And here's the spin war verdict: the current Malaysia Airlines tragedy - the second in four months - is "terrorism" perpetrated by "pro-Russian separatists", armed by Russia, and Vladimir Putin is the main culprit. End of story. Anyone who believes otherwise, shut up.
Armenia, opting for self-restraint of its own accord, minimized its risks and losses. As to whether the Armenian-style Finlandization can be an example for other former Soviet republics would depend not only on their own choice.
Unlike in Paris or Berlin, where migrants live in districts that they consider their own, and researchers define them as “urban ghetto,” we found no such places in Moscow. In Moscow, any district a migrant visits most often or where he lives can become “his place.”
Fifty international experts from Russia and the Asia-Pacific Region gathered in Singapore this week for the inaugural session of the joint project, entitled “Developing the Asia-Pacific’s Last Frontier
The view on national development and foreign policy has been firmly mixed in the minds of Iranians with a skeptical, and one can even say ironical, perception of the West’s attempts to portray its way of life and values as the only “civilized system.”
A majority of Russians do not welcome rapprochement with Central Asian states and strongly object to having equal employment rights with citizens of those countries. Any moves which might lead to a real increase in the number of migrants in Russia will further plunge the authorities’ popularity ratings.
In addition to purely economic arguments, one needs some ideological basis for a Eurasian Union. The other factor is whether or not the integration policy will be continued after a new generation of the elites comes to power, and the nature of relationships between new leaders.
The answer to this question with regard to the global economy and politics even a couple of years ago would be considered self-evident – of course, together. In the global world, where countries depend on each other in one way or another, success is possible only through ever deeper cooperation.
Migration policies and xenophobia in Russia are at the forefront of political discussion in the wake of the riots in Biryulyovo.
Russia needs to find a way to improve the situation in Central Asia without becoming directly involved.
The SCO, comprising Russia, China, and four of the five Central Asian states, is likely to grant India and Pakistan full membership, and has added Afghanistan as an observer and Turkey as a dialogue partner. It is indeed uniquely placed to provide a regional canopy under which India and Pakistan could work together.
China is determined to have its voice clearly heard on Central Asian affairs and to keep the SCO’s attention focused on the region, not diluted. This is evidenced by China’s firm stance on a number of pressing issues.
Russia has a chance to position itself as a neutral force in the region, which can be capitalized into essential geopolitical and purely economic benefits in conditions of a standoff between two blocs, especially those that hypothetically are equal in strength.
If the new/old Russian leadership pursues integration in the military-political sphere with the same zeal as it did in the establishment of the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space and the Eurasian Union, hopefully there will be progress in the CSTO’s transformation, as well.
The CSTO has not shown any signs of activity during its two decades of existence. The mechanism to realize its potential remains unclear; i.e., it is unlikely that a Belarus or an Armenian soldier will guard the Tajik-Afghan border, or that a Tajik or a Kyrgyz will intervene between Armenia and Azerbaijan in case of an armed clash.
Uzbekistan’s withdrawal makes one think of a more general problem – the artificiality of the entire structure of military-political security, built around Russia. In fact, the CSTO is now a mechanical combination of three security systems, each based on Russian participation.
The issues of integration in the post-Soviet space are likely to be at the top of the political agenda this season.
Analysts have long observed that Central Asian countries are not seriously tackling the growing backlog of problems plaguing the region, and recent events give cause for a gloomy outlook.
The world crisis has spurred the already high rate of processes taking place in the Asia-Pacific region, forcing its transformation into a major center of world politics.
For some Russians economic movement towards Asia spells deviation from the European way of development and closer relations with Europe.
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 revolutionary fervor that has gripped the Middle East has not yet spread to the relatively stable former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
In assessing Russia’s policy towards Russians living abroad, the respondents think that Russia is not doing enough. Such an opinion was voiced by every second individual polled in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. A quarter of the Russian communities in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan feel no support from Russia.
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.