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Category Archives: Europe

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Buying Time

April 22, 2021 03:57 PM
Recently the European Union has been building up to the implementation of “crippling” new sanctions against the government of Iran. These new sanctions were finally revealed on January 23 and their primary focus is on limiting Iran’s oil export capability. Despite the strong rhetoric, these sanctions will not truly be effective in the short-term as they bar only new oil contracts with Iran while honoring current contracts until 1 July. Why are we seeing this apparent weakening of the economic hammer against Iran? Why not simply crush Iran into submission and force them into immediate negotiations? The basic answer is that the West is not capable of dealing effectively with Iran right now and needs more time to prepare.
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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Conflict in Ireland Part 2: The IRA

July 15, 2019 05:40 PM
Ireland soon found itself in a civil war, fighting for independence from England. This civil war lasted in two main phases from 1912 to 1923. The first phase, the Irish War of Independence, lasted from 1919 to 1921 and the second phase, the Irish Civil War, lasted from 1922-1923.4 Ultimately Ireland was defeated but Britain agreed to split Ireland into two; Northern Ireland remained a part of the United Kingdom and under British control, and Ireland (the southern portion of the island) became a free state. At the beginning of the civil war the Irish Volunteers renamed themselves the Irish Republican Army and served as the militant branch of the rebel government. In 1921 the government signed a treaty with England known as the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which temporarily established peace and an Irish Free state. After the signing of the treaty the IRA experienced its first of many secessions, the IRA split into two different groups: Pro-Treaty IRA and Anti-Treaty IRA.4 Following the Irish Civil War and the establishment of Ireland as its own republic, many members of the Anti-Treaty IRA were killed or captured and the remaining went underground and the IRA was once again a single organization.4
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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Russia and Belarus Relations: Where Are We Now?

July 14, 2019 05:51 PM
With talks currently in place between the two countries in preparation for further integration, it is important to understand how both Russia and Belarus got to this point in their somewhat strained relationship. Looking at the two countries from a westerner’s perspective, one might think that the two countries have always been allied forces with a one-track mind, but when you dig a little deeper you may find that appearances aren’t always true to what is really going on underneath.
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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Hanging by a Thread: US-Turkey Relations

July 13, 2019 05:27 PM
Until recently, the relationship between the United States and Turkey has been stable. Lately however, Turkey has been taking actions contrary to those that would uphold strong relations with the US. This recent unnerving trend has increased tensions between the two countries and tightened Turkish ties to Russia.
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Monthly Archives: July 2019

'We are Ivan Golunov' - Russia Media Defends Its Own Against Wrongful Imprisonment

July 13, 2019 05:22 PM
Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was on his way to meet a source for his latest article on June 6 when he was detained by the police. They took him into custody after finding mephedrone, an illegal designer drug, in his backpack. When Golunov appeared in court two days later, his charges had increased from drug possession to drug trafficking, potentially a 10- to 20-year sentence, after the court accused him of having a drug lab in his apartment (Hodge, Nathan). Some, however, weren’t buying it. None of Golunov’s friends had ever as much as seen him drink alcohol, let alone get high, and people familiar with his apartment confirmed that the pictures authorities had shared of the drug lab couldn’t be anywhere near it (Kovalev, Alexey).
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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Russia's Cyber Campaigns

July 12, 2019 04:53 PM
Russia has a long history of cyber warfare. InvestigateRussia.org lists several of the important cyberattacks fueled by Russia during the 21st century. The Committee to Investigate Russia is a non-profit organization that worked during the Robert Mueller investigation as an aggregation of news pertaining to Russia’s affiliation with the US, and while no longer active still exists as culmination of information having to do with post-Soviet Russia.
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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Kremlin Retaliates Against Georgia Protests

July 12, 2019 04:49 PM
Thousands of protesters took to the streets after Russian lawmaker Sergei Gavrilov, deputy of the Russian State Duma, sat in the Georgian parliamentary speaker’s seat and addressed the audience in Russian. Gavrilov was there as president of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO), “a body set up by the Greek parliament in 1993 to foster relationships between Christian Orthodox lawmakers” (Antidze). Protests cut IAO meetings short.
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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Conflict in Ireland Part 1: History of Ireland

July 08, 2019 04:15 PM
Tensions and violence in Ireland have existed for as long as it’s been populated. Ireland has been inhabited since 6,000 BC and has been the home of the Celts since 500 BC. In 300 AD, Ireland was introduced to Christianity and soon after the Catholic Church sent missionaries to organize an Irish Church; circa 600 AD, Catholicism became the country’s national religion.1
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Monthly Archives: June 2019

Democracy Still Elusive in Kazakhstan

June 21, 2019 07:21 PM
Kazakhstan held elections on June 9. For the first time in the former Soviet country’s history, the ballot did not include Nursultan Nazarbayev, who reigned as president since Kazakhstan’s 1991 creation. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev won the election with 70.9% of the vote. Amirzhan Kossanov, the main opposition candidate, came in a distant second at 16.2%, and Daniya Yespayeva, Kazakhstan’s first female presidential candidate, came in third at 5.05% (Vesterbye).
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Monthly Archives: June 2019

Kommersant Firings and Russian Free Speech

June 03, 2019 04:58 PM
Eleven reporters from Kommersant quit on May 20 after two of their colleagues were fired for refusing to reveal their sources in a report about “a possible change of leadership in the upper chamber of parliament” (RFE/RL). These reporters made up the entire political staff at Kommersant, one of Russia’s most prominent newspapers. Another 180 staff signed a joint letter that denounced the newspaper’s shareholders for “destroying one of Russia’s best media outlets” to make “short-term political gains” and “that until further notice, Kommersant would not report on any Russian political news” (“HRW: Kommersant Shake-Up…”, Soric).
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Monthly Archives: May 2019

Current State of Russian-US Nuclear Relations

May 18, 2019 04:37 PM
Recent developments in diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia have greatly impacted the nature of arms control in the two nuclear giants. Historically guided by various treaties, including the START, SALT, and INF agreements, nuclear tension has increased as the 2019 withdrawal from the INF Treaty by both Russia and the US has opened the door to expanded proliferation.
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Monthly Archives: May 2019

What Russia's Nuclear Modernization Means for the Future of Nonproliferation

May 18, 2019 04:36 PM
Russia and the US are the world’s top two possessors of nuclear weapons, holding 92 percent of nuclear weapons globally (Ploughshares Fund). Russia is modernizing its nuclear arsenal and some of its modernizations, such as the SSC-8 ground-launched cruise missile system, led the US to plan an exit from the INF Treaty in August 2019.
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Monthly Archives: May 2019

Russia's Nuclear Modernzation

May 13, 2019 04:26 PM
On April 11, Russia announced that the RS-28 Sarmat missile reached its final testing phase (TASS, “Putin: Russia’s ICBM…”). The missile, an upgrade of the SS-18, is set to start production in 2021. Nicknamed “Satan 2” by NATO, it “has practically no range restrictions” and “is untroubled by even the most advanced missile defense systems” according to Putin (O’Connor).
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Monthly Archives: April 2019

Ramifications of A Tymoshenko Presidency

April 04, 2019 04:01 PM
As for the prospects of the presidential race, initial reports at the end of 2018 had Tymoshenko at the top of the pool of candidates. She began making inroads with many foreign leaders, stating via Facebook that “The presidential election is approaching, and it would be irrational for a newly elected president to use up their precious work hours on building bridges and establishing contacts when it can be done now.” However, with the emergence of Volodymyr Zelensky, an anti-establishment comedian, as a leading candidate, Tymoshenko will be forced to adjust her approach as the popular opposition candidate. The first round of elections take place on March 31st with a possible second round of elections following in April. Despite having maintained a strong lead in the polls for months, Tymoshenko has slipped into a tie with current President Poroshenko, with both trailing Zelensky by more than 5 points (Jacobsen).
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Monthly Archives: April 2019

Russia's Disinformation Attack on Ukraine

April 02, 2019 03:50 PM
In what researchers at Oxford Internet Institute described as “the most globally advanced case of computational propaganda,” Ukraine was Europe’s most frequent target of disinformation campaigns in 2018 (Bohdanova). According to the EU vs Disinfo database, Ukraine had “461 references among a total of 1,000 disinformation cases reported in 2018” (“Ukraine Under Information Fire”). Some of these cases included Kremlin-based false reports that Ukrainian authorities planned to construct a 120 kilometer waterway that would isolate Crimea from Ukraine. Another story surfaced that US secret services and the Ukrainian government were working together to poison water in Donbas (Zoria).
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Monthly Archives: March 2019

The Upcoming Ukrainian Elections

March 23, 2019 02:11 PM
On March 31, Ukrainians will head to the polls to elect their next president. Leading the candidates are incumbent Petro Poroshenko, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and newcomer to the political field, comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who are polling within 10 percentage points of each other.
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Monthly Archives: March 2019

Ukraine's Poroshenko In a Bind

March 12, 2019 03:22 PM
Introduction
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Monthly Archives: March 2019

Putin's alleged role in the US presidential elections

March 08, 2019 02:49 PM
Putin proved a major influencer in the US presidential election in 2016. Russian influence on the election first appeared four years before the actual election, when two Russians, working for the Internet Research Agency, acquired knowledge about US social media to help provide information to the Russian propaganda machine (Shane, Scott; Mazzetti, Mark. 2018). Additionally, his Russian spy agency, the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) hacked the Democratic National Committee’s network to further reach his goal of getting Americans to vote for the candidate he wanted to see win.
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