Category Archive: Podcasts

Why sanctions help dictatorships

Sanctions on Belarus have been tried and failed, I argued in this piece in March 2006, following the rigged elections in that benighted country.

Making Meri the model for Estonia

I’m a big fan of Estonia, which means I am particularly sharp about its shortcomings – as in this piece, written in March 2006.

The theoretical power of a good conspiracy

Conspiracy theories are a staple of the Kremlin’s propaganda in the New Cold War. In this piece, from March 2006, I look at their roots—and corrosive effects.

Brain gym at the end of the universe

The British Helsinki Human Rights group is long since defunct. But engaging with its anti-Western parallel universe can be good mental exercise, as I argued in this piece from March 2006.

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder

In another lighthearted piece from early 2006, I looked at the myths and reality around Absinthe, a mysterious and much-talked about drink.

Trial by fire, water and TV in Belarus

The topic of fake news—colourful but fictional stories designed to skew a country’s politics— made headlines in 2016 in America’s presidential election. But it was alive and well in Belarus ten years earlier, as I noted in in this piece in February 2006.

Bigos is best when it’s ten degrees below zero

It wasn’t all doom and gloom back in eastern Europe in 2006. In this light-hearted piece I looked at the delights of regional cuisine, praising tradition but also encouraging novelty – Estonian ostrich, anyone?

A vegetative state in Romania

Romania joined the European Union in 2007. I went there in January 2006, and was worried by the poverty I found in a provincial town.

An A-Z guide to European gas wars

Energy security sounds boring, but it could hardly be more important. On 26 January 2006, before the European Union had got to grips with Grazprom, I wrote this A to Z guide to the gas wars.

The Lion, the Witch and the Berlin Wall

For a change of tone in this column, written in January 2006, I looked at classic children’s and fantasy fiction, and what it could tell us about geopolitics and philosophy.

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