Deputy Foreign Minister of Albania, Dr Odeta Barbullushi, who studied for a PhD at the University of Birmingham spoke to staff and students about the security threats facing her country and the wider Western Balkans region.
Written by Kevork Oskanian. The Caucasus are more important and more connected today than in the 1990s, and a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan could create chaos for Europe.
Written by Dr Galina Yemelianova. The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has stirred debate about the future direction of the world's richest Arab state. That direction will be significantly coloured by how his brother and successor, King Salman, approaches Wahhabism – the religious sect that is at once an intrinsic part of the state and its biggest threat.
Written by Professor Stefan Wolff. South Sudan's independence in 2011, which ended half a century of deadly conflict, was met with much praise. But a descent into civil war has led to dismay and suggests fresh thinking is required.
Written by Professor Stefan Wolff and Professor Tatyana Malyarenko (Professor of Public Administration at Donetsk State Management University). Ukraine is giving Russia two options – and neither is likely to end well.
Written by Professor Stefan Wolff. Attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia come against a backdrop of increasing extremist violence across the world.
By Karena Avedissian. In Chechnya, the wedding of a 17-year old girl and a middle-aged policeman has put centre-periphery relations and the growing divergence of regional arrangements in Chechnya and the rest of the Russian Federation in the spotlight.
Written by Professor Stefan Wolff. An attempt by the incumbent president to change the constitution and run for a third term has exposed deep and dangerous divisions.
By Dr. Kevork Oskanian. It is difficult indeed to overstate the importance of victory day in Russia. In its solemnity, it is as close to a religious festival as any secular event could be. The Soviet Union was adept at filling the void left by its Marxist atheism with ritual and symbolism, and, more than on other days of the contemporary calendar, its imprint was still palpable on May 9th, 2015.
Written by Professor Stefan Wolff. The terrorist group al-Shabaab has claimed an attack on Garissa University College in eastern Kenya, in which an unclear number have been killed and many others taken hostage.
By Liana Fix - Associate Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations and Visiting PhD Researcher at the University of Birmingham. Forgetting about Crimea and the fate of the Crimean Tatars means implicitly acknowledging Russia's claim to the region. Instead, the international community must demonstrate to Russia that its arbitrary interpretation of international law regarding Crimea has long-term consequences. We are not yet in a post-Crimea phase.
Written by Dr Adrian Campbell. The apparent disappearance of Russian president Vladimir Putin between March 5 and 16 provoked a festival of Kremlinological speculation on a scale not seen since the temporary ousting of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the abortive coup of 1991.
Written by Dr David White. Despite the detention of five suspects, speculation about who is responsible for the brutal assassination of Russia's former deputy prime minister and prominent opposition politician Boris Nemtsov continues unabated.
Written by Dr David White. "The key challenge for Russia's broad opposition movement is to maintain consistently high levels of protest by mobilising passive opponents of the regime – not just as a response to specific events and outside of election periods."
Written by Dr Adrian Campbell. For Russia to make peace with its troubled post-Communist history, it needs a 1990s hero to remember. Boris Nemtsov could be just that.
This Birmingham seminar for the Trouble in the Neighbourhood? The future of the EU's Eastern Partnership project, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK and the University of Birmingham, took stock of recent developments in the EU's relationship with the countries in its eastern neighbourhood: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine.
Written by Professor Stefan Wolff and Professor Tatyana Malyarenko (Professor of Public Administration at Donetsk State Management University). . Just as the latest peace deal to stabilise Ukraine was being put into place, a bomb exploded in the city of Kharkiv, killing two people and injuring at least ten, while another was found and defused in Odessa.
This one day conference discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which is one of the most complex and protracted ethno-territorial conflicts in the post-Soviet space. It focused on the role of local and regional actors and the current political and academic discourses on the conflict.
Written by Dr Richard Connolly. Plummeting oil prices, conflict over Ukraine and the West's imposition of sanctions have contrived to send the Russian economy into a tailspin. But it is not just Russia that is suffering – the economic downturn is having a ripple effect well beyond its borders.
Written by Professor Stefan Wolff. After all night talks in the Belarusian capital Minsk, the outcomes of the four party talks in the so-called Normandy format (Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany) have neither brought a major breakthrough or a complete disaster. As a deal, it is not a solution, but perhaps a step towards one.