Gilles Lepesant

One week before the third Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius on November 28-29, 2013, Ukraine suspended the preparation of an association agreement with the European Union, which had been under negotiation since 2007. When the agreement was finally signed in June 2014, President Yanukovych had fled the country under people’s pressure, and the integrity of Ukraine was challenged in the East by separatists and their Russian allies. These events came paradoxically at a time when the country's cohesion seemed stronger than in the 1990s. Far from being divided into two parts, Ukraine consists of the pieces of broken empires that all have good reasons to join in the state, as recent as this one may be. Indeed, its geography, electoral or economic, does not show a split between two blocks, but various lines of division that do not necessarily herald the breaking up of the state. Since the independence, this diversity had never been translated into new institutions: for several reasons, the reshaping of the centralized regime inherited from the Soviet era was deemed untimely by the country’s political forces. Presented as a priority by the members of the Parliament elected in 2014, the reform of territorial government is being implemented while Ukraine’s driving regions are either paralyzed or threatened by war.

Youth delinquency has been a hot topic in Russian society for many years. Numerous associations, NGOs and international organizations have raised public awareness of the problem and have encouraged the government to place judicial reform on its agenda. However, debate over how to apply it, the various possible models and how to structure the relationship between social and judicial institutions has been limited. Discussion has instead focused on the relative priorities to be given to the interests of children versus those of the family, so-called “traditional” versus “liberal” values, and the extent to which the State should interfere in the private lives of Russian citizens. Discussion of the actual situation of children at risk and the concrete problems posed by reform have been overshadowed by rumors, encouraged by a discourse of fear in an increasingly violent society that tend to distort the real problems. Additionally, implementation of international norms and judicial reform has been largely blocked by the patriotic agenda of the State.

Françoise Daucé

Many online newspapers were created in Russia during the early 2000s, which gave rise to hopes concerning further developments of media pluralism. Their day-to-day operations differ little from those of their Western counterparts. They are subject to the same technical possibilities and to the same financial limitations. Under the increasingly authoritarian Russian regime, however, these common constraints can become political. Economic constraints on editorial boards, limitations on their sources of advertising revenue, administrative requirements, and surveillance of Internet providers are all tools used for political purposes. This article uses the examples of the major news sites that are lenta.ru and gazeta.ru, and the more specialized sites, snob.ru and grani.ru, to show how this political control is based on the diversity of ordinary constraints, which procedures and justifications are both unpredictable and dependent on the economic situation. The result is that political control is both omnipresent and elusive, constantly changing.