Following a chaotic and tough 2020, in which the globe faced the COVID-19 epidemic, terrorist assaults, and armed conflicts, many believed that 2021 would bring economic stability and a normalization of the socio-political environment. However, the previous year did not live up to these expectations. Many events have occurred that have caused people all across the world to dispute, worry, and hope for the best.

The storming of the US Capitol building

US Capitol Riot
[US Capitol Riot]

The year 2021 began with rioting in Washington, DC. Following Democrat Joe Biden's presidential election victory, his opponent, former US President Donald Trump, asked his followers not to acknowledge the results of the poll. On January 6, a mass of protestors breached the US Capitol's security personnel and occupied a portion of the building for several hours. The attack disrupted the joint session of the American Congress, which was supposed to accept the election results. Senators and Capitol Hill employees were evacuated.

Five individuals were murdered and scores were injured during skirmishes between demonstrators and police. Over 50 protestors were detained by law enforcement authorities. More than a hundred criminal prosecutions were filed in the aftermath of the riots. Scott Fairlemb, who attacked a police officer during the incident, has received the longest jail term to date. He received a 41-month jail term.

The US House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on January 14, accusing him of inciting violence in Washington, but the attempt failed to get enough votes, and the former president was acquitted.

The events in the United States capital in January demonstrated that major schisms still exist in American society. Trump followers have sworn to fight for their political ideals through violence and violent ways. They refused to acknowledge Biden as the genuine leader of the country. And this isn't a tiny group of residents; millions of people across the country are affected.

Joe Biden becomes the 46th President of the United States

46th us president Joe Biden
[US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden sing the national anthem at the White House in Washington DC, USA, January 21, 2021]

On January 7, the United States Congress formally confirmed Democrat Joe Biden as President of the United States. During the inaugural ceremony on January 20, he committed to be president of all Americans, even those who did not vote for him. He did, however, not only fail to acquire new followers, but also lose existing ones.

Biden's first year in office was one of the most disastrous beginnings in 40 years. His popularity has plummeted to all-time lows, with only 35% of the people supporting him and more than 50% speaking critically of him. Citizens believe the state leader is too elderly for the job, and the media frequently highlights his tiredness and concerns during conferences.

During his year in office, Biden was unable to resolve the majority of the country's problems. On the contrary, they have only grown. He was guilty of rapid troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, which let extremists to seize authority in the nation. The United States continues to be the leader in the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus, racial tensions persist in society, and shootings in schools and on the streets occur on a regular basis. In light of the current circumstances, American experts are concerned about the disruption of the presidential elections in 2024 and do not rule out the potential of invalidating the results of the 2021 elections.

Crash of the container ship Ever Given in the Suez Canal

Ever Given 2021 Suez Canal obstruction
[Container ship Ever Given that ran aground in the Suez Canal, Egypt, March 27, 2021]

The container ship Ever Given ran aground on March 23 and closed the Suez Canal. Traffic along the canal was halted for six days. Only on March 29 was it feasible to remove the vessel from the shallows and tow it to Bolshoye Gorkoye Lake, where navigation resumed that evening. The event resulted in massive losses for Egypt's and other nations' economies: according to some sources, corporations throughout the world lost at least $ 400 million for every hour of downtime in the Suez Canal. The blockade of tankers carrying oil from Arab countries caused the price of the commodity to jump by more than 5%.

Egyptian authorities detained Ever Given and wanted $ 900 million in reparations from the company's owner. The sum includes the costs of grounding the container ship, repairing it, and compensating the canal administration for economic losses caused as a result of the blockade. Egyptian investigators have confirmed the captain's culpability and claimed infractions by the cargo ship's owner. However, the Egyptian court later overruled the verdict that Ever Given was not allowed to leave the Suez Canal, and on July 7, the ship proceeded into the Mediterranean Sea.

Prince Philip, husband of British Queen Elizabeth II, died

Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, died on April 9 at the age of 99, only two months before his centennial. The United Kingdom proclaimed eight days of national mourning upon the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip was laid to rest at Windsor Castle for the time being. An Orthodox prayer was sung during his burial since, before to his conversion to Anglicanism, the Duke of Edinburgh was a Prince of Denmark and Greece and a member of the Greek Orthodox Church.

After Elizabeth II's death, her husband's bones will be reburied in a shared cemetery beside her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, as well as her younger sister Margaret. Politicians and popular personalities from throughout the world sent their condolences to the royal family. It was expected that Philip's death would assist to ease tensions between Princes Harry and William, but it was later revealed that the brothers still do not speak.

Raul Castro, the revolutionary Fidel Castro's younger brother, resigned as first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba's Central Committee in April. With his departure, the country ended the long-term leadership of the Castro brothers, who rose to power after the Cuban revolution in 1959. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel was appointed as the party's first secretary. At the same time, the 89-year-old Castro intended to continue influencing Cuba's political elite.

Massive public protests occurred in Cuba three months following Castro's departure. They unfolded against the backdrop of the coronavirus epidemic, but it quickly became evident that the people was disgruntled with the country's numerous difficulties. Thousands marched against the communists, who were responsible for the economic and health-care crises. Against the backdrop of the turmoil, the Cuban government proclaimed an emergency regime, bringing troops and other security units into Havana. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel accused the United States of orchestrating the protests. At the same time, the US placed fresh penalties on Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces Minister, Alvaro López Miera, as well as a section of the country's Interior Ministry, for human rights breaches during the demonstrations.

Great Britain withdrew completely from the European Union

The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) successfully fulfilled the requirements for the Kingdom's withdrawal from the community in 2021. (Brexit). The approval of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between London and Brussels marks this time. The agreement went into effect on May 1 at midnight.

Under the terms of the deal, Britain exited the European Union's single market and customs union, but preserved the ability to trade with the EU without charges or quotas. At the same time, the installation of customs inspections for a variety of items hindered the commerce process. The parties agreed to continue their collaboration in the fields of research, security, and emerging technologies within the terms of the agreement. The manifesto also addressed the issues of fisheries, energy, and climate change.

According to Eurostat, trade between the UK and the EU has decreased dramatically since Brexit. The United Kingdom had a food and water scarcity as a result of supply problems caused by a shortage of drivers and carriers. More than 60% of residents in the nation reported a change in buying habits as a result of a scarcity of required items in stores and an inability to locate a replacement for them. London is now attempting to deal with the fallout from leaving the EU. The issue of how long it will take remains unanswered.

Aggravation of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Gaza Strip

The fighting in the Gaza Strip between Israeli and Palestinian forces erupted with increased ferocity in May. On May 10, Palestinian factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched a huge shelling campaign against Israeli territory. They launched almost 4,000 missiles in all. In response, the Israeli army conducted airstrikes against Gaza sites. The 11-day mutual shelling persisted. At least 260 people died in the Gaza Strip as a result of the escalation, while 11 people perished in Israel. The parties accepted Egypt's suggestions for a bilateral ceasefire on May 20, and it went into effect on May 21.

Human Rights Watch, an American human rights group, charged Israel and Hamas of war crimes committed during the May battle in July. The United Kingdom has chosen to designate Hamas as a terrorist organization. The May escalation in the Gaza Strip demonstrated that Israel and Palestine's territorial conflicts are far from being settled. Although the EU said that Israel was illegally holding territory on the West Bank of the Jordan River, the international community generally adopted a neutral stance and called on the parties to cease the conflict, which did not bring a solution to the matter any closer.

The events in Afghanistan were one of the year's major themes. Following US President Joe Biden's announcement that the American military personnel would be completely withdrawn from the nation, militants of the hardline Taliban movement began operating on Afghan soil. After capturing city after city, the Taliban stormed Kabul on August 15 and announced complete rule of the republic.

Taliban leaders have stated that they plan to manage the nation in a more moderate and inclusive manner than they did 20 years ago. They did not, however, follow their promises: they curtailed women's rights, established a non-inclusive administration, and launched murders of inhabitants. Afghanistan's situation remains unstable following the Taliban's arrest. Explosions murder citizens on a daily basis in Kabul and other cities. Despite militants' claims that they are fighting narcotics, the country's opium output has increased. At the same time, Washington has blocked Afghani gold and foreign exchange reserves, and the international community is refusing to work with the new administration.

Following the Taliban's triumph in Afghanistan, the world has been apprehensive of the activation of other terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. During the country's takeover, the Taliban released numerous terrorists from prison, and they are the ones who claim responsibility for the assaults in Kabul and the provinces. In this context, the West is concerned about the spread of terrorism to other countries, and the new Afghan government lacks the capacity to restore order even within the nation.

Construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline completed

In 2021, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was completed. In June, it was announced that the first line was ready, and on September 10, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced that the construction was fully completed. By mid-October, it was already ready for launch, but the start date of its work will be determined by the European regulator. The certification process for Nord Stream 2 could take several months.

The US continues to try to block the pipeline's launch by imposing sanctions on companies associated with its construction. The Ukrainian side also obstructs the project, trying to preserve the transit of gas through its territory. At the same time, a serious gas crisis began in Europe with the onset of cold weather. Gas prices have skyrocketed and have led to a rise in prices for other energy resources. In this situation, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder called for the launch of Nord Stream 2 as soon as possible so that the Germans do not face a sharp rise in the cost of heating in winter. However, the Bundestag expects the gas pipeline to be launched no earlier than January 2022.

US, UK and Australia form military alliance AUKUS

On September 15, it was announced that the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia had formed a new military alliance known as AUKUS. The alliance's stated purpose was to preserve the countries' common interests in the Indo-Pacific region against the backdrop of China's strengthening and the unity of efforts in the military sector growth. On November 22, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States inked the first agreement under the information treaty for the sharing of naval nuclear power reactors.

The most significant aspect of the agreement was the transfer to Canberra of technologies for the construction of nuclear-powered submarines. Following the formation of AUKUS, Australia breached a 66 billion dollar submarine construction contract with the French Naval Group. This was the first step in the struggle between the French and Australian sides.

Investigative Journalists Released Pandora's Offshore Dossier

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) launched a large-scale investigation into the role of politicians, business owners, and public personalities in offshore schemes on October 3. It was dubbed "Pandora's dossier." Over 100 billionaires, 35 international leaders, and 400 government officials have had their offshore dealings exposed by investigators. The report is based on information collected through offshore data dumps from more than 11.9 million files totalling 2.94 gigabytes.

Journalists have described the probe as the greatest leak of sensitive papers in history. The Presidents of Azerbaijan, Chile, the Czech Republic, and Pakistan became interested in the case. Among the revelations were the offshore plans of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his cronies. The ICIJ identified the United States as the primary tax haven, citing "billions of dollars" held by financial criminals in Nevada and South Dakota.

The publishing of the Pandora Dossier drew international attention, but it did not result in significant reforms. Chilean MPs, for example, backed impeaching President Sebastian Piera owing to accusations of billions of dollars in corruption schemes, but the Senate rejected this proposal.

Angela Merkel retired from politics

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided to retire from politics after refusing to compete in the Bundestag elections in September. On October 26, she received official notification that her powers as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany had expired. The rule of the Iron Frau, which lasted 16 years, came to an end on this date in Germany.

The Christian Democratic and Christian Social Unions (CDU / CSU), which Merkel has represented for many years, saw their ratings plummet against the backdrop of the refugee crisis, the terrible situation with the coronavirus, and devastating floods. The Social Democrats won the elections, and Olaf Scholz was appointed as the republic's next chancellor. Scholz is a proponent of the Euro-Atlantic alliance, and political analysts foresee a pragmatic approach in ties with Russia.

Migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border

The migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border erupted after Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko failed to halt the influx of illegal immigrants wanting to enter EU members. Thousands of refugees from Iraq, Syria, and other Middle Eastern nations have gathered there since the beginning of November. They are attempting to enter Poland illegally and have clashed with border guards and security authorities.

The European Union described the migratory scenario as a hybrid attack on Western countries, blaming official Minsk for what was happening. According to European politicians, Lukashenka is using real people as artillery and agitating Europe in order to achieve his political ambitions. Due to the migration crisis, the EU enacted the fifth package of measures against Belarus on December 2. More than 25 persons and legal businesses were included on the blacklist, including Belavia, Grodno Azot, and Belarusneft.

At the same time, Poland accused Russia of being involved in the crisis and demanded that Moscow be barred from participating in international organizations. Warsaw provided no evidence of Russian meddling, and the Kremlin refuted all charges.

Russia invited the US and NATO to sign a security guarantee treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American colleague Joe Biden met via video connection on December 7. The US President accused Moscow of amassing military forces on Ukraine's borders and vowed harsh punishment if the crisis escalated. In reaction, Putin accused NATO of attempting to capture Ukrainian land in a hazardous manner.

In light of the situation in Ukraine and rising international tensions, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued draft treaties on security assurances with NATO and the United States on December 17. They were turned over to the US side by US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried during a visit to Moscow.

The Russian side, in particular, urged the West not to regard Moscow as an opponent, to refrain from threatening military escalation, and to forsake any NATO expansion to the east, particularly to Ukraine. The Alliance has been urged to refrain from conducting military drills beyond the brigade level in areas bordering Russia and its allies, as well as from deploying nuclear weapons overseas.

The Russian ideas were deemed unsatisfactory by Washington and Brussels, but conversations were agreed upon. According to Putin, they would begin in Geneva in January 2022. The Russian leader emphasized that the outcome of the discussions would determine how the issue develops in the international arena.

New waves of the coronavirus pandemic

Throughout 2021, a worldwide epidemic of the new coronavirus sickness claimed lives all over the planet. COVID-19 has infected more than five million individuals. The delta form of the illness, commonly known as Indian, has been spreading over the world since April. He began to conquer the entire planet in June. Scientists emphasized that this type of the virus is more harmful since it spreads faster and produces more symptoms. At the same time, they urged state officials to continue mass vaccinations of the populace.

In response to the deterioration of the nations' epidemiological status, restrictive measures began to be strengthened. The development of a sanitary pass system, which was implemented in several European Union nations, was a significant breakthrough. In practically all public settings, a paper certifying the occurrence of vaccination or the transmitted coronavirus became necessary. Vaccination opponents erupted in enormous protests as a result of this. However, popular dissatisfaction had little effect on the authorities' policy.

At the end of the year, a number of countries declared another state of emergency, and Austria implemented mandatory vaccines for all people. Simultaneously, the virus continues to mutate: on November 11, a new strain known as omicron was discovered in South Africa. It has already spread to Africa, Europe, and Asia, and those who have been infected have been inoculated.
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