Russia occupies an unusual position on the world stage. Under President Vladimir Putin, Moscow has repeatedly demonstrated that it has the capacity to destabilize the international order, but not the capacity to fill the vacuum it is creating. This collection is an entry point to WPR’s comprehensive coverage of Putin’s Russia.

The EU is attempting to become a geopolitical actor amid a renewed war in Israel and Palestine.

As is often the case when faced with an unexpected crisis, infighting hampered the EU’s ability to respond to the Israel-Hamas war. Critics pointed to the disarray as proof that the EU can never become a truly geopolitical actor. But once the EU finds its feet, its long-term responses to new challenges can prove remarkably resilient.

Armenia and Azerbaijan's longstanding conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh ended in September 2023.

In a lightning strike on Sept. 19, Azerbaijan extinguished more than 30 years of de facto self-governance by ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. For Armenians, its loss is perceived as a catastrophe. For Azerbaijanis, the outcome represents restored sovereignty. But how the conflict ended has key implications for the future.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters

One of the reasons for the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House speaker by so-called MAGA Republicans was their opposition to sending more funding and military assistance to Ukraine amid Russia’s war there. The question this raises is: Why? Why is Ukraine aid such a common cudgel for the MAGA wing of the GOP?

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice

Poland’s parliamentary elections on Oct. 15 could cement the ruling PiS party’s hold on power—or usher in its demise. Once again, the election centers on the rivalry between PiS and the centrist Civic Platform party that has dominated Polish politics since the mid-2000s. Warsaw’s partners and allies will be watching closely.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has dealt with domestic issues like corruption and democracy.

As Ukraine fast approaches its third year of all-out war, flickers of domestic politics have begun to reappear. That has created a new challenge for Ukrainian members of parliament who want to ensure accountability without undermining the war effort, at a time when support from Western allies is being thrown into question.

Russia's war in Ukraine has led to a breakdown in the international security order.

In the same week, Azerbaijan seized control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region in a lightning military advance and Serbia amassed troops on its border with Kosovo. The dual military crises, while concerning in and of themselves, also point to how the war in Ukraine is breaking down the international security order.

Polish opposition leader Donald Tusk speaks during a campaign rally.

With less than two weeks before Poland holds elections, odds favor the ruling Law and Justice party winning an unprecedented third term. In a jaw-dropping irony, however, the party, which often appeals to anti-immigrant sentiment, is now embroiled in a scandal over selling visas to migrants from Asia and Africa.

A woman wearing a headscarf in the colors of the French flag

The belief that the U.S. and France have radically different approaches to secularism and the separation of church and state is now widespread, deeply entrenched—and wrong. In fact, the source of this dispute emerged relatively recently, and it represented a significant shift in the emphasis of French laïcité: the headscarf law of 2004.

Spain's acting PM, Pedro Sanchez.

Last week, Spain’s right-wing parties failed in their bid to form a government following the country’s inconclusive elections in July. All eyes are now on acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to see how far he is willing to go to secure the support of regional parties he’ll need to win another term that once seemed all but impossible.

Relations between China and Russia are at odds in regions like Africa and the Middle East.

The effusive rhetoric on display in recent high-level meetings between Russian and Chinese officials masks a significant vulnerability in their strategic partnership: Although both sides champion the creation of a multipolar world order, their actual cooperation on the ground lags far behind, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.