25 years ago today the Berlin Wall fell, and the process of the reunification of Germany and Europe began. It’s a good time to look back at what happened, and what it meant for the continent. And with tensions high between the West and Russia, is the time of division really over? Continue reading
This week the Swedish navy has gone on full alert – looking for a Russian submarine. After sightings of a strange shape in waters near Stockholm, numerous ships have been combing the area searching for the vessel. Swedish suspicions have been strengthened by the fact that they allegedly overheard distress signals in Russian from somewhere in the area, followed by encoded messages from Russian’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad. It’s another sign of tensions between Russia and the West, seeing as the exact same thing happened numerous times back in the Cold War. So what went on then? And is Russian now stepping up a ‘bad-neighbour’ policy? Continue reading
This weekend, Putin took the Crimea crisis and put it beyond diplomacy. As far as he is concerned, after the referendum last Sunday Crimea is now part of the Russian Federation, making negotiation unnecessary. This also makes all the Ukrainian soldiers besieged in their bases across Crimea foreign occupiers on Russian soil, and last night saw the first casualty of the conflict – apparently a junior officer named Kakurin. Other Ukrainian military men across the peninsula have been kidnapped or attacked. In response the Ukrainian government has allowed its soldiers to fire in self-defence. Whether Ukraine backs down or starts further violence, in either case Russia has changed the game of international politics in a stunning way. So today it’s important to not only look at the immediate consequences for Crimea, but also at what this means for international politics.