Ukraine – In the West nothing new

In the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea, I wrote about separatism and national sovereignty in Ukraine, and the possibility of war with Russia. At the time, Europe was kept on its toes by the Russian annexation of Crimea and the ongoing violence between pro-Russian rebels, the Ukrainian military and militias in the regions of […]

Glory to Ukraine

One definition of a “failed state” is a state perceived as having lost control of its territory, or of the monopoly of the legitimate use of force therein. When looking at the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the ongoing conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army, this definition may carefully be applied. Where […]

A prison by any other name

On 1 July 2013, the state-run Xinhua media outlet reported on the plans of China’s leadership to reform its “re-education through labour“ system, called Laojiao. The announcement came as part of the most ambitious reform package since the launch of Deng Xiaoping’s “opening-up policy” in 1978. The decision to overhaul the “re-education through labour” camps […]

Catch-22: The EU Eastern Partnership Summit

Next week, starting 28 November, the Third Eastern Partnership Summit of the European Union will be taking place in Vilnius. The Eastern Partnership (EaP), a vital part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), was established in its current form in 2009 and led to an intensification of political contacts between the EU and its six […]

Remembering History: The Night of Broken Glass

In the night, from 9-10 November 1938, the Reichskristallnacht – literally “crystal night”, or Night of Broken Glass – took place. Throughout several cities in Nazi Germany and Austria, angry mobs performed coordinated attacks on Jewish synagogues, shops and other establishments. Store windows were smashed, property was destroyed, the Star of David was painted on […]

Lou is dead

“LET’S FACE IT”, wrote Elizabeth Wurtzel in her 1985 award-winning essay for the Harvard Crimson, “Lou Reed should be dead.” Describing the Velvet Underground lead singer as the only surviving member of the true rock star generation – all destined to die around the age of 27 – Wurtzel saw Reed as never settling for […]

Modern Times: The Internship Exploitation

A university education is no longer a guarantee for job security, every recent graduate can tell you that. I am aware of this fact too. Nobody said it was going to be easy with a social science degree and the crisis still in swing. Still, no one ever said it was going to be this […]

Clandestino: illegale

Clandestine immigrants are a burden no state wants to carry. The fishermen of the Italian island of Lampedusa understood this as they informed the coast guards about the dozens of drowning people they had just pulled out of the ocean, but weren’t given the OK to take them to the shore, where they could receive […]

A Moral Economy

On 16 September, the first South Korean trucks and buses rolled over the demarcation line separating the two countries after a five month hiatus, heading for the Kaesŏng industrial zone. Established in 2002, the industrial complex on North Korean soil is to serve as a collaborative effort to strengthen economic relations on the peninsula. Today, […]

Merkel in the middle

For the rest of this week, a tentatively smiling Angela Merkel will be pictured on every title page and magazine cover in the German-speaking part of the world. According to preliminary results, the conservative party bloc spearheaded by the German chancellor fell just short of obtaining a super majority. Merkel couldn’t have hoped for a […]