Abkhazia, Transdniestria, and northern Cyprus exist on maps but are not full nation states. Life goes on, but it is all a little more complicated than elsewhere in the world.
The three South Caucasian countries have found a way to manage their relationship with Russia. If their leaders do nothing stupid to alienate their own populations, they stand a good chance of navigating 2019 without a confrontation with Moscow.
Better engagement with Europe’s de facto states by international actors within a framework of nonrecognition should benefit all sides, yet it remains a big challenge.
Merkel should bury Nord Stream 2 and speed up renewable energy. That could be one of the Chancellor’s signature legacies: breaking Russia’s energy grip on Germany and on Europe.
Similar to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Western powers have been confined to watching events from the sidelines without finding an effective response—so far.
A naval skirmish between Russia and Ukraine in the Sea of Azov further strains an already strung-out relationship. Ultimately, Moscow cannot afford to escalate the tensions—neither can Kyiv.
A young democracy in the Caucasus has adopted a very aggressive style of campaigning.
President Poroshenko hopes to win votes from the issue of church autonomy. But it is a risky strategy, and some commentators are warning about potential violence.
The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo believe swapping territory will create stability in the western Balkans, but this proposal presents enormous risks for the broader region.
The 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine are not about reform and ending corruption but about the influence of the oligarchs.