By Anastasia Magazova

After Russia occupied Crimea in 2014, not only was the Ukrainian government ousted from the peninsula, but also freedom of speech, followed by professional journalism.

From the moment Russia set foot on Crimea, a hunt commenced for journalists who critically covered the military invasion. Within a month, they had to make a choice: switch sides or remain professional. Few chose the latter.

In addition to putting pressure on independent journalists, Russian occupation authorities in Crimea also immediately seized Ukrainian TV channels and began to use them for their own agenda. At the same time, they blocked access to the vast majority of leading online Ukrainian information resources.

When it became clear that the occupying authorities didn’t value honesty and objectivity in…

By Dionis Cenușa

“It is true that the European agenda will be stronger than ever. The electoral success of the PAS will result in a pro-EU majority in parliament and a strong government anchored in the European vector …”

In full harmony with the most optimistic polls, the Action and Solidarity Party’s team (PAS) won the snap parliamentary elections. This success was largely based on the image of President Maia Sandu, who promoted participation in the vote, against political corruption, throughout the election campaign, including election day. The score accumulated by the PAS represents another electoral victory for Maia Sandu, who demonstrates maximum political efficiency in achieving political objectives, methodically, one by one.

The turnout was below 50%. About 1.4 million people went to the polls or nearly 100,000 fewer than in the 2020…

By Brian Whitmore

“Axis of autocrats: Belarus dictator Lukashenka backs Putin’s Ukraine war” by Brian Whitmore was originally published on Atlantic Council.

The axis of autocrats in Eastern Europe continues to solidify as Belarus dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka bends over backwards to please his patrons and masters in the Kremlin.

In the wake of last month’s summit meeting with Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Lukashenka has made two announcements that effectively indicate he is prepared to recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea as well as the de facto sovereignty of the Kremlin-controlled “separatist republics” in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.

Lukashenka told reporters on June 1 that Belarusian national airline Belavia would begin flying to Crimea, which observers interpreted as the first step toward formally recognizing Russia’s annexation of…

By Dionis Cenușa

“At the background of Russia that is limping, Romania can articulate a robust “vaccine diplomacy “, which, in addition to increasing its popularity among Moldovan citizens, will contribute to diminishing Russian influence …”

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health crisis in Moldova has stood out due to the high rate of infection and mortality, which places it in the list of the most active sources of infection in Eastern Europe. But, in addition to the multiple failures related to the management of the pandemic, the country has become a case study where the competition between two “vaccine diplomacies” can be observed, rather hidden than overt, but also unequal — between Romania and Russia. While each of them pursues antagonistic historical-geopolitical interests in Moldova, the COVID-19 crisis…

By Brian Whitmore

“Putin’s stealth takeover of Belarus gains momentum” by Brian Whitmore was originally published on Atlantic Council.

As the Russian and Belarusian armed forces launched back-to-back exercises this week, the two countries also announced plans to establish permanent joint military training centers.

And just days before the military drills began, a new pro-Kremlin Belarusian political party held its founding congress in Minsk on March 6. Prominent guests included a Russian lawmaker from Ukraine’s occupied Crimean peninsula and an advisor to Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

As the Belarus crisis enters its eighth month, the strategy of Russian…

division, disinformation or destabilization?

By Dionis Cenușa

“The EU has the technical capacity, the financial power and the moral authority to play the role of objective arbiter that can prevent the movement of the local political actors in the wrong direction, which anyways favor the Russian factor …”

The movement of the power-opposition confrontation outside the Russian borders, generated by the persecution of Alexey Navalny, after the failed attempt of his poisoning, put before the EU the tough decision to multiply the sanctions against Russia. The new category of sanctions seeks to punish human rights violations and was agreed by member states at the latest EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting (February 22, 2021). The emphasis of the sanctions is on the politicizing of Navalny’s trial and brutal repression of pro-Navalny protests. The Moscow fiasco of European Foreign Minister Josep Borrell (IPN, February 2021) has…

by Joanna Hosa

“Why the EU should appoint a special representative for Crimea” by Joanna Hosa was originally published on The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

By appointing a special representative for Crimea, the EU would show its commitment to standing by its partners and rejecting Russia’s violations of international law.

Hardly anyone mentions Crimea anymore. The territory is an awkward topic because no one truly knows what to do with it. In 2014 Russia annexed Crimea and launched a war in Donbas, in flagrant violation of international law. This led to a major stand-off with the West…

by Madalin Necsutu

“What must be done for Russian forces to leave Transnistria” by Madalin Necsutu was originally published on Balkan Insight

As Moldova and Russia spar again over Moscow’s military presence in the breakaway region of Transnistria, BIRN looks at what it would take to end this decades-long dispute.

Relations between Moldova’s new elected pro-European president, Maia Sandu, and Russia started off on the wrong foot when Sandu immediately vowed to ensure Russia finally withdraws its troops from the Transnistria region that broke away from Moldova with Russian support in the early-1990s.

“I am sure we will find…

by Aidan Hehir

This article was originally published on Prishtina Insight, republished on Subjectio with the permission of Prishtina Insight

Events in Washington DC on Wednesday night saw many commentators reaching for cliches about Kosovo and the Balkans, perpetuating stereotypes that are inaccurate, unfair and fundamentally colonial.

As observers scrambled to contrive ever more creative ways to express their amazement at images of mobs storming the Capitol building in Washington DC, many expressed their outrage by arguing that these were scenes usually reserved for “banana republics”, or “the 3rd world.” In particular, some reached for a now familiar trope — this was like something you’d see in the Balkans!

This sentiment was most succinctly expressed by Balkans correspondent for The Economist [and Chairman of the BIRN Network…

By Daniel Serwer

A retired Foreign Service Officer and veteran of the Balkan crisis offers a clear-eyed assessment of Bosnia and Herzegovina a quarter-century after Dayton.

Twenty-five years ago, the United States brought forth on the European continent a new state dedicated to the proposition that citizens are not equal as individuals but rather endowed with group rights. Those three groups (Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats), denominated as “constituent peoples,” are entitled to block numerical majority decisions. We have tested whether that state — Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) — or any state so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

Subjectio examines influences exercised by the West and Russia in Southeast and Eastern Europe.

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