Eastern Europe & Caucasus

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Snapshot,
Mark Galeotti

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has an invisible but pivotal dimension: intelligence. On this front, both Ukraine and the West are scrambling to counter Russia's vast advantage.

Snapshot,
Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson

Russian leaders often claim the United States reneged on a promise not to expand NATO after the Cold War. They aren't lying: although Washington never put a pledge in writing, U.S. officials worked hard to convince Moscow that NATO wouldn't move east. And in international politics, informal commitments count.

Letter From,
Alina Polyakova

A militant nationalist and a crook walk into a bar. It might sound like the beginning of a clichéd joke, but in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, the characters are all too real, and the “bar” is Electoral District 217 in the country’s capital, Kiev.

Response, Nov/Dec 2014
Michael McFaul; Stephen Sestanovich; John J. Mearsheimer

Responding to Mearsheimer's controversial essay blaming the West for the Ukraine crisis, McFaul and Sestanovich put the blame back on Putin and his ideological extremism, denying that NATO expansion provoked him. Mearsheimer replies.

Letter From,
Theresa Bond

A series of paradoxes, problems, and outright persecution, has turned life in Crimea -- a formerly popular vacation spot by the sea -- into a Kafkaesque nightmare.

Snapshot,
Annabelle Chapman

Under the leadership of Donald Tusk and Radek Sikorski, Poland played an important role in opposing Russian aggression. Their departure signals a new role for Polish foreign policy.

Letter From,
Balazs Jarabik

Residents of Ukraine are frustrated and anxious. Facing increasing economic hardship, they have little hope that things will get better. Indeed, things couldn’t get much worse.

Snapshot,
James Yan

Few countries in Asia are in a more precarious foreign policy position than the Republic of Azerbaijan. On the western shore of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan lies between two larger, stronger, and unfriendly countries -- Iran and Russia -- and Azerbaijan’s pro-Western bent has done little to endear the country to either neighbor.

Postscript,
Joshua Yaffa

Late last week in Minsk, negotiators representing Ukraine, the separatist forces, and Russia agreed to a ceasefire. If this deal holds -- plenty of earlier ceasefires have fallen apart as soon as they were signed -- then the active phase of fighting in eastern Ukraine will have come to end on terms favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Snapshot,
Eric Lorber

A Russia with a sophisticated military and a cratered economy would pose a substantial threat to its neighbors, especially since many of those neighbors possess large amounts of valuable natural resources. In other words, although sanctions may be intended to deter Russia from adventurism in its near abroad, they could end up doing just the opposite.

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