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War and Peace hosts Olya Oliker and Hugh Pope recording with Bulle Media from Brussels, July 2019 CRISISGROUP / Julie David de Lossy
Podcast / Europe & Central Asia

War & Peace

War and Peace is a new podcast series from the International Crisis Group. Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope interview experts about all things Europe and its neighbourhood, from Russia to Turkey and beyond. Their guests shed new light on everything that helps or hinders prospects for peace.

Episode 11: A 2020 Peace Agenda for the EU

Europe is closer than global powers like the U.S., China and Russia to many of the decades-old wars and new crises threatening peace and security around the world. As the old multilateral order fragments, European leadership is urgently needed to prevent and mitigate deadly conflict.

Crisis Group’s EU experts Giuseppe Famà and Lisa Musiol join Olga and Hugh in the studio this week to discuss the crises where Josep Borrell, the EU’s recently appointed Vice President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, can help the EU and its member states rise to the challenge.

Click here to listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify or Europod.

For more see Crisis Group’s recent briefing and upcoming EU Watch List 2020.

 

Episode 10: Ground Reality in Nagorno-Karabakh 

The dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh is the longest-running conflict that accompanied the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. War over the territory broke out in 1992 between Armenians and Azerbaijanis.  A ceasefire was brokered in 1994, but decades of negotiations have failed to resolve the conflict.

Our guest this week is Olesya Vartanyan, Crisis Group’s Analyst for Europe’s Eastern Neighbourhood. She explains that grievances and tensions had existed long before the conflict erupted, and that recent calm only papers over years of stalemate that have entrenched positions and isolated Armenians and Azerbaijanis from one another. 

Does Olesya see a way out of the current deadlock? Have a listen to find out.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more information on this conflict, see our recent report: Digging out of Deadlock in Nagorno-Karabakh and our Visual Explainer, which features a uniquely detailed map of the front lines and interactive data charts on reports of casualties and on the use of heavy weaponry, drones and special operations in the conflict zone. 

 

Episode 9: Russia in 2020

2019 was a good year for Russia. The country rejoined the Council of Europe, the first case of sanctions being lightened since its 2014 annexation of Crimea. It confirmed the country’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement. It welcomed close to fifty African leaders to the inaugural Russia-Africa summit in Sochi. Moscow even made progress with Kyiv, although less as a result of Russian diplomacy than the efforts of Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy. 

Andrey Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, joined Olga and Hugh to reflect on 2019 and discuss what 2020 might bring. They weigh in on everything from Syrian reconstruction to arms control to who President Putin might want to win the U.S. presidential election.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

 

Episode 8: Bridging the EU-Russia Divide

Russia’s relationship with the European Union has been mired in tension and mistrust since Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014. But while relations at a political level are strained, in Russian society there is an appetite for more engagement. 

Sabine Fischer is Team Leader for the Public Diplomacy EU and Russia Project, which seeks to build engagement between the EU and Russian civil society on bilateral and global issues and to strengthen mutual understanding where possible. She talks to Olga and Hugh about the project, Western perceptions of Russian foreign policy, how the new European Commission should engage Russia, and how the West can balance its rejection of the Crimea annexation with its broader policies toward Russia.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

 

Episode 7: Holding the EU Flag High

The European Union has invested more in its eastern neighbourhood than in any other region around the world. In the Balkans, for example, huge financial, political and security resources have been mobilised, often behind the flagship policy of offering EU membership to qualifying countries. The wars of the 1990s and the economic hardships that followed have been largely overcome, but enlargement has stalled and the region’s uncertainties continue. The logic of EU enlargement is in even greater trouble further east in Turkey. Here media freedoms have shrunk, relations have strained over Turkey’s incursion into north-east Syria and the two sides are struggling to find a common policy on helping almost four million Syrian refugees in the country. 

Angelina Eichhorst, Deputy Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia/Director of Western Europe, Western Balkans, and Turkey at the European External Action Service, joins Hugh and Olga this week to discuss how the EU and its eastern neighbours can navigate periods of more strained relations and why continued engagement and dialogue is crucial for long-term stability and prosperity.

“We must shape our interests together. We cannot do this by sitting at different tables”.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Episode 6: Defeating Populism

“Populism attaches itself to whatever issue provokes fear and outrage [and] hate speech leads to hate crime”. 

Populist parties have risen up across Europe and beyond, galvanising electorates and threatening the multilateral institutions needed to address transnational challenges like globalisation, deadly conflict, digital transformations and the climate emergency.

Heather Grabbe, Policy Director for Open Society European Policy Institute, joins Olga and Hugh on this week’s episode of War & Peace to discuss how populism works, why its appeal has grown in recent years, and the threat it poses to European democracy. From its ideological adaptability and the role of digital media in amplifying its message to its role in fuelling deadly conflict, they examine what can be done to address the grievances that these parties feed off. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

 

Episode 5: Russia's Winning Streak

Russia’s role on the international stage is rapidly expanding. It is taking over Washington’s monopoly as the Middle East’s power broker, building its influence in Africa and deepening military ties with China. 

In some places, Russia is moving into a vacuum left by U.S. retrenchment. But it is also doing well globally because it is pragmatic about what success means. Its priority is positioning itself to be in the strongest possible place as the new global order shakes out. 

This week, Olga and Hugh discuss what Russia’s winning streak means for arms control, Ukraine, Turkey, the Middle East and a rising China.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

This podcast was recorded on 30 October 2019. 

 

Episode 4: Europe’s Hidden Strengths

The turmoil since the United Kingdom’s 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union has exposed deep fissures not just within British society, but also problems within Europe as a whole. Indeed, a tide of nationalist parties has swept through the continent on an anti-EU platform, triggering heated debate about the union’s true value. 

Jeremy Shapiro, Research Director at the European Council on Foreign Relations, is Olga and Hugh’s guest to discuss these shifting dynamics in the War & Peace studio. Together they reflect on the meaning of European sovereignty, the EU’s relationship with the U.S. under an antagonistic president and the need for a common policy toward their Russian neighbour. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

 

Anna Kovalenko, Deputy Head of the President's Office, Ukraine

Episode 3: Ukraine’s Zelensky Revolution

Anna Kovalenko had just completed a diploma in theatre studies in 2013 when the people of Ukraine gathered on the streets of Kiev to demonstrate against the government’s reneging on an agreement with the European Union. Anna became one of the leaders of these protests, later known as the Euromaidan Revolution. 

Five years on, the country is locked in a protracted conflict with Russia-backed separatists and its relationship with the EU has suffered due to corruption and failed political reform. Many challenges lie ahead for recently elected President Zelensky, a former actor who is now also embroiled in a scandal regarding a July telephone call with U.S. President Trump. 

Anna, Deputy Head of the President’s Office, joins Hugh and Olga to discuss security sector reform, reaching a peace deal with Russia and much more. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

This podcast was recorded on 30 August 2019.

 

 

Episode 2: Europe in the World

“We have failed to export stability, to the extent that we are now importing instability.” 

Europe’s security outlook has shifted dramatically in the last few years. Russia has broken out of the “Cold War consensus”, the Middle East is “on fire” and North Africa is “in chains”. Surrounded by this dangerous instability, Europe is facing a number of its own internal challenges, from migration to the internal debates polarising its citizens, especially in Britain. 

Bert Koenders, a former Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, a UN envoy and a Crisis Group Trustee, joins Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope this week to explore these issues and discuss ways forward. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

This podcast was recorded on 10 July 2019.

 

Episode 1: Europe and Iran 

What was so significant about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and how important was Europe’s contribution to it? Why has U.S. President Trump’s ripping up of the accord and subsequent “maximum pressure” strategy not worked? Amid the ongoing standoff between the U.S. and Iran, what role can the EU and Russia play in salvaging the deal and averting a military confrontation?

Rob Malley, a negotiator of the Iran deal, joins Olya and Hugh to explore these questions. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

This podcast was recorded on 4 September 2019.

This podcast series was produced by Bulle Media