Tim Ogden

Tim Ogden is a journalist based in Tbilisi, Georgia and the assistant editor of New Europe.

Inside a dictator’s playground

Armed soldiers guard the barbed-wire compound. Helicopters buzz around the parameter, drifting above families on tandem bicycles. Groups of giggling bridal parties flirt with camouflaged guards. They watch on, careful to spot the light-fingered. This is Mezhyhirya, the former playground of exiled Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. The estate has been open to the public since

HMS Defender: What’s behind the Navy’s Russian incident?

Assuming that reports are accurate, the world has just witnessed the most serious escalation between the UK and Russia since the poisoning of Sergei Skripal three years ago. Russian bombs and gunfire were reportedly discharged near HMS Defender, currently patrolling the Black Sea. The Kremlin has justified the supposed aggression by stating that the ship had strayed into

Inside the city under Russian siege

Had I been on the pier just a few days earlier, strolling past the penny arcades, I would have heard the distinctive whompf of Russian artillery fire. Ukrainian politicians are keen to turn the city of Mariupol (population 440,000) into a resort akin to those in Crimea and Turkey. Yet despite the pleasant climate, it

Why Lukashenko keeps getting away with it

The diversion of a Ryanair flight bound for Lithuania from Athens and the arrest of passenger Roman Protasevich – an influential Belarusian blogger critical of the country’s dictatorial regime – is the latest tyrannical action to lead to expressions of grave concern and tempered outrage from the West. However, the fact that the passenger aircraft

Is Russia about to invade Ukraine?

With occasional artillery duels and sporadic exchanges of small arms fire, Ukraine’s long-running civil war was never quite extinguished. However, the embers of the last five years, which have seen dozens killed in skirmishes each month, could now reignite as eastern Ukraine risks becoming an open battleground once again. Around 25,000 Russian troops have been

What does Belarus’s opposition leader want?

There is an assumption that those fighting tyranny must instead want Western-style democracy, that the arc of history bends towards liberal representative government, allied inevitably to Washington and Brussels. Many former Soviet Union countries saw their politburos overthrown by young middle-class people espousing the desire for this kind of politics — from the Rose Revolution in

A defeated Armenia descends into turmoil

Ever since its disastrous military defeat at the hands of Azerbaijan last year, Armenia has suffered from a wave of political unrest, with rallies and protests continuing sporadically. The principal demand of the protestors has been the resignation of the incumbent Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, whose agreement to a ceasefire favourable to Azerbaijan following his

The West should worry about Georgia’s broken democracy

It is the first display of political instability in the Caucasus in 2021. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia on Thursday announced his unexpected resignation. Although his successor has yet to be confirmed, his replacement will be the country’s sixth Prime Minister in eight years. All, including Gakharia, have been members of the same party, Georgian

A fractious America weakens the global order

The countries that formerly composed the Soviet Union states are predominantly divided into three camps: those still strongly affiliated with Russia; those who have already ascended to EU and Nato membership; and the unfortunate remainder that strive to join the West, but which continue to struggle with domestic setbacks and a lack of resolve from

It’s time to expel Turkey from Nato

Even the staunchest Remainer would admit the EU is not currently the happiest ship, sailing in the waters of world politics. Viktor Orban’s self-proclaimed ‘illiberal democracy’ is growing increasingly incompatible with EU values, Poland has expressed distaste for ‘the Brussels elites, blinded by political correctness’, and on two occasions Greece has locked horns with the

Russia’s conundrum in the Caucasus

For the second time since fighting began on 27 September, a humanitarian ceasefire was agreed between the warring countries of Azerbaijan and Armenia — and, for the second time, it was quickly broken. Momentum is now firmly in Azerbaijan’s favour, with Azeri forces capturing a number of towns and settlements in the disputed region of

The conflict that could spark a war

History repeats itself — but sometimes in reverse. Only a pessimist would have predicted a global pandemic followed by a growing regional conflict. And yet the ongoing fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan — and its accompanying web of political ambition, ethnic tensions and territorial disputes — leads to uncomfortable comparisons with the start of the first world war. That

What’s behind the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan?

The outbreak of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the weekend is the latest episode in a saga stretching back to the waning years of the USSR. Although recognised as being part of Azerbaijan, the region of Nagorno-Karabakh is a de facto independent zone populated by ethnic Armenians. Its independence came as a result of a

Why Navalny may not be a friend of the West

At first glance, Alexei Navalny seems like exactly the sort of man the West would want to sit in the Kremlin. He’s anti-corruption, anti-oligarchy, anti-ballot rigging and – most importantly – anti-Putin. Many in the West believe his election would result in a seismic shift in Russian foreign policy – and perhaps even lead to