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Protests erupted in Kazakhstan on 2 January 2022 and quickly span out of control, resulting in multiple deaths and several days of chaos. Although initially triggered by a fuel price hike, the unrest points to deeper causes of discontent, including poverty, inequality and frustration at the lack of political change. A Russia-led peacekeeping mission has helped to restore order, but could also compromise Kazakh independence.

Eastern Partnership post-2020 agenda

Uitgebreide analyse 16-12-2021

The geopolitical, economic and security situation in Europe has evolved significantly in the past 12 years since the Eastern Partnership (EaP) was launched in 2009. Taking into account the pandemic context and the growing pressure on democracies and multilateralism worldwide, an assertive Russia under Vladimir Putin and an increasingly influential China, the role and responsibility of the European Union – a major global champion of democracy and multilateralism – in the EaP region are growing. Against ...

For the second time in 2021, a massive Russian military build-up and increasingly hostile rhetoric point to a planned attack on Ukraine. Whereas the previous build-up ended in April with the withdrawal of most troops, this time the signs are more worrying. Russia is demanding a halt to NATO activity in and around Ukraine. The US and the EU are threatening harsh new sanctions against Russia if the attack goes ahead.

Respect for fundamental freedoms is a core value of the EU, which it promotes through its external policy. The European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize honours the work of human rights defenders. With human rights under attack in many parts of the world, the Prize remains as relevant as ever. This year it is awarded to Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny, whose brave refusal to be silenced recalls the work of Soviet-era dissidents such as Andrey Sakharov. The Sakharov Prize will be presented at ...

Over the summer and autumn of 2021, in what is increasingly viewed as a hybrid warfare tactic aimed at destabilising Europe, Aliaksandr Lukashenka's Belarussian regime has instrumentalised migrants, manipulating the organisation of flights from the Middle East to Minsk and deliberately orchestrating migrants' onward travel to the EU-Belarus border. With weather conditions endangering migrants' lives, the situation has also led to serious humanitarian consequences. This activity – which many argue ...

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is often compared with the EU. Both organisations brought together former adversaries and successfully resolved tensions through cooperation, helping to bring peace and prosperity to their regions. However, the EU and ASEAN operate in very different ways. ASEAN is a strictly intergovernmental organisation in which decisions are based on consensus. While this approach has made it difficult for south-east Asian countries to achieve ...

Kyrgyzstan is the most democratic but also the least stable of the former Soviet Central Asian republics. The most recent upheaval resulted in the cancellation of the October 2020 parliamentary elections. New elections scheduled for November 2021 are likely to consolidate the position of Sadyr Japarov, the country's new president. A controversial new constitution raises concerns over the future of Kyrgyz democracy.

Human rights sanctions are nothing new, but the death in 2009 of Russian whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky in detention resulted in calls for more vigorous action to counter continuing abuses in many countries. Adopted by the US in 2016, the Global Magnitsky Act was the first of a new generation of human rights sanctions programmes, which, in contrast to traditional sanctions targeted at individual countries, can be flexibly applied to perpetrators from all over the world, regardless of their geographical ...

Global warming and growing interest in the Arctic's economic potential are bringing changes for the region's 4 million people. The EU's 2016 Arctic policy, prioritising sustainability, economic development and international cooperation, is being revised to reflect these developments. The Foreign Affairs Committee report, on the October I session agenda, notes some of the environmental and security concerns, including the risk of geopolitical tensions.

On 17-19 September, Russia will hold elections at local, regional and national level, most importantly to the State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly. Four hundred and fifty deputies will be elected for a five-year term. Ever since 2003, the State Duma has been dominated by the pro-Putin United Russia party, which currently holds a three-quarters supermajority. With the ruling party clearly in charge, the parliament serves as little more than a rubber stamp for Kremlin and government ...