PONARS Eurasia 05-29-2015
(New Europe) In the schoolmaster culture of European Neighborhood policy in Brussels, a few things can be missed from evaluation report to evaluation report. This time, a lot has been missed. East Partnership states are handed “reform assignments” to deliver by a specified date. Apparently, according to the European Commission, 2014 was a good year in terms of normative approximation and reform for Moldova. For all purposes, the East Partnership Riga...
PONARS Eurasia 05-28-2015
(CSM) MOSCOW — Russia's largest grassroots election watchdog, Golos, has been almost driven out of existence by a law passed three years ago that saddled it with a "foreign agent" label – which connotes "spy" in Russian. Since then, the organization has been subject of an ongoing wave of tax and criminal investigations, including an official ban on carrying out its primary mission of monitoring elections. Now a new law could finish Golos off. The...
Pavel K. Baev 05-28-2015
(EDM) It is still difficult to figure out what sorts of conclusions President Vladimir Putin drew from the long meeting he held with US Secretary of State John Kerry two weeks ago (May 12), in Sochi (see EDM, May 19). But the recent behavior of top Russian officials betrays much apparent anxiety and even nervousness about the future in the halls of power in Moscow. Last week, the Russian government had implemented a concerted effort aimed at discrediting...
Marlene Laruelle 05-27-2015
(CGI paper) The concept of the “Russian World” (russkii mir) has a long history rooted in the 1990s, but it was propelled under the media spotlight in 2014, when Russian President Vladimir Putin used it to justify Russia’s interference in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. The Kremlin’s actions in its so-called “Near Abroad” — a reference to the post-Soviet space — are motivated mainly by its perception of Russia’s national security interests and the...
Elizabeth Wishnick 05-27-2015
(Foreign Affairs) On May 21, Russia and China concluded ten days of joint naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean, which included live-fire drills. Although the militaries of the two countries claimed that the naval exercise was meant only to improve interoperability, their presence in the sea has far broader political implications. For some years, Russia and China have been participating in bilateral and multilateral exercises in Asia, mostly with...
Arkady Moshes 05-27-2015
(FIIA) The EU should be warned against curtailing its ambitions in the Eastern Neighbourhood. Half-hearted policies will not lead to the systemic transformation of the region. Only a more robust, more demanding and more rewarding policy can bring about such change. In the aftermath of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Riga, it is high time we asked whether the EU has the right instruments at its disposal to address the challenges it is facing in its...
PONARS Eurasia 05-26-2015
(D&FW) The Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Riga did not bring unexpectedly good news to Georgia. The EU restated their support for Georgia’s European path and congratulated it on achieved progress. But Georgians will have to wait visa-free travels at least until the end of this year, when the EU officials will evaluate Georgia’s progress once more. As expected, the final declaration was not stronger than the one signed in Vilnius in 2013, which...
PONARS Eurasia 05-22-2015
(The Moscow Times) Prominent liberal economist and commentator Konstantin Sonin, who was reportedly squeezed out of a top job at a Russian public university earlier this year, said Wednesday that he will leave the country to take up a teaching post in the United States because of recent political developments. Sonin, a specialist in political economy and professor at Moscow's respected Higher School of Economics, is openly critical of Kremlin economic...

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