The success of the Urumqi meeting between the representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban, also attended by Chinese and Pakistanis, is doubtful. The role of Pakistan in the organization of the meeting is the most controversial issue.
Non-government organizations have become “undesirable” in Russia, along with Russian experts and specialists. In fact, they are not undesirable for Russia, which actually needs them very badly, but undesirable for the current regime.
Presidency of the BRICS will allow Moscow to position itself as a participant of an association that offers an alternative to the global world order, and the grouping’s summit in Ufa will give the Russian government an opportunity to present the country as a leader of the non-Western world.
The Ukraine crisis was not just about Ukraine, or even Europe. It was about the global order, which promises a long competition with a yet-unforeseen result.
As it attempts to step back from the brink of a new Cold War, the West will have to make sure that Putin does not interpret backtracking as a reward for bad behavior
Ukrainian society—particularly sectors that pushed for greater accountability and transparency during the EuroMaidan Revolution—and Western governments, particularly the United States, are pushing Poroshenko to rein in the oligarchs.
Japan’s national interests need to be front and center, rather than subordinated to the not always clear vision of a particular administration in Washington. These interests demand that Tokyo keeps a viable relationship with Moscow.
The Victory Day parade in Moscow has sent a number of important messages, which outsiders would do well to reflect upon.
The conflict in Ukraine is anything but frozen. The dynamics of this conflict are driven as much by Ukrainian domestic affairs and local commanders’ decisions in the conflict zone as they are by any Cold War-style stand-off between East and West.
The latest friction between Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov and Moscow’s siloviki was not an attack intended to unseat Kadyrov; it was not even a conflict per se. Instead, it was an attempt to reformat Moscow’s approach to Chechnya. The contract with Kadyrov isn’t being annulled—it’s just being rewritten before its next extension.
The intensity of Moscow’s current contact with Tehran is unprecedented in Russia’s post-Soviet history. Yet despite the potential for improvement, there are serious obstacles that may hamper or even halt cooperation.
Old totalitarian practices can reemerge with new symbols, from new directions. And a struggle against the symbols of past unfreedom isn’t enough to protect against a lack of liberty in its latest incarnation.
Moscow no longer needs liberals to imitate democracy or political process.
Russia is tilting toward China in the face of political and economic pressure from the United States and Europe. This does not presage a new Sino-Russian bloc, but the epoch of post-communist Russia’s integration with the West is over.
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