April 2014

Renewable Energy in the EU: Change of Priorities


By Nikolay Kaveshnikov

Despite impressive technological progress, renewable energy remains largely uncompetitive with conventional energy sources. The reason for the rapid development of renewable energy in the European Union has been primarily large-scale government support. During the economic crisis, these subsidies have become a heavy burden on EU budgets and the wider population. Currently, the EU is modifying its strategy for renewable energy in order to reduce the share of support it offers. This will inevitably lead to a sharp reduction in the development of renewable energy, a failure to reach previously agreed-upon targets and the continuation of the current dependence on imported hydrocarbons.

Which Former Soviet State Could Be the Next Ukraine?


By Linda Kinstler

The continuing crisis in Ukraine has everyone wondering whether Putin will strike elsewhere in the post-Soviet space next. Russia has so far justified its actions by saying that it has an obligation to protect Russian speakers everywhere, which could plausibly be used as an excuse to make additional landgrabs in independent nations that used to be part of the USSR. The former Soviet states know that very well, and all of them are moving to defend themselves against a future Russian invasion. In some cases, that means that old foes are smoothing over their differences for the sake of increasing security; in others, that means appealing to the European Union and NATO for defense assurances. Here's a roundup of how the escalating situation in Ukraine is impacting all of the former Soviet states.

Talking with Poland’s foreign minister about the Ukraine crisis and Russia’s next moves


By Lally Weymouth

Poland’s foreign minister, Radoslaw “Radek” Sikorski, has been intimately involved in the Ukraine crisis, including in the negotiation of an agreement in February that then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych walked away from, further fueling the Maidan protest. Sikorski spoke with The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth Wednesday, ahead of the diplomatic talks in Geneva aimed at defusing hostilities, about the crisis, U.S. global credibility and what Vladi­mir Putin has his eyes on next. Excerpts:

Is Turkey 'gravitating' toward China?


Top Turkish authorities, Prime Minister Erdogan first and foremost, have been voicing their eagerness to join China and Russia in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on various platforms in recent years. Ankara recently became an SCO “dialogue partner”, and stated its willingness to participate more actively within the SCO as the single NATO member in such a position. Ankara has been demonstrating its will to increase mutual ties with Beijing through several important projects—and not only in economic terms but in the fields of defense, aviation, high-speed railroad infrastructure, nuclear energy, and high-technological cooperation as well. Such an effort to draw closer to China was reinforced by five top-level visits between China and Turkey from 2009 and 2012, including PM Erdogan's visit to China in April 2012—the first such visit in 27 years.