The crisis in Catalonia has overshadowed nearly all other events in Europe and beyond, but this does not mean that we should not pay attention to developments that are not in the foreground.
For example, the Russian-Belarusian military exercise Zapad came and went—while it was discussed widely before it took place, it has received less attention since. We remedy that mistake. Similarly, we discuss the consequences of the general elections in Germany and Turkey’s downward spiral into autocracy. On the subject of Estonia’s presidency of the Council of the EU, we explore the European Union’s developing defence cooperation.
Ukrainian analyst Sergei Sukhankin writes about the Zapad exercises. “At this point it is quite clear that Russia perceives NATO as its key adversary in the Baltic Sea region, which has (and will likely retain) a pivotal significance for the Kremlin’s geopolitical calculations,” he writes.
Raivo Vare, Ants Laaneots and Kalev Stoicescu comment on Sukhankin’s article.
BBC journalist Damien McGuinness looks at the potential impacts of the German elections. He thinks the re-elected chancellor, Angela Merkel, will keep Germany stable, but the politics of the country are changing.
ICDS senior research fellow Pauli Järvenpää analyses defence cooperation within the European Union. “The member states of the EU (and NATO) are slowly waking up to the new reality that there will be no business as usual. It is also now clear that there is strong political momentum to find ways to enhance EU (and NATO) defence and security,” he says.
Sten Tamkivi discusses the cybersphere with former President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves. “The problem is that IT people do not understand what democracy is, and those who understand what democracy is cannot comprehend what IT is,” says Ilves.
Researchers Vladimir Sazonov and Urmas Asi write about the retreat of democracy in Turkey. According to the authors, “One could say that a sort of ‘neosultanate’ has already been born, as it exists in the minds of Erdoğan and many of his followers who envision Turkey becoming a great nation ruled by a strong personality, a sovereign. The ‘neosultanate’ also means that Turkey would no longer rely on secular values and ideas, not to mention liberalism and democracy.”
Analyst Monica M. Ruiz writes about the objectives of Russian information operations. She thinks these can be categorised as “infotechnical” and “infopsychological”.