Our Analyses

Note: the following blogs are analyses based off both authors’ experience and research. The authors’ goal is to offer objective analyses that are informed by intelligence community principles.

Restored Soviet Railways Further Integrate Ukraine with Europe and Help Ease Grain Crisis

Ukraine has established new links to Europe and introduced safe trade routes thanks to an unlikely source: old Soviet railways. In just the last two months, Ukraine has refurbished and now opened three defunct railways in the country’s west. In all, Ukraine has quickly restored about 42 km of old railroad — some of which had been abandoned for decades. How will the restoration of old Soviet railways speed up European integration and help ease the ongoing grain crisis?

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The Growing Problem of Integrating Refugees

Corruption has been a longstanding theme in independent Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries. Since 2014, the government has slowly addressed these systemic issues, but questions about corruption and graft have persisted. In 2019, President Zelenskyy ran on an anti-corruption platform and implemented significant reforms. Still, he has not had a spotless record: he left the position of anti-corruption prosecutor vacant for almost two years. Zelenskyy has been a stellar wartime leader, but Ukraine’s legacy of corruption and his shortcomings have given his critics an easy avenue to undermine the U.S.’s continued support for Ukraine.

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Weaponizing Corruption: How Longstanding Issues Complicate U.S.-Ukraine Relations 

Corruption has been a longstanding theme in independent Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries. Since 2014, the government has slowly addressed these systemic issues, but questions about corruption and graft have persisted. In 2019, President Zelenskyy ran on an anti-corruption platform and implemented significant reforms. Still, he has not had a spotless record: he left the position of anti-corruption prosecutor vacant for almost two years. Zelenskyy has been a stellar wartime leader, but Ukraine’s legacy of corruption and his shortcomings have given his critics an easy avenue to undermine the U.S.’s continued support for Ukraine.

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The Granular Details of the Grain Deal

The freshly signed agreement that will allow Ukrainian grain and Russian fertilizer exports to continue their normal shipping patterns will be a major relief for a food supply chain that has been under acute stress the last several months. Ukraine is one of the largest grain exporters in the world and Russia’s fertilizer exports are equally as important for the agricultural industry. However, reaching a deal required more than just Russia and Ukraine finding a solution for the problem: Turkey and the U.N. served as mediators and played an integral role in ushering in an agreement that pleased all sides. What does this deal mean for all the various players involved?

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What Does Brittney Griner’s Case Mean for Ukraine

Brittney Griner, a WNBA star who spent her off-seasons playing in Russia, is facing up to ten years in prison for bringing cannabis cartridges into Russia. Griner has already pleaded guilty to the charges levied against her in hopes that the judge will issue a more lenient sentence. Her arrest came one week before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, which has led some to question if her detention is a strategic pawn. With Russia potentially seeking a former arms dealer known for circumventing international sanctions in exchange for Griner, Ukraine has every right to be concerned about this prisoner swap.

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An Integrated Ukraine and a Clean Energy Europe

Since the February 2022 invasion, Europe’s energy landscape has changed dramatically as Western leaders impose sanctions on Russian exports and scramble to find alternate energy supplies. As Europe transitions away from Russian gas and oil, Ukraine is in a favorable position to integrate itself with the European market and strengthen its economy via energy exports to Europe. Moreover, part of the integration process might include expanding nuclear energy.

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