Russia may have the upper hand in the war in eastern Ukraine, but it is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the Ukrainian nation. As a result, the more Russian leader Vladimir Putin tries to pull strings, the more he weakens the cultural and historical ties that have long bound Russia and Ukraine.
Anew police force in Kyiv seems to be winning over the public in the Ukrainian capital, if social media is any barometer. Selfies with some of the 2,000 officers -- many of them young and photogenic, and a fifth of them female -- are all the rage on the Internet.
It appears that a power struggle is intensifying in Russia-annexed Crimea revolving around graft. The infighting pits local officials against Russian federal agencies, including the powerful Federal Security Service.
“Pecunia non olet (“Money does not smell”),” staff tells you at a museum dedicated to the history of toilets in Kyiv, Ukraine.
But the motto, which Roman Emperor Vespasian supposedly said after imposing a tax on public urinals, is only another part of the toilet trivia and bathroom paraphernalia on display at this unusual exhibit.
I recently had the opportunity to spend an extended amount of time in Ukraine, speaking to members of the country’s political and intellectual elite. The most striking impression I came away with was the near-universal disappointment of my interlocutors in the performance of President Petro Poroshenko and his administration.
There was little doubt Mikheil Saakashvili had a second political act in him after leaving the presidency of Georgia in 2013. But few would have predicted he would be politically reborn as a governor of Ukraine’s Black Sea region of Odessa.
They knew it would not be a milestone event. But many in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine nonetheless are finding it difficult to accept the results of the May 21-22 European Union gathering in Riga, Latvia.
RIGA -- Unlike the previous EU Eastern Partnership summit in 2013, which triggered the Ukraine crisis after the country's ex-president scuttled a deal on closer ties with Brussels, the summit that wrapped up May 22 is unlikely to send such shock waves across the continent.
At war over territories and ideology, Russia and Ukraine are also fighting over World War II, the conflict that bonded the two countries together for over a half century as part of the Soviet Union. But this struggle over history is not a straightforward one.