MOLDOVA – Moldovan Presidential Elections: An Effective Challenge to Populism (Dumitru Minzarari, The Jamestown Foundation)

On November 20, the Moldovan Central Electoral Commission validated the results of the country’s recent presidential elections, officially giving a victory in the second round (November 15) to Maia Sandu (, November 20).

UNION OF DONBAS VOLUNTEERS/RUSSIA – Deputies With Combat Experience: Union of Donbas Volunteers Looks to Enter Russian Politics (Alla Hurska, The Jamestown Foundation)

On October 31, the Tsargrad Hotel, owned by Russian “Orthodox oligarch” Konstantin Malofeev, hosted the Sixth Congress of the Union of Donbas Volunteers (UDV).

RUSSIA – Rediscovered Moderation a Poor Fit for Russia’s Putinist Policy (Pavel K. Baev, The Jamestown Foundation)

At the G20 summit last Saturday (November 21), virtually hosted by Saudi Arabia, Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to play the role of a wise statesman charting a course of cautious moderation in tumultuous times of economic spasms and pandemic.

CHINA – A Tale of Two Chinese Cities (Zhang Jun, Project-Syndicate)

By recognizing and investing in the strengths of pioneering cities and regions, China has developed a powerful mechanism for organizing and advancing its economic transformation. Judging by the tremendous success of Shenzhen and Shanghai, it seems clear that China will continue to reap the rewards of this approach for decades to come.

USA – The State of America’s Disunion (Michael Spence, David W. Brady, Pproject-Syndicate)

The 2020 US presidential election followed a pattern very similar to the contest in 2016, with narrow margins in a few key counties determining the outcome in battleground states. And the record-breaking turnout on both sides was a sign not of a healthy democracy but of an anxious one.

USA – Crafting a Diplomacy-First US Foreign Policy (Anne-Marie Slaughter, Alexandra Stark, Project-Syndicate)

US President-elect Joe Biden’s pledge to make diplomacy “the first instrument of American power” represents a welcome departure from President Donald Trump’s transactional approach to the world. But crafting a diplomacy-first US foreign policy will require revamping America’s foreign-policy institutions.

A Good but Incomplete Start to Debt Relief (Paola Subacchi, Project-Syndicate)

After initially responding to the pandemic-induced economic crisis with an initiative to postpone developing countries’ debt payments, the G20 has now come back to the table to offer a more plausible solution. But the new common framework for restructuring sovereign debt should be merely a first step in a longer process.