Pavel Baev 24 Oct 2017
(EDM) The annual meeting of the Valdai discussion club provides a unique opportunity for many Western experts to “meet” with President Vladimir Putin. This year, the Kremlin sought to build up expectations by divulging that Putin was working on a draft of a particularly important speech (RIA Novosti, October 13). However, the Russian president’s performance turned out to be distinguished only by his demonstrative lack of interest in the...
Ivan Kurilla 23 Oct 2017
(WA) The U.S. reduced contributions in 2011 after the Palestinian Authority was admitted as a member of UNESCO. The United States has not paid its contributions for six years. Withdrawing from the organization is simply the next step. Until 2011, the U.S. contributions were significant for the organization − they accounted for about 20 percent of the UNESCO budget. It was approximately $100 million. On the one hand, it’s a very small sum for...
PONARS Eurasia 20 Oct 2017
(BBC) Georgians will vote in local elections on Saturday, and this year there is quite an unusual candidate. Originally from the UK, Joseph Alexander Smith has spent the last five years living in Georgia, and is now campaigning for changes in his adopted country - all from the back of his bicycle. It has been a rather unusual career change for the former librarian from London who is now an independent candidate in Georgia's forthcoming local...
Nona Shahnazarian 20 Oct 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) Since late 2012, the terms “gender” and “gender equality” in the Armenian discursive space have become enveloped in undertones of tremendous negativity and even used as insults. The backlash in this area has a strong transnational aspect. “Anti-genderism” (as we might call it) in the region and in Armenia specifically is largely—but not exclusively—connected with Russian soft power influences. When Armenia entered the...
Samuel Greene 19 Oct 2017
(Mobilizing Ideas blog) With all due respect to Marshall McLuhan, he may have got it backwards. In Russia, at least, the message has become the medium. By most measures, there has probably never been a worse time in the quarter century of Russia’s post-Soviet history to be a journalist. If there are fewer murders of journalists than there used to be – five since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency in 2012, versus 36 between 2000 and 2011...
Şener Aktürk 18 Oct 2017
(Anadolu Agency) The significance of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s unilateral decision to hold a referendum for secession from Iraq cannot be overstated. Both the arguments in favor of and against the Kurdish Regional Government’s referendum have been based on some incomplete and misleading statements and wrong assumptions, which I will critically review and attempt to correct in this brief commentary. I hope that a more accurate picture...
Mariya Omelicheva 16 Oct 2017
(AJPH) Abstract: This study seeks to address both the theoretical and empirical aspects of national holidays' selection. Noting a breadth of historical events that a state may choose to celebrate, this study asks how and why only some events are selected for national remembrance and commemoration. I answer this question by considering the role of national holidays in politics of history and memory and state- and nation-building. Using an...
Mariya Omelicheva 13 Oct 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) The U.S. government spent $1.9 billion on security assistance to Central Asia between 2001 and 2016. The aid was designed to increase the professionalism of Central Asian ground troops and train and equip security personnel in counterterrorism and counter-narcotics operations. All Central Asian states saw some improvements to their internal security forces as a result. However, two major incremental trends were not...

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