Tag Archives: European Union

Did the Kremlin launch an invasion to guarantee Putin’s succession?

Independent Russia has yet to come up with a way of transferring power other than war

By Dmytro Babachanakh  Published 5-4-2022 by openDemocracy

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in power since 2000 | Image: Kremlin.ru

Much has been written about Russia’s war against Ukraine and yet for many, one fundamental question remains unanswered: why did Vladimir Putin decide to launch a full-scale invasion in the first place?

When the Kremlin annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and occupied the Ukrainian Donbas region in 2014, the explanation for its actions seemed straightforward. In response to Ukraine’s revolution that removed a pro-Russian president, Russia had sought to gain complete control of Crimea and turn it into a military base, weakening Ukraine and stalling the country’s integration with NATO and the EU. Continue reading

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EU Enacts Landmark Social Media Law to End Self-Regulation by Big Tech

“As the U.S. agonizes over misinformation and hate speech on social media and the harm it does to democracy,” said one journalist, the European Union passed the Digital Services Act “to tackle the problem.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 4-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Jason Howie/flickr/CC

The European Union on Saturday passed a landmark law that seeks to reduce social media’s harmful effects by requiring Big Tech corporations to quash disinformation and illicit content on their platforms or else face multibillion-dollar fines.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) would compel Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and other platforms “to set up new policies and procedures to remove flagged hate speech, terrorist propaganda, and other material defined as illegal by countries within the European Union,” the New York Times reported. Continue reading

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Biggest Oil Giants Made ‘Eye-Popping’ $205 Billion in Profits in 2021: Report

Now, fossil fuel giants are trying to “cash in on inflation and the crisis in Ukraine,” said one critic.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 3-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Thomas | Mutch Games/Twitter

While millions of working people have been hurt by surging gas prices, a new analysis out Tuesday shows that 25 of the world’s biggest fossil fuel corporations collectively pulled in an “eye-popping” $205 billion in profits last year—and Big Oil is exploiting Russia’s war on Ukraine to charge even more at the pump in 2022 and advance its financial interests.

According to a new report from government watchdog Accountable.US, top oil and gas companies took “full advantage” of last year’s sky-high prices and record profits. Fourteen firms rewarded shareholders with more than $35 billion in stock buybacks and dividend bumps. Continue reading

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The Cold War, modern Ukraine and the spread of democracy in the former Soviet bloc countries

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Michael De Groot, Indiana University

As Russia masses forces and equipment on Ukraine’s border, international tensions over a possible invasion intensify almost daily. Ukraine has emerged as ground zero of what some pundits have dubbed a new Cold War between Russia and the West.

In my view as a Cold War historian, this comparison distorts the Cold War and misrepresents the stakes of the current crisis.

Yet reviewing the Cold War is important because its legacy shapes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy toward Ukraine. Continue reading

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What would Western sanctions mean for Russia?

The unprecedented measures proposed by the US, the EU and the UK could create chaos in Russia’s economy and impoverish its population

By Isobel Koshiw.  Published 2-8-2022 by openDemocracy

Russian President Vladimir Putin Photo:: Kremlin.ru

Proposed Western sanctions could almost cut Russia out of the global financial system, creating chaos for the Russian economy and impoverishing ordinary Russians, experts have warned.

The measures threatened by the US, the EU and the UK if Russia incurs further into Ukraine would be unprecedented. Previous countries that have faced similar sanctions – such as North Korea and Iran – were peripheral to the global markets in comparison to Russia. Continue reading

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‘Utterly Obscene’: Just 8 Pfizer and Moderna Investors Became $10 Billion Richer After Omicron Emerged

“Pharma execs and shareholders are making a killing from a crisis they helped to create,” said one justice campaigner.

By Jon Queally.  Published 12-5-2021 by Common Dreams

In the first week that the Omicron variant sparked global fears of a new wave of infections, a small handful of investors and executives with Pfizer and Moderna—currently the world’s preeminent makers of Covid-19 vaccines—saw over $10 billion in new wealth, with the Moderna’s CEO alone adding over $800 million to his personal fortune.

Based on data compiled by Global Justice Now and released Saturday, “just 8 top Pfizer and Moderna shareholders” added a combined $10.31 billion to their fortunes last week after stock prices soared in response to the emergence of Omicron. According to a statement by the group: Continue reading

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EU Joins Rights Group in Condemning Israel’s ‘Day of Destruction’ of Palestinian Homes

“Demolitions are illegal under international law and significantly undermine the prospects for peace.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 11-28-2021 by Common Dreams

sraeli forces use bulldozers including a U.S.-made Caterpillar to destroy Palestinian homes in illegally occupied East Jerusalem. (Photo: jenniferlisa/Flickr/cc)

The European Union on Friday joined a prominent Israeli human rights group in condemning last week’s demolition of multiple homes in occupied East Jerusalem, an illegal action that displaced 22 Palestinians including 15 children.

“We reiterate our call to halt demolitions and any other unlawful practices that coerce Palestinians out of their homes,” the European Union Delegation to the Palestinians (DPAL) tweeted. Continue reading

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Trouble on the Belarus-Poland border: What you need to know about the migrant crisis manufactured by Belarus’ leader

Hopes for a better future?
Maxim Guchek/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images

Tatsiana Kulakevich, University of South Florida

Using migrants as pawns is perhaps nothing new. But rarely do you have a situation in which one country encourages a migrant crisis on its own border for nakedly geopolitical reasons.

That is what appears to be happening at the Poland-Belarus border, where violence has broken out between Polish border guards and Middle Eastern migrants who traveled there via Belarus, and who are set on reaching the European Union. Meanwhile, there is growing concern over those camped out in freezing conditions. Continue reading

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As Climate Summit Ends, Activists Say ‘Hollowed-Out’ Deal Leaves 1.5°C Goal ‘On Life Support’

Critics also warn that “COP26 will be remembered as a betrayal of Global South countries—abandoned to the climate crisis with no money for the energy transition, adaptation, or loss and damage.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 11-13-2021 by Common Dreams

COP26 president Alok Sharma. Photo: Bank of England/flickr/CC

Faced with new research showing a significant gap between current commitments to cut planet-heating emissions and the Paris agreement’s 1.5°C target, negotiators from nearly 200 countries on Saturday struck a deal that critics say falls short of what is needed to tackle the climate emergency.

The agreement came out of COP26, the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland that was scheduled to wrap up Friday. As talks spilled over into Saturday, global campaigners expressed frustration with what they called “a clear betrayal by rich nations.” Continue reading

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Kurdish group claims Turkey is using chemical weapons. Why is nobody investigating?

The international community is failing in its duty to investigate allegations that Kurdish forces are being killed in Turkish attacks

By Sarah Glynn  Published 11-5-2021 by openDemocracy

Kurdish protesters attend a demonstration against Turkey’s military action in 2019. Photo: The Left/flickr/CC

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has called on international organisations to investigate its claims that Turkey has used chemical weapons against Kurdish forces in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq more than 300 times. The party invited international delegations to visit the region and inspect the mountain tunnels where it alleges chemicals still linger and examine the bodies of PKK guerrillas whom it says were killed in the attacks.

The PKK has published videos of gases welling from tunnel entrances, as well as details of those who have allegedly been killed and accounts of survivors. Continue reading

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