Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev prior to the cabinet meeting in Moscow on 15 January 2020 (Photo: picture alliance/AP Photo).

Lost in transition? Putin’s strategy for 2024

Speculations about “Транзит“ or transfer of power have circulated in the Russian mass media since Vladimir Putin got elected as the President of the Russian Federation for the fourth time in March 2018. The turbulent political events of the first weeks of 2020 shed some light on Putin’s strategy for his future. In case he chooses to leave the president’s chair, he will hardly be able to fully control the handover of power and will likely face some unintended consequences.


Normandy Format Summit Held in Paris | Photo: picture alliance/ZUMA Press
Normandy Format Summit Held in Paris | Photo: picture alliance/ZUMA Press

What does the Normandy Summit mean for the peace process in Ukraine?

The beginning of conflict in Eastern Ukraine is nearing its sixth anniversary. The concerted effort of Russian, French, German and Ukrainian leaders to settle this issue diplomatically has yielded few tangible results so far. The recent meeting in Paris of four leaders gives ground for cautious optimism. What have the parties agreed upon? What problems remain and what has changed since the last round of Normandy negotiations?


Antonov-Flugzeuge stehen
Antonov An-30 Flugzeuge stehen auf dem Militärflugplatz Kubinka bereit für Beobachtungsflüge | Foto: picture alliance/Russian Look.

Dunkle Wolken am Offenen Himmel. Verlassen die USA den Open Skies Treaty?

Steht nach dem Ende des INF-Vertrages der nächste Meilenstein der Rüstungskontrolle vor dem Aus? Laut der rüstungsnahen und gemeinhin gut informierten Zeitschrift „Defense News“ konfrontierte die US-Regierung Mitte November Verbündete mit ihrer schon länger vermuteten Absicht¹, aus dem Open Skies Treaty (OST), dem Vertrag über den Offenen Himmel, auszutreten.² Das zentrale Argument: Der Vertrag gefährde die nationale Sicherheit der USA und er könne durch den Rückgriff auf eigene hochauflösende Satellitenbilder ersetzt werden. Es heißt, dass die USA den Schritt für Januar 2020 angekündigt hätten. Noch vor wenigen Wochen hatten sich die Europäer für einen US-Verbleib stark gemacht, denn nach dem INF-Vertrag droht nun einem nächsten Pfeiler europäischer Sicherheit das Ende.


The Chernobyl nuclear power plant sarcophagus | Photo: Petr Pavlicek/IAEA via Wikimedia

Chernobyl’s Fallout, Beyond Radiation

“What’s it like, radiation? Maybe they show it in the movies? Have you seen it? Is it white, or what? Some people say it has no color and no smell, and other people say that it’s black. Like earth. But if it’s colorless, then it’s like God. God is everywhere, but you can’t see Him.” Like so many others affected by the meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the interviewee in Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl, struggled to grasp how something too small to be perceived by our senses could have such an enormous effect on human affairs.


Nils Schmid and Vera Rogova at the Schlangenbad Talks 2018 | Photo: Olga Gladushevskaya
Nils Schmid and Vera Rogova at the Schlangenbad Talks 2019 | Photo: Olga Gladushevskaya

“It is not enough to diagnose a crisis – we also have to actively deal with it.” An interview with Nils Schmid

A crisis or even the end of the liberal, multilateral world order is a frequently-heard diagnosis these days. In her interview with Nils Schmid, Member of Parliament for the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Vera Rogova asks about possible coping strategies, Chinese and Russian influence and Germany’s current and future role in international politics.


Preperations for the 1945 San Franisco Conference, a milestone for the current world order
Preperations for the 1945 San Franisco Conference, a milestone for the current world order | Photo: UN Photo | CC BY NC ND 2.0

“Recalibrating European security”?: A reply

Hans-Joachim Spanger rightly points to the main challenges to European security emphasizing that new challenges could only be adequately addressed against the backdrop of the global political changes of the last ten to twenty years. He makes a worrying diagnosis of the current state of European security, and provides some practical recommendations for improving the situation. However, we should not give up upon the existing order with its liberal norms and principles so quickly as this would strengthen those actors that seek to undermine it.


Videointerview mit Vera Rogova und Hans-Joachim Spanger

Die Schlangenbader Gespräche als Forum für die deutsch-russischen Beziehungen

Die Schlangenbader Gespräche werden häufig als Stimmungsbarometer für die deutsch-russischen Beziehungen bezeichnet. Seit 1998 treffen sich dort jährlich hochkarätige TeilnehmerInnen aus Politik, Wissenschaft, Militär und den Medien um sich über aktuelle Herausforderungen auszutauschen – dieses Jahr zum Thema „Die liberale Weltordnung am Ende? Herausforderungen europäischer Selbstbehauptung“.


The UN Security Council takes a vote
The UN Security Council takes a vote | Photo: UN Photo | CC BY NC ND 2.0

Ways out of the crisis: recalibrating European security

European security is in crisis. Like every crisis, this one not only has a prior history, it has also been in the offing for quite some time. 2008 marked a first peak, after the Bush administration offered the NATO Membership Action Plan to Georgia and Ukraine: Russia demonstrated in the war with Georgia who sets the tone in the former Soviet Union. A similar pattern emerged in 2014 in the Ukrainian crisis, this time with the EU in charge and Russia reacting even more forcefully. Since then, the crisis has escalated with almost unrestrained momentum. Its most recent expression is the termination of the INF Treaty, which carries with it the acute danger of a new (medium-range) missile crisis on the continent.