New Eastern Europe

22.11.2019

Life After the Coalition: What Now for Moldova?

The pro-Russia Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova has managed to accumulate an impressive amount of institutional power. But this concentration of power brings not only advantages, but also greater vulnerabilities, especially when there are plenty of destabilizing factors at work, from uncertain gas supplies to mass voting by residents of the breakaway region Transnistria.
8.11.2019

Double Jeopardy: Why Moscow’s Demands Seem Unreasonable to Minsk

Russia’s suggestion that Belarus resurrect a 1999 agreement to get compensation for Russia’s oil tax maneuver looks fairly cynical to Minsk. After all, by joining the EEU, in which single markets—including for energy commodities—are supposed to be created between 2018 and 2024, Belarus has already paid for all of its tariff preferences.
19.09.2019

Is the Russia-Belarus Merger Anything More Than a Mirage?

There’s no desperation or desire from the Belarusian side right now to obtain concessions from Moscow at any price. The damage to Belarus’s economy from Russia’s “tax maneuver” is serious, but not fatal. The cumulation of these losses will only anger Lukashenko and make him less prepared to compromise.
3.09.2019

Official Visit Symbolizes New U.S. Attitude to Belarus

Both Belarusian officials and U.S. presidential adviser John Bolton were quick to put out the message that the visit was more about form than content. Bolton said openly that no issues had been resolved at the meeting, but that he had not expected otherwise. Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said that no one was enticing Minsk over to any side, and that the two sides had simply agreed to keep communicating.
20.08.2019

The Path to Politics: Belarus Prepares for Double Elections

Elections in Belarus are traditionally administrative rituals. However, amid growing tensions with Russia and increased discussion of a future presidential transition in Minsk, the upcoming Belarusian parliamentary and presidential votes may be the start of cautious political change in the country.
11.07.2019

All Talk, No Action on Russia-Belarus Integration

The distrustful, authoritarian regimes of Russia and Belarus are incapable of sharing power. The most the two sides can do without betraying their sovereign interests is to start coordinating their decisions on various sectors of the economy a little more closely, such as agreeing on a unified goal for the inflation rate. Then, if it’s really necessary, this can also be described as integration.
3.07.2019

Ukraine’s New President Needs a Strategy on Donbas—and Fast

Zelensky is trying to find balance on the incendiary issue of the Donbas. During his visits to Europe, he adhered carefully to the previous foreign policy line, calling on European leaders to keep up pressure on Russia through sanctions. But at home, he is more open to compromise, and is trying to find allies among the oligarchs.
19.06.2019

Moldovan Regime Change Is Rare Example of Russian-Western Teamwork

The collapse of oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc’s regime in Moldova has brought this small, impoverished former Soviet nation to global attention. The bomb planted by Plahotniuc was removed jointly by Russia, the United States, and the EU. The Kremlin and the West agreed to work together, demonstrating that outside interference can be a positive thing.
26.03.2019

War of Words Pushes Belarus-Russia Relations to the Brink

The nonchalance with which the Russian ambassador and his sparring partners in Minsk are raising the stakes in their rhetoric is a symptom of deeper forces at work in Belarusian-Russian relations. Both sides are starting to sense that they have reached some kind of historic threshold. But the old format of friendship is so worn out that there is little to lose.
22.02.2019

Moldova’s Critical Elections

On February 24, Moldovans vote in parliamentary elections, which are seen by many as critical to the country’s future. The ruling Democratic party and its de facto leader have been accused of abuse of power and facilitating corruption. The EU has suspended its financial assistance program. The party faces a challenge from the Socialist Party led by President Igor Dodon, who is more sympathetic to Russia, and a new pro-European bloc named NOW.
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