The fraudulent parliamentary elections in April 2009, the violent demonstrations held by the opposition in Chisinau and the government’s brutal reaction, as well as the deadlock over the election of the president, revealed a systemic crisis of the Moldovan statehood.
On the fifth anniversary of the Orange Revolution and in the final period of the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko, who then embodied the hopes for state reform, a tentative assessment of the situation in Ukraine is appropriate. Did the revolutionary social upheaval bear revolutionary fruit? Have democratic mechanisms strengthened?
Less demand for gas and the need to reduce production are also having a positive impact – the Russian company is likely to avoid the difficulties in meeting all of its export commitments which, only a year or so ago, it was expected to experience.
Even though the economic crisis proved harmful to the Russian economy and people's living standards, it has nonetheless failed to make the elite revise its policy. Despite some problems, the government has managed to sustain economic and political stability, thanks to the reserves it amassed in the times of prosperity...
A new form of 'transformational crisis' has been observed in Bosnia and Herzegovina since at least 2005. Politicians representing the three major ethno-political communities (Bosnians, Croats and Serbs) have successively been raising disputes and have employed various political tools to preserve the conflicts instead of resolving them.
Important changes have occurred in recent years in the attitude of a majority of the German elite towards the history of the 20th century and the political identity built on collective memory. Until recently, the sense of guilt for the crimes of the Third Reich and the obligation to remember were prevalent.
In late 2006 and early 2007, relations between Russia and Belarus were hit by the most serious crisis in many years. In a setting of heightened tension, the Belarusian authorities decided to gradually modify their economic policy and thoroughly restructure the ruling class. The new situation created new, much more difficult challenges for the Belarusian opposition.
In late August and early September 2006, Kondopoga, a town of 40,000 inhabitants in Russia's Republic of Karelia, became the scene of ethnic riots. The pretext for the outbreak was one specific incident - a fight in a café between the local Russians and a group of Chechens and Azeris, in which two Russians were killed. Several days later, members of the nationalist organisation Movement Against Illegal Immigration arrived in the town and skilfullymanipulated public sentiments by organising rallies in which the demonstrators' demands included the expulsion of all Caucasian immigrants from the region. At night-time, property belonging to members of the Caucasian community was burned or destroyed. It was only several days later that the tense situation was calmed.
Belarus holds a special position in Russian policy due to its geopolitical, military and transit significance. Russia's influence and position in the entire Eastern European region largely depend on how strong Russian influence in Belarus is. The process of Russian-Belarusian integration began in 1994, when Alyaksandr Lukashenka came to power in Minsk.
The rise of a new leader of the state of Turkmenistan – President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who became ruler of the central Asian state after the 21-year rule of Saparmurad Niyazov, the self-proclaimed Turkmenbashi, who died on December 21, 2006 – has initiated changes in Turkmenistan’s political life. The new president has broken with the previous policy of self-isolation, and has directed the country towards openness to the outside world. Opportunities have thereby arisen for competitors in the ‘Great Game’, to gain political influence in Turkmenistan and access to hitherto unexploited Turkmen deposits of gas and oil. A new stage in the Great Game, which has been played for influence in Central Asia and control of access to its energy resources for many years, can thus be said to have been launched, and Turkmenistan has become the main setting for it. The major actors involved are Russia, the United States, China and the European Union.