Exploring Putin’s strategic narrative

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By Iulia-Sabina Joja | Berlin

Russia’s foreign policy is President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy. It’s a one- man show. This is partially due to the super-presidential system of the country. However, it is also a one-man show because Vladimir Putin himself, now in his fourth term, has a firm grip on his country and a strong vision for foreign policy. Hence, when endeavouring to scrutinise Russian foreign policy, we have to analyse Putin’s discourse and actions.

Slovakia: Voters’ burning desire for change?

Zuzana_Caputova_Photo by TASR

By Andrej Matišák | Bratislava

For a relatively small country, as Slovakia is usually described, February 2019 was a month of massive diplomatic importance. On this very rare occasion, several top-level politicians visited over a span of few weeks.

First, it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s turn. Slovakia was able to attract her not just for a bilateral visit but also for a meeting of the Visegrád Group during Slovakia’s one-year (July 2018-June 2019) presidency of the V4. Interestingly, Slovakia was successfulin organising a visit by Merkel while Hungary failed to achieve this aim – and, according to various diplomatic sources and experts,not for a lack of trying.

The resilience of systems of government against populists’ autocratic legalism

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By Bogdan Dima | Bucharest
The present article is built on two core assumptions.

The first is that populism refers to a specific understanding of political power which tends to be similar across liberal democracies around the world. If we reduce this concept to its essence, it reveals an anti-pluralist political ideology favouring the concentration of political power in the hands of a political leader or political party which wins free elections, be they presidential or parliamentary.

Romania’s permeability to authoritarian tendencies

Protest_against_corruption_-_Bucharest_2017_-_Piata_Universitatii_-_Photo by Mihai Petre on Wikipedia

By Codru Vrabie | Bucharest

Since the early 2000s, the influential heads of the Romanian executive have attempted to amass more power. Former PM Năstase (2001-04), former President Băsescu (2005-14, especially in partnership with PM Boc, in 2009-11)
and former PM Ponta (2012-15) sought to either bypass the legislature, or to subordinate the judiciary. By trial and error a strategy emerged, to the apparent benefit of the ruling Social-Democrats’ current chairman Liviu Dragnea (since 2015).

There isn’t just one cause for populism, there’s a whole Google1 of them

Photo by Rob Curran on Unsplash

By Dani Sandu | Florence

One of the more intense and inconclusive debates of recent years has focused on the underlying causes for the rise in anti-establishment political figures, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, but more recently in much more
economically advanced societies as well. While these debates have featured both academics and policy practitioners, the results have been far from conclusive, and at times even contradictory.