As it was originally conceived, the EDSN project was envisioned to be a long-term endeavor that would cultivate Eurasia-focused scholars and policy entrepreneurs to advocate for Euro-Atlantic conditionality, while also making the organic case for internal reforms. Long-term success is the goal, but some more immediate evidence of impact is always nice to see.
Writing for the London School of Economics’ comment section, LSE Visiting Fellow Max Fras explores the “future of the EU’s Eastern Partnership” ahead of the upcoming EaP summit in November 2017. The analysis is worth a read, as it provides a broad and incisive review of the state of the EaP today, and how the upcoming summit is framing the initiative for the future.
Notably, the piece links to a recently-published EDSN analysis on the Eastern Partnership to advocate for an EaP focus on “highlighting and strengthening the benefits of internal reform in all EaP member states instead of moving goalposts and offering only token rewards and declarations” [emphasis mine].
A link, even from LSE scholars, a critical mass does not make. But it’s at least some evidence that EDSN is gaining traction in the community.
The upcoming Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit, which will take place in Brussels on November 24, will be filled with symbolism for EU-Armenia relations. Four years after Armenia backed away from signing an Association Agreement to join instead the Eurasian Economic Union, the two partners are finally ready to formally sign a new tailor-made agreement—a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement—and take their relations to a new level.
Continue reading Keeping Armenia Close to the EU
In Georgia’s recent local elections, Kakha Kaladze won handily in his bid to become Tbilisi’s mayor. As the nominee of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Kaladze was the strong favorite in an election where the ultimate outcome was never really in doubt. Perhaps understandably, the international media has not paid much attention to Kaladze’s victory — which is essentially a minor story in the global context — except to note that Tbilisi’s new mayor was once a football star. Headlines at ESPN (“Ex-AC Milan defender Kakha Kaladze elected mayor of Georgia capital Tbilisi”), the BBC’s sports section (“Kakha Kaladze: Ex-AC Milan defender elected Tbilisi mayor”), and Reuters (“Former Soccer Star Kaladze Becomes Mayor of Georgia’s Capital”) are all examples of this.
Continue reading The Mayor and the Footballer
Over the last few years, the issue of Russian so-called “hybrid warfare” — and Moscow’s deft, if nefarious, use misinformation and media more generally — have been a central theme in global politics. This narrative found widespread traction in earnest with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, and accelerating substantially with the ongoing revelations of Moscow’s role in the US election of 2016. In Georgia, much of this began earlier, going back at least to the 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia.
Continue reading The Kremlin and the Panopticon
On October 15, Kyrgyzstan is holding presidential elections. These elections are being widely hailed as particularly momentous for Kyrgyzstan (and Central Asia), where incumbent is observing term limits and standing down amid fierce competition from presidential hopefuls. In the days ahead of the vote, however, it remains uncertain whether the Kyrgyz president indeed intends for the elections to be special. While belligerent and active on election-related issues, he has not addressed one hypothetical, but important, question — whether or not he is ready to accept the very real possibility that his hand-picked candidate may be defeated.
Continue reading Kyrgyzstan Elections: Phony War with Real Implications