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Europe Politics

Europe’s Energy Dependence on Russia Leaves Moldova Vulnerable

The global surge in demand for natural gas following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has had a devastating impact on Moldova’s energy security. Chisinau had no choice but to enter into negotiations with the Russian state-owned gas giant, Gazprom, to restore its energy supplies. As Russia is set to increase its share of European gas imports in Nord Stream 2, the EU must find a way to help protect Moldova from further Russian pressure.

Europe Security

Ukraine: In the Middle of Great Power Politics

Under pro-Western President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine has made substantial progress in its drive for EU and NATO membership. However, domestic successes have been overshadowed by the increasingly difficult international position Kiev finds itself in. Russia remains a security threat as the frozen conflict in the Donbass persists; yet the US appears to be pulling support, most notably by lifting sanctions concerning Nord Stream 2. China, a major trading partner and vital vaccine supplier, is offering a hand to Ukraine. But at what cost?  

Middle East/North Africa Politics

China in a post-US Afghanistan: A paradigm shift in foreign policy?

China’s long-standing policy of non-interference is challenged by the cruel geopolitical realities and developments in the country with which it shares its smallest border. The U.S. military withdrawal, coupled with Afghanistan’s seizure by the Taliban, have marked a major turning point, presenting China with both opportunities and challenges. It seems Beijing can no longer afford to stay away from the region.

Eurasia Politics

Georgia’s political struggles may not be over just yet

Over the last year, Georgia has faced political disunity between the ruling government party, Georgian Dream, and its opposition, United National Movement. Tensions have been brewing, but the pinnacle of the division came after the 2020 election in October, which was declared rigged by the opposition. Following this, protests erupted and the opposition leader, Nick Melia was arrested. The EU has stepped in to broker a deal to resume the functioning of parliament. However, taking into account the deep institutional rifts between the political parties in regard to Russia, this solution is likely to only be temporary. Real change amongst the nation’s political actors needs to happen to consolidate democracy.

Eurasia Politics

Russia and its ‘diversionary space race’?

The International Space Station (ISS), that hub of extra-terrestrial cooperation, recently announced that Russia will be withdrawing from its team from 2025. Russia plans to set up a separate orbital space station by 2030. As a result, there has been much debate about what this means in terms of Russia-US  and Sino-Russian relations. However, little attention has been paid to the domestic implications of Russia’s decision: is it an attempt to divert attention from the ongoing saga with Alexei Navalny and muster patriotic fervor?

Middle East/North Africa Security

Syria’s Decade of War and Russia’s Encouragement of the Ongoing Conflict

As of March 2021, Syria has now been embroiled in civil war for ten years, as both the Syrian interim government and various other rebel factions continue to fight back against Bashar al-Assad and the human rights abuses that have occurred under his presidency. Yet, after an entire decade of war, there still does not appear to be any clear indication of peace in sight. This raises the question as to what has caused the conflict in Syria to last so long, and which state actors or nations might be responsible. 

Eurasia Security

Have Russia and Ukraine been on the Verge of Open War?

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine appears to have reached a new peak this year as President Putin has recently deployed over 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border. Russia’s actions here initially appear to be ambiguous, as it can be interpreted in more than one way – has Russia been attempting to intimidate their enemies with a display of force and dominance, or are their intentions more aggressive? There is room to argue here that Russia has, at some point at least, been preparing for open war with Ukraine.

International Southeast Asia

Russia and the Myanmar Coup: An Opportunity for Increased Arms Exports

Whereas most countries have condemned the coup in Myanmar, Russia is openly advocating for enhancing military technological cooperation with the military regime. In doing so, Russia seems to see the new military rule as an opportunity to increase its influence in Myanmar whilst boosting its arms exports. This may be a classic example of Moscow’s limited bilateral engagement, seeking financial gain and increased influence whilst preserving their strategic autonomy.

Eurasia Europe Politics

Were Sanctions by the EU the Right Move?

On 2nd March 2021, the EU announced sanctions on four Russian citizens for human rights violations. The continuing saga of Navalny’s imprisonment and the treatment of protestors by the Russian government has forced the international community to respond but are sanctions the right response? 

Europe Security

The Turkish intervention in Nagorno-Karabakh may favour EU interests

As mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russia has sought to maintain influence in Azerbaijan and Armenia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In pursuing a strategy based on balancing competing Armenian-Azerbaijani interests over the disputed territory, Moscow is able to wield leverage in the South Caucasus without antagonising either Baku or Yerevan. However, the Turkish intervention on the issue in 2020 in full support of Azerbaijan tilted the power-balance of the conflict and cemented Ankara as a new security actor in the region.