Angela Merkel

Expert Voices

Germany's east still catching up 30 years after fall of Berlin Wall

video projection onto Berlin wall with glow reflected in the Spree river
A video installation projected onto the Berlin Wall's East Side Gallery. Photo: Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images

Saturday marks 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down, but even decades after reunification, more than half of former East Germans feel like second-class citizens and are increasingly expressing their frustrations at the ballot box.

Why it matters: The legacy of 1989 is the power of citizens to bring about change, but today faith in democracy is falling. Although Chancellor Angela Merkel is from the former east, voters there are rejecting mainstream political parties and turning in greater numbers to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Expert Voices

After Trump-Zelensky scandal, Ukraine pressed to reset Western ties

Zelensky in front of a wall-mounted UN logo
Zelensky at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine's president, political neophyte Volodymyr Zelensky, appears out of his depth after just 4 months in office, as his relations with President Trump have put him front and center in a political scandal rocking the U.S. and rippling across the globe.

Why it matters: Given the deep challenges facing Ukraine and Zelensky, Ukraine can hardly afford strained relations with the U.S. and European partners. Weakened Western ties would complicate efforts around democratic progress, economic growth and national security — particularly in pushing back against the malign influence of Vladimir Putin's Russia.