Moscow should stop thinking of the other members of the Eurasian Economic Union as junior partners. Russian and Central Asian weakness vis-à-vis China should inspire consolidation and cooperation rather than competition.
The timing of the very public arrest of Kirov region governor Nikita Belykh for corruption is opportune: the Duma election campaign is about to start, and the fight against corruption will be useful. Belykh—a liberal in government—is a convenient target: he held a prominent position and yet he was extraneous to the overall political system
Facing sanctions from the West after the annexation of Crimea, Russia has reoriented its economy toward China. The results of the shift are mixed, but if trends continue, Moscow is likely to drift further into Beijing’s embrace. An asymmetrical interdependence is emerging, with global implications.
Refusing to participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council is the most hapless and helpless choice possible, and the actions of the four churches are a fairly explicit nod to Orthodox fundamentalists who dismiss the council as iconoclastic and ungodly and say that the main objective of the Greeks is to “codify the heresy.”
The growing Sino-Russian partnership is spurred not only by growing anti-Americanism, but more importantly by Russia’s quest for external economic support to keep the regime afloat in the wake of Western sanctions.
The Kremlin is enjoying the discomfort that Brexit is causing to the European Union. But that does not mean that it wants Europe broken up. It just wants a return to old-fashioned bilateral diplomacy.
The Moscow-Beijing partnership is stalling. But Xi is winning over the Russian president’s inner circle with favorable loans and sweetheart energy deals.
The vote to Leave was mainly a protest vote. It was the vote of people who hated “Brussels” and the European Union, but hated London and the international financial system just as much. The black irony of this is that it is precisely the social category of working-class protest voters who are likely to suffer when Britain loses the privileged access it currently has to the EU’s single market.
Boris Yeltsin’s reelection in 1996, hailed as a triumph of democracy, now looks like a Pyrrhic victory. The means by which the process was manipulated set a precedent for the Putin era.
Relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated to levels not seen in a generation. Both Russia and the West accuse each other of making provocative moves, disrupting the balance, and violating each other’s interests.
A referendum on South Ossetia’s incorporation into the Russian Federation has been postponed until after the presidential election in the region due in early 2017. This means that there is still a large question mark over the optimum relationship between Russia and South Ossetia.
Trade relations between the EU and Russia will likely remain stable for many years, even as the overall volume of bilateral trade gradually contracts. The EU will grow less dependent on Russia for energy security, while Russia will become less reliant on European finance, industry, and infrastructure.
The construction of a new pipeline that will send Caspian natural gas to southern Europe is making Gazprom executives uneasy. Once the pipeline is completed, Gazprom will lose its monopoly in southern Europe and may have to resort to price dumping to stay competitive.
The sympathy expressed by President Putin and the Russian media for the victims of the Orlando attack gives Russia the opportunity to discard its discredited homophobic policies and to attempt a similar offer of rapprochement to the one Putin extended after the September 11 attacks.
The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 fundamentally changed Russia’s political climate: support for Vladimir Putin’s regime rose and remains high, despite a certain cooldown in recent months. Discontent is building but remains far from boiling point, and we are unlikely to see large-scale protest voting or mass rallies in the parliamentary elections this fall.
War and terrorism have become increasingly routine facts of life in Russia. Since 2014, this reality has become an essential tool for stimulating popular support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia has finally hit on a security agenda of interest to its Asian partners. Buoyed by its success in Syria, Moscow is presenting itself as a standard-bearer in the war on Islamic terrorism and a source of cutting-edge practices for ASEAN countries that are facing this problem. The Syrian campaign is also helping to promote Russian military technology on Asian markets.
Evidently, most of Uzbekistan’s economic indicators are subject to statistical manipulations, be it a 90 percent voter turnout for presidential elections or refrigerator manufacturing, where a 50-fold increase was reported. In this context, numbers on labor migration out of the country shed more light on the efficiency of Karimov’s economic model than all of his statistical data.
Lukashenko has used a recent audience with the Pope as a way to enhance Belarus’s ties with the West. But the West no longer expects Minsk to be a close ally and to embrace European standards. Instead, it’s expected to be a source of stability. This mismatch in expectations will soon come to a head and the rapprochement will grind to a halt.
A recent memorandum of cooperation signed by Moscow and Beijing has Russians worried about Chinese “colonization” of the Far East. However, a careful analysis of the situation suggests there is little reason for Russians to fear Chinese industrial expansionism.
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