The Russian invasion of Ukraine provoked shock and outrage across the world. European leaders have been united in their condemnation of this brazen act of aggression, imposing an unprecedented package of sanctions. Between mass displacement of civilians, sharp shifts in energy policy, and military realignment, the effects will be felt in Europe for many years.

How did we get to this point? How can we make sense of the violence taking place at the borders of Europe?

A closer look at Vladimir Putin’s rule and the rhetoric underpinning his politics indicates that perhaps this move should not have taken us by surprise. All the more so given the well-documented crackdowns on Russian civil society, media, and opposition, and the spread of disinformation within Russia and beyond.

But the answers do not only lie in Russia and Ukraine. An examination of global dynamics of economic and political power sheds light on the transformations that have taken place in recent years. The current international order must be looked at anew in light of the threat posed by Putin’s Russia. The recalibration of global governance and institutions to preserve peace is now an even more pressing question.

Europe also needs to look inwards. To the impact of its policies on geopolitical matters, such as military intervention and energy. As far-right and far-left politicians now distance themselves from any equivocation about Putin – how have their past actions helped legitimise the Russian leadership?

Meanwhile, belligerent leaders in the Balkans continue to stir up ethnic tensions to further their power ambitions. The Ukraine crisis is a stark reminder of where such reckless policies can lead. 

Articles in this focus

Editorial: The Invasion of Ukraine is a Wake-up Call

Solidarity with the Ukrainian people in the face of foreign invasion must guide the response.

EN
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“This has the hallmarks of Afghanistan in 1979 or Iraq in 2003”

We spoke to a Russia expert about Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine and what comes next.

DEEN
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The Return of the Brezhnev Doctrine

The worldview of Putin’s Russia reveals a long-standing disregard for the sovereignty and self-determination of its neighbours.

ENPLSQ
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The Unfinished Business of Building Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia is at risk of coming undone as a result of the reckless politics of its leaders and flawed Western reform efforts.

EN
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Europe’s Energy Transition: Ukraine’s Salvation?

Thomas Laffitte looks at the politics of oil and gas, nuclear power and renewables and what they mean for Ukraine and its future.

ENFRPLSQ
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The New World Economic Order

Trade wars, sanctions, and tech blockades are signs of a world economy in the grips of tension and transformation. What underlies this change?

ENPLTR
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Ukraine and EU: the Politics of Changing Generations

An analysis of the Zelensky presidency and Ukraine’s recent relationship with the EU and NATO.

EN
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The Kremlin’s Loyal Friends in Europe

Across Europe, complex entanglements link the Kremlin and the far right. How do these relations work and what’s in it for Russia?

EN
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Dark Globalisation: the Politics of Spectacle

The politics of spectacle aims to distract from corruption, wealth inequality, and human rights violations in Putin’s Russia.

EN
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