After the occupation of Crimea in 2014, Russia, in violation of the requirements of Article 64 of the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War 1949, extended the action of its own criminal legislation and legislation on administrative offenses to the occupied territory. This legislation contains the concept of “extremism”. The accusations of extremism are actively used by the de facto occupation “authorities” to persecute dissent, in particular Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians who oppose the occupation, representatives of religious communities such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Hizb ut-Tahrir, and other individuals and groups deemed undesirable by the occupiers. The very existence of such a concept as “extremism” in the criminal legislation of Russia can be considered a marker of the authoritarian nature of the Russian political regime. This concept does not exist in international criminal law and criminal law of democratic countries.
Democracy remains truly vulnerable, being based on the principle of respect for other views. Dictators are well aware of that, exploiting all the advantages democracy offers to actually fight against it, including in foreign policy matters. This is what we are now seeing in Russia's efforts aimed at hindering Ukraine's European integration process.
WEG endeavours to analyse Geneva's Biden-Putin summit preceding events and a manner in which both sides have approached this day. The reasons for which we do not consider the meeting of two powers become a "new Yalta" are set out in this article.
"Lukashenko has balls oaf steel, I respect him!” Nothing new here, it might seem. Anyone could express affection for any political leaders and voice support for them in any way, including rather extravagant ones. But in this case, things are different. A downtrodden and broken man, Lukashenko's fierce critic Roman Protasevich, detained following a forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk on May 23, cheerfully recites on camera a pre-learned phrases praising the solidity of the leader's testicles...
The fate of the AR Crimea’s debts under occupation is an important issue. Let us recall that the autonomy had the right to receive funds on credit within the rules of the Ukrainian legal framework. And according to the legislation of Ukraine, “local borrowings are carried out in order to finance the budget for the development of the budget of the AR of Crimea and city budgets and should be used to create, increase or update strategic objects of long-term use or objects that ensure the fulfillment of the tasks of the Verkhovna Rada of the AR of Crimea and city councils aimed at satisfying the interests the population of the AR of Crimea and territorial communities of cities”. However, for whatever lofty goals the debt is taken, it will still have to be repaid. The occupation of Crimea made its own “adjustments” to the well-oiled process of returning previously taken loans, or rather, it completely suspended it. Therefore, many specialists and no less ordinary citizens are extremely interested in who and how will return the loans taken by the authorities of the AR of Crimea in the conditions of the occupation of the peninsula, as well as whether the borrowed funds were spent for the purposes for which they were allocated. Andrey Chvalyuk, candidate of legal sciences, will try to answer these questions.
Today's international isolation of Russia is due to, among other things, the policy of economic sanctions launched back in 2014 by the United States, the European Union, and later joined by other NATO Allies and Council of Europe member states as forced action in response to Russia's meddling in Ukraine and violation of the latter's territorial integrity, including through temporary occupation of Crimea and launching hostilities in the country's east.
After break-up of the Soviet Union, Ukraine and Russia each inherited a variety of military technologies of that period. Over the years, Ukraine's defense sector companies expressly aimed worked towards seeking of further development, in pursuit of Western-level technologies. Conversely, Russia chose not to follow the path of the modern world, keeping its focus on the easiest, which is discrediting competitors through intelligence masterminds and their foreign contacts across the world's map.
Russia has now found itself in a rather difficult situation: western sanctions and an raging pandemic are increasingly undermining their already vulnerable economy, sowing in the minds of ordinary Russians a "seed of doubt" about the effectiveness and stability of Putin's rule. This cannot but terrify the Russian president and his clique, so Kremlin propaganda pundits and intelligence agencies opted for what they believe would be a "win-win game". They are now trying to make things look like Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 has achieved global dominance, while working to compromise Western big pharma competitors.
Origin, alas, is not always a guarantee of virtue. All are the subject to temptations. This is well known in Europe. Christian folk apocrypha about some poor charcoal burner Peter Munch who sold his heart to the «prince of this world» for huge fortunes and, in the end, receives retribution, proves it. The seducer has many hypostases. In modern Europe, these are Russian officials, special services and propagandists (mistakenly called journalists). They seek out the poor in spirit and tempt them with money, success, and exclusiveness. As the saying goes, trouble begins with small mistakes. The seduced, and the one who successfully sold himself, no longer cares about whether the recruiter has encouraged him to do the right thing, or he is helping an archenemy who dreams of those times when Moscow will again get a grip on those who used to tremble before them. And, of course, it doesn’t matter whether he deceives the world or slandered innocent souls...
Ukraine’s security and intelligence services have struggled with reputational issues ever since independence. During the early post-Soviet period, the Security Services and Foreign Intelligence Service operated with much the same mentality as the KGB during the Cold War, with the West seen as the main adversary. However, this has long since ceased to be the case. In the years following the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution, an overdue Ukrainianization process has taken place within the country’s intelligence services. This transformation was on display recently when the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine unveiled the 74-page “White Book 2021” analyzing current international threats to Ukrainian security.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on January 25-28 will hold the first part of this year's regular session in a hybrid format, allowing delegates to participate both via video link and by attending the Strasbourg event in person.
Tragic history is known to repeat itself. The first time it's pure tragedy, and the second – it's also a farce. However, as we already saw in 2014, farce can also turn out to be bloody. Today, the number of parallel lines between modern Russia's foreign policy and that of the Third Reich is staggering and thus frightening. Some other right-wing radical regimes in Europe try not to lag behind Russia's Putinists, having also decided to start "getting up from their knees" and revisit the roots of the "soil and blood" ideology, which laid the foundation of Nazism). In doing so, they look at the experience of their predecessors, the accomplices of Nazi criminals who could be found in any European country.
Russia is constantly trying to manipulate various international platforms and formats to spread its propaganda. December 2, 2020, the Russian Federation tried to use the Arria-formula meeting of the UN Security Council members to legitimize representatives of the “LPR/DPR” militants, invited by Russia as a third party to express their opinion. Representatives of the so-called DPR and LPR — N. Nikonorova and V. Deinego — for the first time at a meeting of the UN Security Council were going to report on the subject: “Implementation of the 2015 Minsk Package of Measures on the settlement in Ukraine: a year since Paris “Normandie” Summit”. Some kind of the Kremlin’s attempt to impose direct negotiations between the militants and Ukraine on the eve of the 2019 Paris Summit in the Normandy format.
Agresywna polityka Rosji na arenie międzynarodowej polegająca na eksportowaniu wpływów geopolitycznych z regionu na region jest jednym z największych wyzwań stojących przed demokratycznym światem. Afryka Północna i Środkowa, Bliski Wschód, Kaukaz i Arktyka to tylko niektóre z wielu regionów, w których Rosja (choć nie zawsze z powodzeniem) próbuje ustalić agendę. Europa Wschodnia, ze względu na swoje znaczenie strategiczne, geograficzne i historyczne, jest dla Rosji najważniejszym regionem, w którym utrata wpływów wywoła „efekt domina” we wszystkich zewnętrznych ofensywach Kremla.