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Forecast and analysis from the brightest new minds

Category Archives: Europe

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The Effect of Climate Change on the Russian Economy

October 15, 2021 02:10 PM
With an export value of 33.7 billion U.S. dollars in crude oil to China alone in 2019, the Russian economy is heavily dependent on oil trade. However, due to the increase in the overall Russian climate, the oil industry is experiencing complications. As one of the primary sources of income for Russia’s economy, its government has made and will continue to make significant efforts to curb the effects of the complications and prevent future problems. The increase in climate temperature has damaged the infrastructure of the mines and plants responsible for oil production, creating a need for a redirection of funds and potentially dangerous environmental effects, thus, narrating a cautionary tale to other nations with similar carbon emissions rates.
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The Persistent Threat of Russian Cyberattacks

July 10, 2021 12:22 AM
Recent Russian cyber-attacks on public and private U.S. sectors have put cyber security into the forefront of American thought and public concern. While cyber-attacks are aimed hourly at countries, companies, and individuals, accusations of cyber-attacks between the United States and Russia have created a digital Cold War in a race to see who can exploit the most vulnerabilities in the infrastructure and supply chains of the opposing power.
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Monthly Archives: August 2020

Here to Stay: What Putin’s Referendum Means for Russia and the World

June 26, 2021 12:54 PM
Russians went to the polls July 1st to vote on a referendum that will make sweeping changes to their constitution, most notably greatly expanding President Vladimir Putin’s federal power and extending his potential presidency to the year 2036.
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No Laughing Matter: The Rise of Ukraine’s Comedian-President

June 26, 2021 12:41 PM
In the wake of the 2014 Euromaidan uprisings in Ukraine, comedian and actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy created, produced, and starred in “Servant of the People”, a TV series about an unknown history teacher winning the presidential elections. The show is a satirical take on the corruption and inefficiency in Ukrainian politics and struck a chord with Ukrainians at a politically fraught moment in which the country found itself at a crossroads between Russia and the West. Zelenskiy’s character was portrayed as a virtuous public servant who railed against the corruption that had hampered the nation.
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Monthly Archives: June 2020

To Win or to Lose: The Battle of COVID: Comparing Methodologies of the U.S., Italy, and South Korea

June 25, 2021 11:56 PM
The coronavirus pandemic has infected over two and a half million people, with numbers quickly rising each day. Impacting the respiratory functions of the body, this virus ravages the elderly and those with underlying health conditions such as asthma and diabetes. Since its spread began in December of 2019, millions of people world-wide have quarantined, billions of dollars in business have been lost, and consumers have been directed or forced to stay home. In the U.S. alone, more than twenty-two million people have applied for unemployment, and there are estimates that the unemployment rate could hover around twenty percent for a few quarters. The true impact will remain unknown until the virus has completely run its course. With countries at their tipping point, the U.S. must consider the change of course the virus is taking and the new policies required to combat it.
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Monthly Archives: December 2019

Italy’s Counterterrorism Strategy – A Stroke of Fortune or an Example to Europe?

June 19, 2021 11:50 PM
“Aside from a small number of low-level plots either thwarted or failed, there have not been any successful terrorist attacks on Italian soil since 9/11, a trend that has remained true since the rise of the self-proclaimed Islamic State in 2014” (Vidino 2017). Why is this the case? Why has Italy not been on the receiving end of recent brutal terror attacks in the same way that many other European nations have? By this research, I attempt to understand what Italy has done to mitigate terror threats better than other European nations. To do this, it is important to distinguish luck from planning, as one theory purports that there is no inherent piece of the Italian system that has reduced the threat of terrorism. My research indicates that a series of factors are important, including policing, border policies, historical context, radicalization issues, and governmental practices and policies. Italy excels in many areas where other nations do not, occasionally at the expense of due process and human rights. In this research design, Italy will be compared across Europe as a whole, the EU, and Western Europe in different situations. However, these strengths in comprehensive Italian counterterrorism are still fallible; it would be unwise to predict that these trends are foolproof as the potential for terror always exists, especially as growing numbers of second-generation immigrants experience the potential for radicalization.
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Monthly Archives: December 2019

Tbilisi’s Political Woes Continue

June 19, 2021 11:38 PM
Protests in Tbilisi ignited in Juneafter Russian lawmaker Sergei Gavrilov, deputy of the Russian State Duma, sat in the Georgian parliamentary speaker’s seat and addressed the audience in Russian. Protesters were not only angry about the Kremlin’s overreach into Georgia, but also with the Georgian Dream Party, which protesters claim has failed to adequately protect the country from Russian aggression. “The Russia factor was the trigger for this crisis, but it was not the cause,” rather the breaking point was “very polarized domestic politics in which the opposition plays the Russian card to discredit the government” according to Georgia expert Thomas de Waal (Higgins).
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Monthly Archives: November 2019

The Case to Delist ETA

June 19, 2021 04:31 PM
Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) is a Basque separatist group that formed in 1959. For a half-century, ETA actively perpetrated over a hundred terror attacks across Spain and France. The ultimate political goal was that of a unified and independent Basque land that comprises the Basque region in northern Spain and southwestern France. There is very little debate over ETA’s actions throughout the second half of the 20th century. However, recent events have called the US foreign terrorist organization (FTO) designation into question. The proclaimed cessation of all paramilitary operations and ultimate disbanding of any political aims and structure in 2018 would make the FTO designation pointless (Jones 2018). Because of the stated disbanding of the group, it would be a mere technicality to remove ETA from the list of FTOs – nothing gained, nothing lost. However, ETA as an idea rather than populated organization still creates cause for concern. That in mind, it would be useful to compare the current activities and influences of ETA with similar groups that are not listed as FTOs to make the case that ETA should no longer be listed. Other similar groups exist with even a stated modus operandi that are not listed. A designation as FTO also further complicates genuine political activities surrounding Basque separatism that are legitimate and unaffiliated with ETA.
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Monthly Archives: October 2019

Abkhazia’s Elections: Controversy and Possible Conspiracy

June 19, 2021 03:19 PM
Abkhazia’s elections headed to a run-off after a tie on August 25. The run-off contest was held on September 8 between incumbent Raul Khajimba and opposition candidate Alkhas Kvitsinia. Khajimba received 47.3 percent of the vote, beating out Kvitsinia’s 46.17 percent. Kvitsinia’s team disputed the results over Article 19 from the law “On the Election of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia,” which “ambiguously describes the protocol” to determine the winner of a second-round election (1). His argument—which Abkhazia’s supreme court struck down—was that the law requires the winner to receive over 50 percent of the vote.
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Monthly Archives: October 2019

Russia Proposes Changes to International Internet Laws

June 19, 2021 03:09 PM
The current laws of cybersecurity are contained in a document known as the Convention on Cybercrime, also called the Budapest Convention. A couple of the main points in the Convention are that cybercrime can be an international concern, as opposed to being a concern on a country-by-country basis. This means that the United States may have to step in to help enforce cyber laws that may be legal in the United States, but illegal elsewhere, and that other countries can monitor each other’s’ internet activity under the guise of trying to find people who may be breaking foreign laws while residing in the United States. This, however, also allows the United States to have greater control of the Internet on its own shores, as anyone breaking copyright law internationally to proliferate materials could still be caught and reprimanded. The Convention can lead to many complex issues, but can also allow countries to maintain Internet freedom in the way they see fit. With the Internet becoming a global issue, there must be global standards for it, and the Budapest Convention allows global standards for the issue to exist (Anderson).
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Monthly Archives: October 2019

Russia’s Military Presence in the Arctic

June 19, 2021 03:06 PM
“With more than half of all Arctic coastline along its northern shores, Russia has long sought economic and military dominance in part of the world where as much as $35 trillion worth of untapped oil and natural gas could be lurking.” (Dillow)
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Monthly Archives: September 2019

Russia’s Reckless Development of Nuclear Weapons

June 17, 2021 02:02 PM
A nuclear explosion rocked an offshore platform in the White Sea on August 8, killing five nuclear scientists and two Defense Ministry employees. The following weekend, the Kremlin only provided small details and contradictory information, an approach which added to the suspicion surrounding the incident. Finally, on August 12, Vyacheslav Solovyov, scientific director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center revealed that these scientists were working on “small-sized energy sources using radioactive fissile materials” at the Nyonoksa military range (Smith). Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear agency, later divulged that the nuclear system included “isotope power sources within a liquid propulsion system” (Smith).
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Monthly Archives: September 2019

Domestic Social Issues and Terrorism in the UK

June 17, 2021 01:51 PM
The tides of terrorism are reaching a number of nations with increasing severity, including the islands of the UK. With heightened tensions due to a number of terrorist attacks within the last few years and divisive rhetoric from both lawmakers and the general public, a sense of vulnerability is emerging.
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Monthly Archives: August 2019

Ukrainian Orthodox Church Freed from Russian Oversight

June 17, 2021 01:28 PM
What began as the straightforward territorial claim and annexation of Crimea in 2014 has now become a protracted, multidimensional conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. While the two countries continue to exchange economic, political, and physical blows, Ukraine has moved its fight for permanent independence into the sphere of religion.
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Monthly Archives: August 2019

FaceApp’s Russian Connection: Is it Actually Dangerous?

June 17, 2021 01:23 PM
FaceApp recently came back into vogue after going viral for the first time in 2017. FaceApp uses AI to alter a person’s face with various filters (Giancaspro). This time around, however, many people began to realize that FaceApp was collecting metadata on all of the pictures they were uploading to the app for image processing. One of the main concerns of the app was that there was evidence that the app did all image processing server-side, giving FaceApp access to copies of pictures uploaded to it. These concerns were further exacerbated when consumers found out that FaceApp was created by a Russian company owned by a previous executive of Yandex. The CEO of the FaceApp company assured the media that FaceApp does send data to Russia, and evidence suggests that this is true (Carman).
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Monthly Archives: June 2019

Serbia-Kosovo Relations: An Ethnic Dilemma

May 11, 2021 07:31 PM
Peace Prospects for Kosovo and Serbia: A Historical Context.
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Avoiding a second Falkland Islands conflict

April 23, 2021 09:49 AM
Last month, Argentina and Great Britain commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Falkland Islands Conflict in which Argentina attempted to take possession of the island about 250 miles off its coast in the Atlantic Ocean. Argentina’s claims for the the Falklands, or the Islas Malvinas as the Argentines call them, go back into the 19th century despite British control of the islands since 1833 (with the exception of the short time Argentina “re-occupied” them before Britain forcibly removed Argentina’s forces from the islands weeks later). Although the Falkland Conflict reestablished British control of the islands, Argentina has continued to fight for them in other ways, such as including the territorial claim for the Malvinas in its reformed constitution in 1994.
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Recent Trends in Radicalization

April 22, 2021 07:37 PM
The attack in France this past week at the hands of the terrorist Mohammed Merah is reawakening Europe to the realities of radicalization. This event should not be viewed as the beginning of a complex new terror campaign domestically but should be seen as an infrequent reality of war with terror groups. The majority of attempted domestic attacks have been unsuccessful for a number of reasons, and most people who are successfully recruited end up going to conflict areas in order to train and act out their new sense of ideology rather than stay in their country. A quick overview of some aspects of the radicalization process will reveal that there is no trend towards coordinated attacks or rampant radicalization in the West.
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