"The Baltic Forum" in 2015 plans to hold a series of events dedicated to the problems of Ukrainian-Russian relations. Since preparation for the events, we open a series of publications on the subject, which will be displayed Ukrainian, Russian and foreign experts opinion.
by Balázs Jarábik, Carnegie Europe
Ukraine may be heading not toward federalization or decentralization, but feudalization. To avoid this, the focus should not only be on central, macro-level reforms but also on building civil society to make those larger reforms sustainable.
Last month, when Ukrainians celebrated the first anniversary of the start of the EuroMaidan Revolution, there were no European Union flags waving on Kyiv’s central square. The scene was reminiscent of when students first took to the streets on November 21, 2013 to protest former President Viktor Yanukovych’s corrupt regime. Indeed, the ongoing crisis has again brought to the fore many of the impulses that ignited the first round of protests on Kyiv’s Independence Square. Since the annexation of Crimea, Ukrainians have again become more concerned with the domestic character of their country, and less concerned with its orientation toward Russia or the West.
by Dmitri Trenin, Carnegie Europe
At the 52nd Munich Security Conference on February 12–14, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev delivered the speech Vladimir Putin would have made had he cared to come to Munich this year. In fact, the Russian president has not attended this annual gathering of political leaders and security experts since 2007. Medvedev’s words were tough and his analysis exceedingly bleak, but his main point was an offer to put the glaring Russian-Western differences and bitter conflicts to one side and focus on a common threat coming from extremism.
Putin had used the same approach when he addressed the UN General Assembly in September 2015, right before he ordered the Russian Air Force to start its bombing campaign in Syria. The response from the West then, as now, was negative about the underlying premise and skeptical of the offer itself. The current confrontation between the United States and NATO, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other, will run unabated; within that continuing confrontation, however, a degree of cooperation is possible.