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.
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.
Russian diplomats, who had learned from a long history of conflict with European powers and Britain, personally saw the distinctions between Russia and the West in terms of cultural and religious self-identity, as well as foreign policy interests.
The time must come for the Middle East to witness the dawn of a new era – that of common sense, when all of us finally understand that this long-suffering region can and must be turned from a place of hostility and rivalry into a site for building a new, fairer, and lasting peace. A conflict of civilizations would be the sole alternative to that scenario.
The much needed reforms of the Russian political system, although creating extra problems when being implemented, can contribute to greater resistibility to external challenges in the long term. Such reforms do not guarantee Moscow’s success in foreign policy, but they will certainly ease the risks stemming from internal political polarization.
The mechanisms of well-functioning society to assure transparency, accountability and healthy replacement of those in power can only originate and exist in real life. Otherwise, democracy will remain virtual, as well. A Twitter revolution can engender a Twitter democracy. But little change in the material world.
“Why does Russia support dictators?” a French correspondent who has come to Moscow to find out about Russia’s stance on Syria asked me.
The world is getting more troublesome and increasingly challenging right before our eyes.
NATO is winding down its Libyan campaign, declaring it the latest triumph of good over evil.
Many analysts believe the dramatic changes that the global international system is undergoing now are a continuation of a long-term reconfiguration of the world that started back in the 1980s.
The past year in global politics offered plenty of fodder for conspiracy theorists.
References to the Moslem periphery of the former Soviet empire sprang up during the peak of events in Tunisia and Egypt. All of the characteristics of North African countries – authoritarian (at best, but in most cases totalitarian) regimes that have ruled for decades; nepotism, corruption and contempt for human rights; extreme poverty, unemployment and the lack of a social security net – can be easily applied to Central Asian reality.
The fallout from the turbulent events of the winter and spring of 2011 is gradually subsiding.
The unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has not stopped, but the feeling of sensational novelty it created in winter is fading.
With growing presence of China, India and Iran the composition of players and the alignment of forces in the Middle East in the 21st century will look more like that in the 17th century than the 20th. This fits in perfectly with the theory of historical cycles, although it may appear disappointing, if looked at from the positions of Paris, London, Brussels or Washington.
The revolutionary fervor that has gripped the Middle East has not yet spread to the relatively stable former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
In the coming months, the world will look on as Tunisia embarks on an interesting experiment. Can an Arab country make a smooth transition from authoritarian rule to a more open political system without skidding off into Islamic extremism?
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.
Contemporary international relations are experiencing a period of turbulence and transition from a unipolar world to a world with multiple centers of power with strengthened role of regionalization. In these circumstances relatively small states try to maximize the resource of geopolitical identity to conduct their foreign policies.
In the old days coal miners took a caged canary down into mines. If the canary suddenly dropped dead, that meant that the deadly gas, carbon monoxide, was slowly seeping into the shaft... An order of magnitude increase in killing rampages in America over the last several decades is like canaries suddenly starting to drop dead all around us. It is an early indicator of much worse troubles to come.
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.