A series of dramatic events have been unfolding in the small and historically peaceful Balkan country of Macedonia. Although these events have received much less international attention than Brexit, French elections or even the Eurovision contest, they have significant implications for the rest of Europe and should garner greater attention.
Here’s the background
Macedonia is one of the states that emerged peacefully from the former Yugoslavia, and borders Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. In 2015, Macedonia’s conservative government was accused of using the national security services to wiretap up to 20,000 people for its own political gain. To defuse the scandal, the European Union stepped in to help the four main political parties — the conservative VMRO-DPMNE, the Social Democrats, and two small ethnic Albanian parties — negotiate next steps.… Seguir leyendo »
Symposium introduction: On Sunday, the unexpected happened in Russia. Across the country, coordinated anti-corruption protests drew tens of thousands of people. Ostensibly these were not directed at President Vladimir Putin (although, as you’ll see below, opinions differ.) Rather, opposition leader Alexei Navalny called for the protests in a video released online accusing Prime Minister (and ex-president) Dmitry Medvedev of a spectacular, and corrupt, accumulation of wealth, demanding an investigation. Protests struck dozens of cities, were widely dispersed and were led by pensioners and young people.
To understand these surprising protests, I asked experts on Russian politics from PONARS Eurasia to join an online symposium, answering the question: Do the protests that took place across 99 cities in Russia on Sunday signify that meaningful change in Russian politics is likely?… Seguir leyendo »