Don’t Exaggerate Russian Meddling in the Catalan Independence Crisis
Spanish media exaggerate Russia’s role in the Catalan independence crisis.
Russian state media, like RT and Sputnik, and Russia-friendly trolls, like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, have predictably sought to exploit the crisis in a major European Union and NATO country, for three reasons:
To encouraging Catalan separatism.
To provoking an overreaction from the Spanish right.
To legitimizing the self-determination referendum it organized in the Crimea in 2014.
But there is little evidence Russian propaganda has changed anyone’s mind. Read more
Catalonia’s Far Left Could Hold the Key to Independence
Catalonia’s far left could hold the key to independence after the next regional election.
Snap elections are likely in the next few months, whether called by the regional government to preempt the suspension of home rule or by the Spanish government once home rule is suspended
Polls suggest the ruling center-right European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) will trade places with its junior partner, the Republican Left.
But the balance between pro- and anti-independence parties could be unchanged — unless Catalonia in Common (Barcelona mayor Ada Colau’s party) and Podem (the Catalan branch of Podemos) change sides. Read more
Catalan Leader Steps Back from Brink But Satisfies Neither Allies Nor Madrid
Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has stepped back from declaring independence, telling lawmakers in Barcelona that although the region has won the right to break away from Spain he is prepared to hold talks:
I propose suspending the effects of the declaration of independence to undertake talks in the coming weeks without which it is not possible to reach an agreed solution.
The climbdown avoids a worse constitutional crisis but is unlikely to satisfy the central government in Madrid. Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister, has refused to recognize last week’s referendum and conditioned dialogue on Puigdemont renouncing secession altogether. Read more
World Won’t Let Catalonia or Kurdistan Come Quietly Onto the Map
Catalonia and Kurdistan couldn’t seem farther away. One is nestled in the peace and prosperity of Western Europe, the other swims in the chaos of a dissolving Middle East.
Yet the two independence referendums of these would-be nation states are revealing. Both raise questions about the meaning of their regional orders and have provoked pushback from the status-quo world. Read more