Tag: Russia

Putin’s Disappearing Act is a Sign of Leadership Crisis

Since the Ukraine crisis exploded a year ago, Putin’s system of power has rigidified into a uni-centric combination of a police state, kleptocracy and “propagandocracy” (if such a word could be invented), in which no transition of authority can be planned or envisaged. His recent poorly camouflaged and worse explained “disappearance” has not re-confirmed his… Read more »

Murder that Revealed Truth

As days go by, the pain and shock from the news about Boris Nemtsov murder are turning into sad reflections on Russia’s predicament, and my bottom line goes as following: Nemtsov was a voice in the wilderness of Russian propaganda and self-deception. And his murder has cut away multiple layers of lies in Putin’s “war is… Read more »

Paving the Road to Democracy or Unleashing Big Brother? The Internet under Dictatorships

Today almost half of China’s 1.3 billion inhabitants are online, along with 85 million Russians and 17 million Saudis. The proportion of people with Internet access in these countries will soon be comparable to that of the United States, Germany and Japan. But what are the political consequences of allowing people living in dictatorships Internet… Read more »

Can Putin trust China?

The Ukraine crisis has made Russia more dependent on China. Putin is popular in Beijing, and Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are the best of friends. But can China save Russia from its crisis? 70 years ago, from 4-11 February 1945, Josef Stalin received US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, and British prime minister Winston… Read more »

Partnership of Contrarians

Russia connects with Turkey seeking opportunities in the Middle East. Violent conflicts in the Middle East gained new momentum in 2014, and the forceful multilateral efforts to contain them yielded far from satisfactory results. Both Russia and Turkey have remained aloof from these efforts, and often oppose US-led endeavors but they have major stakes in… Read more »

Diplomacy Delivers Another Pause for Struggling Ukraine and Sinking Russia

The week of February 2 registered an explosion in political intrigue around the war in eastern Ukraine, and some sort of pause in hostilities is likely to ensue. Undoubtedly, this is a positive development, but it would be an overstatement to describe the late-night talks in the Kremlin between President Vladimir Putin and the two… Read more »

Russia Makes Haste in Severing Ties with Europe

Russia has achieved much success last week in its rush toward self-isolation, and perhaps the most demonstrative step was made in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Sergei Naryshkin, the Chairman of the State Duma, came to Strasbourg as the head of the Russian delegation expecting to reach a compromise on the… Read more »

Futile Hopes for the Dubious Summit in Astana

Despite the apparent deadlock in armed clashes in eastern Ukraine, an idea to bringing together the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, together with their peers from Belarus and Kazakhstan as well as the leaders of France and Germany, gained momentum at the end of last week. Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev made an unscheduled visit to… Read more »