Struggle for Ukraine


Containing the Kerch Crisis

Legal positions and geopolitical realities are different things. No one besides Turkey recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Only a handful of countries apart from Russia back the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Nagorno-Karabakh is formally regarded by everyone as part of Azerbaijan. Yet any attempt to substitute the legal position for the geopolitical reality in any of these cases is bound to lead to a collision. Crimea belongs in the same category, only the consequences of the collision are likely to be on a much higher order.

Losing the Plot—Ukraine’s Opposition Seeks a Strategy

Ukraine’s pro-Russian opposition is targeting next year’s parliamentary elections, not the presidential ones—so is Russia. But they cannot agree among themselves on who their leader should be and what their strategy is.

Election Gambit: What’s Behind Russia’s Sanctions on Ukrainian Politicians and Businessmen?

Russia’s recent imposition of sanctions on Ukrainian politicians and businessmen is all about Ukraine’s upcoming presidential election. No, the Kremlin isn’t trying to get Ukrainian oligarchs to back a hypothetical pro-Moscow candidate. Rather, this is a misplaced attempt to restore the pre-war status quo, consolidate the elites of Ukraine’s notorious southeast, and end the war that hinders the business community.

The Lessons of the Donbas Election Campaigns

The romantic spirit of 2014 that supporters of the unrecognized Donbas republics remember so fondly has completely dissipated. Today, the poster child of Donbas is not a tough guy in fatigues, but an “effective manager” in a suit and tie who is ready to take unpopular decisions as directed from above and relay the bad news to the people, including about negotiations with Kyiv.

The Church Strikes Back: Moscow Breaks With Constantinople?

The Russian Orthodox Church has broken off full communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople after he took steps to recognize two Ukrainian Orthodox Churches that Moscow regards as “schismatic.” Russian Orthodox believers will bear the brunt of these self-imposed sanctions. But it didn’t have to be this way.

Orthodox Déjà Vu: Ukraine’s Church Split Is Nothing New

There have been many schisms in the Eastern Orthodox world, some more peaceful, some more agonized. Moscow and Kiev should choose one of the more peaceful splits as a good historical example.

Resolving Ukraine’s Orthodox Church Crisis

Ukraine already has the autonomous Moscow Patriarchate Church. Soon, the country might also have an autonomous Constantinople Patriarchate Church. The Moscow patriarch has threatened to sever ties with Constantinople if the Ukrainian Orthodox Church becomes autocephalous, or fully independent from another country’s patriarch. This probably won’t happen if the church only becomes autonomous, stopping one step short of autocephaly.

The Demise of the Counter-Elite: How Zakharchenko’s Killing Will Change Donbas

Former Ukrainian security service officer Alexander Khodakovsky is a leading candidate for the leadership of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). His appointment would be in sync with the current trend of replacing popular leaders with in-system security officers. The move would close a chapter in the revolutionary history of the DPR, and would indicate that Moscow is prepared to reintegrate Donbas into Ukraine and transfer power in the unrecognized republics to leaders who are more acceptable to Kiev.

Truth Without Borders: Why Faking a Journalist’s Death Won’t Help Ukraine

As the world debates the danger of manipulating public opinion through fake news, Ukraine has created a false narrative of global significance. Blurring the borders of truth is unlikely to help Ukraine in the long run. But the country’s desire for a spectacular victory over its enemy outweighed other concerns.

Donbas Businessmen: From Victims to Peace-Builders?

A well-established private sector makes the Donbas conflict different from the separatist conflicts of the early 1990s in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Private business is a strong pro-peace force because lawlessness, a fragile security environment, and a shrinking population and its impoverishment can be crippling to business operations. Engaging the private sector in conflict prevention can contribute to the recovery and consolidation of peace in the region
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