France's Non-subjuguated Autumn of Discontent to Begin Tomorrow

A Predata signal trained to anticipate demonstrations and labor strikes in opposition to labor reform efforts in France has spiked sharply, suggesting tomorrow's scheduled protest, lead by Jean-Luc Mélenchon's La France Insoumise (The Non-subjugated France), is set to be as tumultuous as its organizers hope. Expect protracted, violent confrontations between a dense "black bloc" and security forces, damage to property along the demonstration route, and clashes with police continuing after the sch... Continue Reading

Referendum Spain Catalonia

Showdown in Catalonia

With legal backing from Spain’s constitutional court, Prime Minister Rajoy has moved aggressively to prevent Catalan’s independence referendum scheduled for October 1. The Spanish government has threatened to prosecute Catalan mayors if they organize a referendum vote, authorized the seizure of election materials and tightened control over Catalan government finances. But the Catalan governor and other local officials who support the referendum have given no indication of backing down and mobili... Continue Reading

Merkel German Election

Germany Decides 2017: In Digital Campaign, Schulz Gains, Far Right Falls

According to the polls, Angela Merkel's CDU party is almost sure to triumph over Martin Schulz's SPD in Germany's federal elections on September 24. Yet, the SPD has been steadily gaining in Predata's digital campaign scores. This rise could mean one of two things: either the SPD's support is greater than the polls show, or Schulz and his party simply have a more dynamic and engaging social media campaign than the CDU. (Schulz is very active on Twitter; Merkel doesn't have an account). The latte... Continue Reading

Zapad 2017 NATO Russia

Who's Afraid of Big, Bad Zapad?

Zapad 2017, a massive joint Russia-Belarus military exercise, begins Thursday. The exercise will take place in Belarus and Kaliningrad, near the borders of Poland and the Baltic states. Many NATO members are concerned. Yet, Predata signals show interest in the exercise varies by country.... Continue Reading

Macron France Labor Reform

Planned Demonstrations Against French Labor Reform Unlikely To Leave Mark

Back in June, France's powerful CGT union announced that on September 12 it would lead a strike and protest against the Macron government's labor law reform agenda. But with just two days until the action, Predata signals that anticipate anti-labor reform demonstrations and civil unrest in general have remained at low levels. This suggests that though marches will take place in Paris and other major French cities -- and there is always the possibility of confrontation between agitators and polic... Continue Reading

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Russia Zapad Lithuania

As Zapad Looms, Lithuania Faces Russian Meddling Risk

With Zapad 2017, Russia's massive quadrennial military exercise, set to begin in Belarus September 14, a Predata anticipatory signal for Russian civil interference in Lithuania has spiked to its highest level in over a year. This means that during the exercise there is high risk of Russian non-military aggression against the Baltic nation -- such as fake news campaigns, website defacement, or other cyber operations. With NATO battlegroups deployed throughout the Baltic states to keep an eye on Z... Continue Reading

German Election Russia Russian Meddling Germany

Will Russian Meddling Affect the Outcome of the German Election?

A month before German federal elections scheduled for September 24, Predata noted that German interest in the election, as measured by engagement with election-related social and collaborative media sources, had been relatively muted throughout the summer. Not so in Russia. Heightened interest in the Russian-language versions of the same German election-related sources indicates that the Russian government, media and society have been closely following Europe's next big election for the past sev... Continue Reading

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Brazil Global Macro Germany Venezuela

The Global Macro Scoreboard: Venezuela El Paria

Venezuela took the highest spot on the Scoreboard this week, as fresh U.S. sanctions have brought the country's political and social crisis back to the forefront of global markets. Washington's move makes Venezuelan sovereigns and PDVSA corporate bonds personae non gratae in U.S. debt markets. Fitch already dropped Venezuela's debt rating from CC to CCC in response. The sanctions further isolate President Nicolas Maduro, who has already been all but cut out of Latin American diplomatic circles.... Continue Reading

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Elections Russia Europe

Leçons du Passé: Understanding Russian Interference in the French Election

It would have been difficult to fault France watchers in the Kremlin for overconfidence in January 2017. François Fillon, the leading candidate in the polls at the time, was a long-time contact of Vladimir Putin. Polling second was the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, whose National Front party ran on a platform of economic nationalism, repatriating power from Brussels, rapprochement with Moscow on Ukraine and Syria and rejecting immigration –all wish list items for Moscow. Trailing far behin... Continue Reading

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germany elections

Will Germany Wake Up Before the Federal Election?

In just under month Germany, Europe's most powerful country, will hold federal elections, though it appears it will do so without the same level of fanfare and media scrutiny as its neighbors who held elections earlier this year. Opinion polls have incumbent Angela Merkel's CDU firmly ahead of challenger Martin Schulz's SPD, and the main intrigue seems to be which minor party, the liberal FDP or the Greens, will join in the governing coalition. Commentators on both sides of the Atlantic have de... Continue Reading