries held the �irst exploratory meeting of the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea (ABB) Initiative, aimed at strengthening the political and economic cooperation of EU member states located between the three seas. The meeting was held in New York, on the sidelines of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, under the initiative of Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. The other heads of state attending the meeting were Polish president Andrzej Duda, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis and Bulgarian president Rosen Plevneliev. Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia dispatched ministers of foreign affairs, whereas Austria, Slovenia and the Czech Republic were represented on a lower level. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Atlantic Council think tank. Bolstering cooperation between Central European states on the north-south axis has been the declared foreign policy goal of Croatian president Grabar-Kitarović ever since she assumed of�ice in February 2015 . Bolstering cooperation between Central European states on the north-south axis has been the declared foreign policy goal of Croatian president Grabar-Kitarović ever since she assumed of�ice in February 2015. Since then, she has found a staunch ally in Polish president Duda, who took of�ice in August of that same year and stressed that he was striving for the creation of a partner bloc between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas. This development is noteworthy for two reasons: �irstly, it represents a widening of the foreign policies of their predecessors – Ivo Josipović of Croatia and Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland. In his �ive-year term, Josipović focused mainly on reinvigorating the ties among former Yugoslav republics, whereas Komorowski concentrated on aligning Warsaw’s interests with those of the European Union’s leading capitals, Berlin and London.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Croatia, Central Europe, Baltic Sea, Adriatic Sea, Black Sea
  • Author: Benjamin Selwyn
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: Global Value Chain (GVC) analysis is part and parcel of mainstream development discourse and policy. Supplier firms are encouraged, with state support, to ‘link-up’ with trans-national lead firms. Such arrangements, it is argued, will reduce poverty and contribute to meaningful socio-economic development. This portrayal of global political economic relations represents a ‘problem-solving’ interpretation of reality. This article proposes an alternative analytical approach rooted in ‘critical theory’ which reformulates the GVC approach to better investigate and explain the reproduction of global poverty, inequality and divergent forms of national development. It suggests re-labelling GVC as Global Poverty Chain (GPC) analysis. GPC’s are examined in the textiles, food, and high-tech sectors. The article details how workers in these chains are systematically paid less than their subsistence costs, how trans-national corporations use their global monopoly power to capture the lion’s share of value created within these chains, and how these relations generate processes of immiserating growth. The article concludes by considering how to extend GPC analysis.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Labor Issues, Inequality, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Author: Kimberly Marten
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: Kimberly Marten considers the role that freewheeling private militias have played, both in the war in eastern Ukraine and in Ukraine’s politics more generally. While militias supplemented the Ukrainian army’s firepower, especially in the early phase of the war, we know from the experience of other countries that autonomous armed groups can also challenge the authority of the state and undermine its efficacy. How might militias shape Ukraine political trajectory and shape its security?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Non State Actors, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Eastern Europe