The conflict began when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

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A Ukrainian tank conducts operations in the Donbas region.

By Gabriella Gricius

The war in the Donbas has been in a state of frozen conflict since May of 2014. As the upcoming Ukrainian presidential elections near, many have started to wonder what the future holds for the Donbas.

Since the conflict originated in 2014, more than 10,000 people have been killed and over one million have been displaced. Unfortunately, Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenca, a United Nations official associated with the ongoing Minsk accords, acknowledged that negotiations“appear to have lost momentum.”

If the UN-backed negotiations have effectively stalled, Ukraine must evaluate its alternatives. There are over 44 candidateswho hold varying…


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Russian President Vladimir Putin with President of Ingushetia Yunus-Bek Yevkurov (left) and Chechen President Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov (right).

By Gabriella Gricius

On September 26, 2018, Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov and his Ingush counterpart Yunus-bek Yevkurov signed a bill initiating a land swap between Chechnya and Ingushetia. In the following months, this seemingly straightforward agreement has grown into a major issue that threatens to upend the stability of the Northern Caucasus region. Mass protests began October 4 in the Ingush capital of Magas and continued until October 17.

Around 10,000 people attended these protests, an unprecedented number for Ingushetia, where the population is just over 450,000. The protests stemmed from a lack of public deliberation regarding the bill and…


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Refugees from the Central African Republic observe as Rwandan troops arrive to fight rebels in the country.

By Alexandra Gilliard

Following the decolonization of Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, African governments decided against redrawing arbitrary national borders that were created by European powers. In many states, this decision gave rise to political, ethnic, and religious violence for the latter half of the 20th century. The Central African Republic (CAR) is one such state, having wavered in and out of conflict since its independence from France in 1960.

The CAR’s population is primarily split between into two regions: most of the country’s minority Muslim population inhabits the Sahel, while the majority Christian community is located mainly in…


For over four years, Western governments and international organizations have levied increased sanctions on Russia.

By Gabriella Gricius

Sanctions were first imposed in 2014 when the United States and European Union imposed visa restrictions and asset freezes on Russian officials in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and subsequent intervention in Ukraine.

Despite these sanctions, however, there appears to have been no change in Russian behavior. Given that the point of these restrictions was to change Russia’s rogue state mindset vis-à-vis Ukraine and interference in other states, it begs the question of how effective these measures are.

Russian activity in Syria has increased while Russian-sponsored disinformation campaigns in the U.S. and European countries show…


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Inter-Services Intelligence

By Alexandra Gilliard

On December 7th in the Kishtwar district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, police arrested an individual suspected to be working as an agent for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He was charged with intending to carry out a terror attack on behalf of a Pakistan-based terrorist organization, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. The accused, Sehran Sheikh, is alleged to have collected information and video of police and armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir. Once in possession of this information, Sheikh transferred it using a mobile phone to Pakistani phone numbers. …


Expanding the Lexicon

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By Cameron Vaské

Over the past year and a half, European foreign policymakers and thought leaders have adopted a new lexicon. Terms like strategic autonomy and defense union have become commonplace in the face of wavering American commitments to NATO and the transatlantic alliance. Europe has come to realize that the United States is no longer the stalwart ally of the Cold War era. The shift in the discussion hints at a move towards greater European collective action on the world stage. …


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Georgian President-Elect Salome Zurabishvili

By Gabriella Gricius

After a contentious election and subsequent runoff, Salome Zurabishvili claimed victory as the next President of Georgia. The election coincides with constitutional reforms that will alter Georgia’s system of governance.

The 2018 Georgian Presidential Elections mark the final stage in a process introduced by former President Mikhail Saakashvili that aims to shift Georgia’s system of governance from a presidential to a parliamentary-based state. Georgia’s new president, Zurabishvili, will be the last elected via a direct popular vote. From this point on, executive power will rest almost exclusively with the Prime Minister.

Changing the system of governance is…


The concept of security has evolved considerably since the end of the Cold War.

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By Joshua Stowell

Security is an inherently contested concept, encompassing a wide variety of scenarios, and is commonly used in reference to a range of personal and societal activities and situations.

Security can be distinguished between day-to-day security at the individual level (nutritional, economic, safety), security for favorable conditions (the rule of law and due process, societal development, political freedom), and security against adverse conditions or threats (war and violence, crime, climate change).

The term security is used in three broad segments. The first is the general, everyday use of the term. In this instance, security refers to the desire…


In 2015, Yemen’s civil war evolved into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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Saudi Troops in Yemen

By Alexandra Gilliard

Both powers are vying for regional hegemony as Iran seeks a foothold in the Arabian Peninsula, while Saudi Arabia works to remain at the top of the region’s hierarchy and protect its national security.

The people of Yemen continue to languish in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as the conflict persists. The situation has been aggravated by violent attacks against cities alongside growing food insecurity perpetuated by closed ports and embattled infrastructure. The proxy war has fomented widespread instability in Yemen, creating a breeding ground for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

While most Al-Qaeda offshoots have…


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The Saeima (Parliament) in Riga, Latvia

By Gabriella Gricius

As Latvia’s election results were tallied on the first Saturday of October, many domestic and international observers were shocked to see that the center-left, pro-Russia “Harmony” party won 19.9 percent of the votes and will receive 23 seats out of Latvia’s 100-seat parliament. However, is there really reason to be surprised?

Over the past few years, European states have been observing the steady increase in popularity for populist and Eurosceptic parties within their borders. …

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