Post-Soviet Eurasia

Why the Conflict Over Nagorno-Karabakh Could Heat Up Again

The honeymoon is over for Armenia’s popular prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan. In addition to a series of problems at home, he has no choice but to deal with a perennial headache: the three-decades-old conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which dates back to the last years of the Soviet Union in 1988. […]

Russian Presidential Election: To the Victor, Stagnation

Putin will remain Russia’s strong man for another six years. But his muscle-flexing on the international stage is designed to divert attention from the country’s dismal economic outlook. A key feature of democratic elections, according to Polish-American political scientist Adam Przeworski, is their “institutionalized uncertainty”: Anyone can win. There is no question that Russia’s presidential […]

Moldova’s European Integration Is on Hold

In late November, the leaders of the European Union met with six Eastern Partnership countries in Brussels to review what has been achieved since their last summit in 2015. A matter of concern was the former symbol of hope: Moldova. Just a few years ago, Moldova used to be seen as success story of the […]

Georgia: Backsliding on Justice?

On 10 June 2017, thousands of Georgians protested on the streets of Tbilisi in support of two young rappers, members of the group Birja Mafia, who were arrested on drugs charges that they say were trumped up. The protests marked another step in Georgians’ decline in trust for their law enforcement system. Former President Mikheil […]

How Western Populism Weakens Democracy in Ukraine

Populism in Europe, and in the West generally, plays into the hands of anti-democratic forces in Ukraine – and supports Russia’s destabilizing influence. Europe’s rising populist surge threatens Ukraine’s democratic future. During the Euromaidan protests in 2013/2014 and their aftermath, when the anti-Yanukovych opposition came to power, some European media denounced what they described as […]

Picture: Cracked EU vs Russia flags. Ukrainian crisis conceptual image. Foto: Bröckelnde Flaggen der EU und Russland.

EU-Russia Sanctions: An Unsteady Deadlock

The European Union and Russia have been locked in an economic struggle over Ukraine for two years. With Donald Trump the next president of the United States, the West’s Russia policy might substantially change – and Europe’s Eastern policy is today more uncertain than ever. In July 2014, following Russia’s unilateral annexation of Crimea and […]

Voters outside a polling station for Kyrgyzstan's constitutional referendum, Bishkek, 27 June 2010 © OSCE/Alimjan Jorobaev

Asia’s Potemkin Democracies

Central Asia remains difficult terrain for democracy. Today democratic prospects for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan seem bleaker than ever. Central Asia is one of the most authoritarian regions in the world. Although there are substantial differences among the five “stans” in terms of government and freedoms allowed, none of them can be characterized […]

Anti-government protests in Kiev, December 2013 © Maksymenko.com.ua via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Democracy in Limbo

While in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine commitment to European integration and political will to reform seem to have fostered democratization, prospects in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus remain gloomy. As we enter 2015 it is worth taking another look at the political developments in the EU’s neighbourhood. A glance shows us that democracy progress in the […]

Vladimir Putin and the Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan, December 2013 © The Presidential Press and Information Office

An Offer Yerevan Could Not Refuse

In the run-up to the Ukraine crisis, Armenia rejected an association agreement with the European Union in favor of cooperation with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Yet the country’s future in the Eurasian Economic Union seems uncertain – and the door to Brussels might not be completely shut. On September 3, 2014 it was exactly one […]

Tymohenko supporter in Kiev © Ivan Bandura/Flickr

On a Path to Decentralisation?

Without legitimate elections and a new constitution, Kiev cannot hope to restore stability. Devolution of power to the regions is likely to be one result of the new constitution and of the current instability. But will this be enough to placate Moscow? Ukraine is set to hold presidential elections on 25 May, to remove its […]

© Sime Simon via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

An Appetite for Change?

While the Czech Republic shows signs of a new right direction to curb its corruption problem and bolster the rule of law, Russia is taking steps to bring its judiciary under even tighter control. This might also dim its economic future. On 13 June 2013, the Czech prime minister’s chief of staff, Jana Nagyova, was […]

Police on Maidan square, December 2013 © maksymenko.com.ua

“Dignity in Ukraine is Violated Every Day”

Political scientists Iryna Solonenko and Vasyl Kosiv talk about the Maidan protests, the role of civil society and the fight for political accountability in Ukraine. BTI Blog: In early 2014, the Maidan is still occupied by demonstrators, and protests against President Yanukovych’s rule continue, seemingly unabated. What are the factors contributing to the opposition’s persistence, […]