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  • OPINION

    The Cambridge Analytica red herring

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 21/03/2018

    » Facebook is being hammered for allowing the data firm Cambridge Analytica to acquire 50 million user profiles in the US, which it may or may not have used to help the Trump campaign. But the outrage misses the target: There's nothing Cambridge Analytica could have done that Facebook itself doesn't offer political clients.

  • OPINION

    Crimean conflict simmers on with Jamala's victory

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 18/05/2016

    » Ukraine may not be able to win its wars against Russian-backed rebels and against domestic corruption, but it has just beaten Russia in spectacular fashion at the Eurovision Song Contest. The political message has been amplified by the pundits, but the Russians and Ukrainian voters themselves seemed unwilling to be dragged into the propaganda war.

  • OPINION

    Merkel, Juncker fight the dreamers

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 08/07/2016

    » It is increasingly clear that the European Union (EU) is about to waste the crisis brought on by the UK's withdrawal vote. The leaders of the nation states have no stomach for any meaningful reform of EU institutions, the bureaucrats in Brussels are forced to take a back seat, and federalist dreamers are unceremoniously shunted aside.

  • OPINION

    Violence takes root in our words

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 14/12/2015

    » The Oxford Dictionaries' selection for the 2015 Word of the Year -- the "Face with Tears of Joy" emoji -- suggests that UK linguists live in a rather carefree world. In other countries, the selections were not as upbeat.

  • OPINION

    A Brexit lesson from the cradle of democracy

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 16/01/2019

    » The Macedonian parliament's vote to rename the country and thus remove the biggest obstacle to its integration into Western institutions is evidence that intractable political issues are best resolved through the traditional backroom dealings of representative democracy rather than through the direct expression of popular will.

  • OPINION

    Cambridge Analytica's business simply isn't data

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 23/03/2018

    » As the Cambridge Analytica scandal unfolds, the Western world is meeting a little-known part of its political industry, the one that has operated in developing nations since at least the 1990s. CA's methods as revealed by Britain's Channel 4 News, whose reporter posed as a potential Sri Lankan client, may be a bit extreme -- but for the most part, the consultancy has been one of many firms that have brought Western-style electioneering to lawless environments in which it has been blatantly abused.

  • OPINION

    No, separatism isn't the continent's next major crisis

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 03/11/2017

    » Those who are always on the lookout for the next European crisis -- Brexiters not least among them -- have latched on to Catalonia's symbolic "secession" as another sign that Europe isn't working well. The Catalan events, however, merely confirm that today, Western European countries are secession-proof -- too fat to fail. Belgium, the country where ousted Catalan First Minister Carles Puigdemont is hiding out from prosecution (or, to Catalan secessionists, leading a government in exile) is another example.

  • OPINION

    Merkel's lacklustre win is good for the nation

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 26/09/2017

    » The sour faces of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's allies after the first exit poll results for the federal election were announced on Sunday night will prompt much talk of a Pyrrhic victory for Ms Merkel. But the outcome of Sunday's election could be good both for her and for German democracy: It has clarified the options for the next governing coalition, and it has made sure there will be vocal opposition to the government from both the left and the right.

  • OPINION

    Some democracies resist populism

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 03/04/2017

    » Recent and upcoming political upheavals in a number of countries provide some evidence that the institutional design of democracies can be critically important. A clear advantage is emerging for countries that don't directly elect a president: They are more likely to resist the wave of populism sweeping the West.

  • OPINION

    Defining 'greatness' at core of 2016 presidential race

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 23/03/2016

    » In two months on the road covering the 2016 presidential primaries, I've seen the US going through something of an identity crisis, after decades of dominance. The candidates are talking about what the voters are thinking about: What does it mean for the US to be great? 

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