Weaponising History: Putin’s Strategy for Domestic and Foreign Policy Success

Ariel Koh

On 28 December 2021, Memorial International, Russia’s oldest human rights group, whose aim was to preserve memories of Soviet-era totalitarianism to educate the populace, promote democracy and ‘restor[e] historical truth’, was ordered shut by the Russian Supreme Court. In a year that witnessed the arrest of Putin’s most prominent opponent, Alexei Navalny  – who was also tried for the defamation of a war veteran – crackdowns on a specific historical narrative that complements Putin’s domestic and foreign objectives point towards his increased ambition to restore Russia’s former greatness.

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T-Levels: a much-needed step forward in the British education system

It has been a long-standing view that the UK’s provision of technical courses falls far short of European alternatives. Rishi Sunak’s Autumn Budget Review revealed the government’s revitalised intention to invest in upskilling, an increase of 42% (£2.8bn). Included in this figure are T-Levels – a new qualification set to provide an alternative route to the current dichotomy of A-Levels and apprenticeships.

T-Levels are 2-year courses entailing an 80:20 mixture of classroom and industrial placement, respectively. They were first introduced in the Careers Strategy in 2018, and were launched in September 2020. The planned trajectory of courses available is auspicious: digital production, health, construction, and education, shifting to industries such as finance, media, and law by mid-2023.

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People or Pawns? The case of refugees at the crux of Greece-Turkey relations

The narrative regarding refugees and migrants has often been couched in negative terms, which has led in turn to the isolation of such individuals. This is partly a cause of the criminalisation of migrants perpetuated in the media, leading to xenophobia and racism, or top-down policies that do not take into account lived realities. This is clearly evident in the case of the EU-Turkey deal of 2016 – an agreement to discourage refugees from seeking asylum in Europe. It allowed Greece to send incoming ‘irregular migrants’ to Turkey instead – the latter would increase measures to stop illegal migration and would in exchange receive €6 billion in aid from the EU for its migrant communities; the agreement also included the possibility of resettling of one Syrian refugee in the EU for every one that Turkey let in. It is clear that this agreement is a political strategy benefiting EU countries at the expense of refugees’ rights, and despite being heavily criticised as such, it was still pushed forward. 

Turkey had essentially taken on the heavy burden of becoming Europe’s new buffer zone. The toll of this was not fully realised until February 2020 when Turkish authorities announced the reopening of the border shared with Greece amid accusations that the EU had not provided Turkey with the promised funding to support 3.6 million refugees within its borders. Following this, hundreds of refugee communities in the country rushed towards the border with the hopes of gaining entry into Europe, and according to interviews conducted on the ground by Amnesty International representatives, there were free buses ready to transport them to the border region. This political move to pressure the EU into more cooperation once again came at the expense of these migrants flooding the border, where they were pushed back violently by the Greek border security. 

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Letter from the editors

Dear Readers,

We are very excited to introduce ourselves as the new Head Editors for King’s Think Tank. The readership for the KTT blog has grown over the past year and we intend to push it further for the academic year. A little about ourselves:

Paakhi Bhatnagar

I am a final year International Relations student currently researching the role of Indian media in the conflict in Kashmir. I love to read and write and some of my favorite writers include Plath, Fitzgerald, and Chomsky. I am very excited to take on the role of Head Editor alongside my colleague, Julia. 

Julia Bennett

I’m a third year History student at Kings. My main interests include Indigenous history, the role that dictatorship and democracy played in twentieth century Latin American politics and the relationship between migration and identity. I love reading all your articles and can’t wait to read many more of them!

We are currently working hard to publish original and creative content on all things policy for you to read. Our platform has grown to include KTT’s very own podcast: The Policy Plug, we do recommend you check it out. 

If you would like to get involved with the KTT blog or have any questions at all, please send us an email at editor@kingsthinktank.org

Best wishes,

Julia and Paakhi. 

Letter from the Editor: The Spectrum 2018

I am excited to announce that we have completely redesigned our journal, fully updated our website, and tripled the number of submissions to The Spectrum. In this issue, readers will find student-written policy proposals and commentaries on an wide array of topics, ranging from cyber vulnerability to education inequality to non-communicable diseases.  Continue reading “Letter from the Editor: The Spectrum 2018”

Call for Submissions: The Spectrum 2016

We are in an era of crises. Environmental degradation, domestic political and social crisis, the emergence of transnational problems and the failure of institutions of global governance, demonstrate the need for humanity to identify transformative ideas in reorganising to meet the critical challenges to the day. This edition of The Spectrum seeks critical responses, through comparative analyses, to these issues and the ideas, strategies, and institutions that we use to address them at present. Continue reading “Call for Submissions: The Spectrum 2016”

Call for Submissions: The Spectrum 2015

King’s Think Tank is looking for policy recommendation submissions for their annual journal, The Spectrum! This will be our fifth edition and every year the work gets stronger, our network of contacts gets wider and your policy has a better chance to be heard! Please email if you are interested in being sent an electronic copy of our previous work. Continue reading “Call for Submissions: The Spectrum 2015”