Struggle for Ukraine


All Change: Donbas Republics Get New Russian Business Boss

The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics are moving on from the wild days of economic piracy to more orderly exploitation schemes. The prospects of reintegrating the region under the Minsk accords are growing more illusory.

Donbas Escalation Has Given Zelensky a Boost—But for How Long?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sees his growing popularity as proof that he chose the right course when he gave up trying to please all the disparate groups that voted for him in 2019. He is likely to continue his anti-Russian rhetoric and sanctions against domestic enemies.

Ukraine, Russia, and United States Make Use of Donbas Tension

Biden’s call to Putin confirmed that unchecked escalation is not part of the new U.S. administration’s plans. Tough rhetoric, preemptive escalation, and the announcement of new sanctions were necessary for Biden to start the inevitable conversation with Russia.

Russia-Ukraine War Alert: What’s Behind It and What Lies Ahead?

Perhaps the most important thing for the Russian leadership in this episode was to prevent the need to actually go to war against Ukraine in the future. Going overkill in terms of military maneuvers on the Ukrainian border now may avoid the need to do terrible things at a later point.

Are Russia and Ukraine Sliding Into War?

With Moscow massing its troops on Ukraine’s eastern border and in Crimea, Kyiv has little chance of standing its ground if the standoff deteriorates into a military confrontation. Yet there are reasons to believe that neither side intends to unleash a war.

Merge and Rule: What’s In Store for the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics

Donbas should brace itself for a long time in the role of a Russian military protectorate like Transnistria or South Ossetia. Local elites will have to deal with Moscow’s efforts to optimize the region’s administration, while the people there will see the creeping integration of the republics with Russia.

Why Russia Is Unmoved by Kyiv's Sanctions Against Putin's Friend

For Russia, renewal of the war—let alone the annexation of the self-proclaimed republics—would be a costly undertaking with unclear benefits. It is bound to be highly unpopular with Russian society, which is fatigued by foreign policy adventurism, and would further complicate Russia’s relations with European countries.

Revenge Voting: Ukraine Prepares to Go to the Polls

For Zelensky’s team, used to winning landslide victories, the outcome of the upcoming local elections will be dispiriting and will fan the flames of internal strife.

Ukraine’s Unpopular Populist: What Next for Zelensky?

A further fall in President Zelensky’s ratings could become a serious demotivating factor for the former TV star. His transformation from the “people’s president” into yet another Ukrainian politician with broken promises, a state dacha, and a dodgy entourage will primarily weigh on the president himself.

Ukraine’s Latest Schism: Zelensky Against the Regions

The coronavirus pandemic has turned the mounting tension between the center and the regions into an open conflict. Now threats loom of revenge by the old elites and a new wave of populism exploiting the idea of regional independence.
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