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.
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?
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.
The U.S. strategy is also changing in substance, with Mr. Obama's approach to Moscow fundamentally different from that of George W. Bush. Moscow and Washington have dropped the state of a mutual conflict and moved over to the recognition and pursuit of shared interests.
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.