Tag "CEPA"

War in Ukraine: A struggle over Russia’s identity

By Janusz Bugajski, for CEPA As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its fifth year, two recently published books illuminate the fundamental motives for Moscow’s ongoing offensive. They make a compelling case that the armed conflict is intended to demonstrate and perpetuate Russia’s dominance through the usurpation of Ukraine’s history, territory, and identity. In a masterful dissection of Russian history (Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian

Edward Lucas: The repressive state

By Edward Lucas, for CEPA How many political prisoners languish in Russia’s jails and penal colonies? The short answer is that nobody knows. Harassment makes it hard for human rights organizations to track these cases. Many of those convicted are jailed for “non-political” crimes. Estimates range from dozens to hundreds. But the cases we do know about are bad enough. Take, for example, Yuri Dmitriev—one of the country’s greatest historians of

Edward Lucas: Russian political theater

By Edward Lucas, for CEPA Russia is having a presidential election this year. Right? Wrong. In fact, the Kremlin is staging a play about an election, rather than a real contest with real voters, real candidates, real competition and real doubt about the outcome. The performance will be realistically and expensively staged, with the characters in appropriate costumes, and plenty of expertly produced props. The acting will be excellent. Presumably

Moscow links Syria to WWII

By Donald N. Jensen, for CEPA Putin himself has tried to portray the war in Syria, which began as a national uprising against Russia’s ally Assad, as an analogue of World War II. In 2016, he told parliament that just like the Nazis, “terrorists” threatened the world and only Moscow was alive to the threat. Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matvienko delivered a TV statement on 13 December that portrayed Putin

Isolating Russia’s three master narratives in Latvia

By Mārtiņš Kaprāns, for CEPA Since the 1990s, the Kremlin has disseminated three grand narratives about Latvia: that it systematically discriminates against its ethnic Russians; that fascism is on the rise; and that Latvia is a failed state. Although these themes are intertwined with the everyday content of pro-Kremlin news coverage, their actual impact on the Latvian public opinion is an open question. Discrimination claims focus on Latvian “ruling nationalist parties”

The wrath of trolls

By CEPA On 27 November, the U.S. State Department issued a press statement expressing concern about legislation it said could undermine anti-corruption efforts and weaken judicial independence. It urged the parliament to “reject proposals that weaken the rule of law and endanger the fight against corruption.” The statement echoes criticism of the bill coming from Romanian civil society organizations, professional associations and members of various legal bodies. In addition, protesters and other

Russian ‘hybrid warrior’ gets help from pro-Kremlin media in Poland

By Wojciech Jakóbik, for CEPA Russian and Polish language media outlets aligned with the Kremlin have rushed to defend a Russian citizen, Dmitry Karnaukhov, who was recently removed from Poland after the Polish counterintelligence service, Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego (ABW), charged him with spying. ABW says Karnaukhov’s public work was a cover for his real mission: offering Moscow-financed grants, trips, and publications to recruit people with pro-Russian views. Polish authorities accused

Edward Lucas: The Kremlin’s 20 toxic tactics

By Edward Lucas, for CEPA Human weakness means we find it is easier to admire problems than to solve them, to focus on the dangers we can see than worry about those that we can’t, and to use the tools we have on hand rather than try to acquire the ones we actually need. All that is particularly true of the West’s approach to Russian political warfare. We over-focus on

Watch out: Russia’s tactics will evolve

Belated, partial and out of date: that, broadly, is the West’s reaction to the menace from Russia. By Edward Lucas, for CEPA The belated is merely annoying; all the people now fussing about Kremlin interference in last year’s U.S. presidential election seem to think this was the first instance of Russian political warfare. In fact, it was just the latest and most conspicuous. Hardened participants in the struggle for freedom and

Moscow’s strategy to carve up Europe

By Janusz Bugajski, for CEPA Moscow’s strategy toward Europe is reminiscent of carving a hunted game. It exploits and exacerbates the vulnerabilities of targeted states, and widens any lingering disputes between them. The Kremlin has targeted at least four portions of the continent: Anglo-Saxon Europe, Western Europe, Central Europe and the Orthodox Balkans—with the remainder of Europe’s east to be directly devoured by Russia. A primary focus of subversion dating back

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