The new Ukrainian President faces a range of serious political, economic and social challenges – challenges on which the country’s future depends. But right now, he has neither the readiness, nor the desire and political will to tackle them.
The recent dramatic events in Iraq were both surprising and predictable. Their roots run into the recent past – namely, the invasion by U.S. troops and their allies of this country and the ensuing occupation
The crisis in Russian-American relations is not only a result of conflicting interests in Ukraine, but also of a misunderstanding of the logic and intentions of the other side.
President Barack Obama is under attack – from so-called liberal hawks, more or less to the left of center, as well as from active interventionists on the right – for being a weak president, leading a war-weary (even world-weary) America in retreat.
While nobody wants to go back to the Cold War, those of us who are old enough to remember it know that while tensions between Moscow and Washington ran high, they never exploded into outright conflict.
Director of the Center for Current Politics and Valdai Club expert Sergei Mikheyev is convinced there will be no retaliation to recent statements made by Dmitry Rogozin and leaders of Transnistria, and that the breakaway region won’t be joining Russia.
Though many of the presidential candidates in the upcoming elections in Ukraine are taking care to position themselves firmly as anti-Russian, the truth of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainian politicians are in one way or another tied to Russia – and the fragile state would do well to keep this in mind when planning for the future.
The great writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn predicted the current situation in Ukraine almost half a century ago. A number of his writings from the Soviet period, including The Gulag Archipelago, contain ruminations on the issue of nationalism and the seeds for potential future ethnic unrest on Ukrainian territory.
For most of the post-Soviet years, Russia has been torn by a question that haunts its people and their rulers: Do Russians want their country to be an imperialist power feared by other nations or a land whose primary concern is its citizens’ well-being?
With escalating violence in southern and eastern Ukraine and no solution in sight, the Ukraine crisis has become the world’s most turbulent geopolitical conflict since that triggered by the terrorist attacks against the United States in 2001.
When the historian Ernest Renan dreamed of a European Confederation that would supersede the nation-state, he could not yet envisage the challenge posed by micro-states and para-states.
Russia, Kennan argued, would seek to bring about the collapse of capitalism not by an armed attack, but by a mixture of bullying and subversion.
Many observers were left wrong-footed by the comments made by the Russian president on May 7, in which he asked the southeast of Ukraine not to hold a referendum, expressed his support for presidential elections in the country on May 25, and announced the withdrawal of Russian troops from the border. What lies behind Putin’s unexpected move?
All the signs are that a military invasion of Ukraine’s restive eastern provinces by Russian forces is not on the cards. The likeliest scenario is that Moscow will allow Kiev to gradually claw back control of the east, though a prolonged crisis in relations with the West remains unavoidable.
Ukraine is a state in political turmoil. But how much of this is the fault of separatists in the east and how much comes from 'business-as-usual' corruption from the Kyiv government?
RD Exclusive: Robert Legvold, Professor Emeritus of Columbia University, analyzes the impact of a new Cold War between Russia and the West.
In fact, some even say the Geneva meeting did more harm than good by raising false hopes that Russia and the West can overcome fundamental differences on Ukraine and by creating the illusion that all sides could reach consensus on a way out of the crisis.
The immense gulf in mutual distrust and suspicion that has characterized relations between Russia and the U.S. in recent years has been laid bare by the degree of misunderstanding “experts” from each side have shown in their attitudes toward the other during the Ukrainian crisis. Why do we appear to know each other less well than during the Cold War?
The crisis in Ukraine has demonstrated the weakness of post-Soviet states, which should not be forced into making “either-or” choices between one side or another. The only way for these states to forge a productive future is to engage with both the West and Russia on a path of compromise and dialogue.
Sergey Karaganov breaks into a broad smile when asked why his two-decades-old ideas about Moscow “protecting” Russian speakers abroad are suddenly the centre of his country’s foreign policy.
Unfortunately, today Ukraine cannot be regarded as a full-fledged state. To ignore this reality and to focus exclusively on the "Crimean problem" would be disingenuous and hypocritical.
There are lots of intriguing elements analogous to the current conflict between the West and Russia over Crimea.
The sooner the tension surrounding Ukraine eases, and the global players return to their prior forms of cooperation, the better it will be for the Middle East.
Everything will now depend on future developments and on Russia’s strategy. In my opinion, the Kremlin should plan its strategy very thoroughly and with due regard for the strategic nature of the ongoing confrontation.
Under the Romanovs, Russia played the same role in Eastern Europe as ancient Rome did in the Mediterranean and the United States in the Americas, argues historian Pavel Kuzenkov. It was the melting pot of Europe, bringing together Christians, Muslims and indigenous peoples.
“It is Putin the conservative and not Putin the realist who decided to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
Oxford historian, Mark Almond, recalls the lessons from history once taught by Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in his study of Pitt the Younger’s mishandling of what he called the “Ochakov fiasco” in 1791.
Russia had to move its troops into Crimea. If we confine ourselves to addressing the initial tasks and do not rush ‘to take Vienna’, to borrow Bismarck’s words, the West is unlikely to impose tough sanctions against Russia.
Once again, the modern Afghan urban tradition is fighting for its life against a rural Islamist insurgency. Once again, the state is overwhelmingly dependent on aid from a foreign great power for its continued survival.
Twenty-five years have passed since the Russians finally pulled out of Afghanistan: long enough to look back with some objectivity, and to draw parallels with the war which the Americans have been fighting there since 2001.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.