Russia

Rivals for Authority in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan

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The prevailing calm in Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan’s remote east does not rule out the prospect of a clash between local powerbrokers and Dushanbe authorities. ICG To mitigate the risks of a local flare-up and regional power rivalry, China and Russia should communicate with each other and nudge President Rahmon toward a smooth transition of power. What’s new? The Tajik government’s control of its eastern territory, Gorno-Badakhshan, is tenuous at best. Irregulars loyal to local powerbrokers known as the Authorities have ... Read More »

Russia warns UK: ‘No one should threaten a nuclear power’

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Russia warned the UK not to threaten a nuclear power last night as tensions mounted ahead of an announcement today of tough new measures against the Kremlin over the use of a nerve agent on British soil. The Scotsman The Kremlin hit back at a demand to explain its involvement in the poisoning of Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, demanding access to samples of the nerve agent identified by UK investigators. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ... Read More »

Spy scandal has sent UK-Russia relations tumbling. What next?

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Many options will be on table should Kremlin involvement be confirmed. None will be simple Patrick Wintour The Guardian Theresa May’s assertion that it is highly likely the Russian state has committed an act of aggression by poisoning the double agent Sergei Skripal plunges Anglo-Russian relations into their worst state since the cruise missile crisis in the 1980s. The prime minister knows that she will have to go further than her response as home secretary to the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko – some ... Read More »

Why China’s Xi is not ‘Putin-plus’

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Xi Jinping is not following in Vladimir Putin’s footsteps. He’s carving his own path. Maria Repnikova Al Jazeera The recently announced constitutional amendments in China, ending term limits and paving the way for Chinese leader Xi Jinping‘s indefinite rule, have sparked quite a lot of debate and speculations in Western media. Some commentators went as far as comparing Xi to Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming that China is now turning into a Russia-style autocracy. While the phrase “Putin-plus“ sounds catchy, the comparison does not reflect the ... Read More »

Empty threats won’t worry Russia. Britain needs a better approach

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The threat posed by the Kremlin can be reduced if Britain refuses to handle its dirty money and takes on a PR offensive Mark Rice-Oxley The Guardian Oh, Russia! Even before we point fingers over poison and speculate about secret agents and spy swaps and pub food in Salisbury, one thing has become clear: Russia appears lost, a global menace, a moral vacuum, a far greater threat than it ever was during the cold war. Its agents pop over for murder and shopping, ... Read More »

Russia Should Go Beyond Humanitarian Corridors in Syria

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Russia’s proposal for humanitarian corridors for Eastern Ghouta and Rukban camp have little chance of mitigating suffering there. Sam Heller ICG Instead, Moscow should push for a negotiated resolution of Eastern Ghouta through UN Security Council Resolution 2401 and secure normal aid agency access to Rukban, thereby enhancing its credibility as a mediator. Syria’s civilians have suffered tremendously through the country’s seven years of conflict. Now, as the Syrian government and its allies prepare to retake Damascus’s Eastern Ghouta suburbs, ... Read More »

Peacekeeping in Ukraine’s Donbas: Opportunities and Risks

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The prospect of a UN peacekeeping force in Ukraine’s Donbas offers a rare opening to discuss how to resolve the conflict. ICG But Moscow’s diplomatic overtures also risk fueling political infighting in Kyiv in the run-up to next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region will soon enter its fifth year. In September 2017, talk of a settlement picked up after Russia circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution proposing the deployment of UN forces ... Read More »

Russia ready to be cut off from internet with its own web

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If Western sanctions go as far as excluding Russia from the world wide web, the country’s own internet is ready, according to the Russian presidential aide on the internet, German Klimenko. RT “Technically, we are ready for anything now,” he told NTV news channel. However, the shutdown will not be painless, Klimenko added. “Failures always occur when moving from one technology to another. Someone will face connection troubles. Probably, it will be found out that someone kept data abroad, although there ... Read More »

Frenemies: Putin and Erdogan

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At a joint press conference in early December 2017, the presidents of Turkey and Russia lauded the dramatic improvement in their bilateral relationship: Carol R. Saivetz LawFare Between August 2016 and December 2017, trade rebounded, the Turk Stream Pipeline is going forward, Syrian negotiations are ongoing, the Akkuyu nuclear reactor is under construction, and Turkey finalized a deal to purchase Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missiles. The goodwill between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin stands in marked contrast to the animosity ... Read More »

Syria’s war at home is giving way to dangerous proxy conflicts

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As Syrian government forces crush the country’s largest remaining rebel strongholds and with Bashar al-Assad apparently here to stay, Syria is turning into an arena for three new proxy conflicts. Moritz Pieper The Conversation In the south, Israel is facing off against Iran; in the northern region of Afrin, Turkey is fighting the Kurds. Meanwhile, in the eastern provinces, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are pitted against the Russian-backed Syrian armed forces. If and when the Syrian conflict proper comes to ... Read More »

Putin’s Foreign Policy: Nuclear Blackmail Of The West

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“You didn’t listen to our country then… Listen to us now.” Vladimir Putin, announcing that Russia has developed and is testing a new line of strategic nuclear-capable weapons Gary Cartwright EU Today Looking to bolster his image with the electorate prior to Russia’s impending Presidential elections, Vladimir Putin’s has chosen the tried and tested route for such leaders – create an enemy for the people to worry about, and to focus their minds. Putin has very little to offer the ... Read More »

The Syrian ‘hell on earth’ is a tangle of power plays unlikely to end soon

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Once again, unfortunate civilians are trapped in the “hell on earth” that the Syrian civil war has become. Mehmet Ozalp The Conversation This time it is the turn of the 400,000 residents of Eastern Ghouta, ten kilometres east of the capital Damascus. Latest reports put civilian casualties at 520 and thousands wounded under the heavy assault launched by President Bashar al-Assad’s ground forces supported by Russian air strikes. It seems conditions in Syria are getting worse, and there is no ... Read More »

How Russian networks worked to boost the far right in Italy

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An analysis of social networks reveals how Kremlin-backed media outlets boosted xenophobic discourse DAVID ALANDETE DANIEL VERDÚ El Pais The Russian meddling machine has been focusing on Italy in recent months, conducting a disinformation campaign on the migration situation in order to drum up support for radical parties ahead of the general elections scheduled for Sunday. According to an analysis of 1,055,774 posts from 98,191 social media profiles to which EL PAÍS has had access, a network of anti-immigration and ... Read More »

North Korean “Cyber – Songun”

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The main trends in the development of telecommunication technologies determine the continuous increase in the dependence of modern society on transnational network resources. International Security Forum The global information space consists of personalities as well as resources of civilian and military infrastructure. At the same time, today there is practically no legal regulation in this sphere. This situation creates ideal conditions for the work of “computer burglars” – the well-known hackers. Despite the constant perfection of means of protection, it ... Read More »

Women with HIV abused by partners, rejected by society

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Shunned by relatives, doctors and the community, Ukrainian women struggle to survive and protect their children. by Madeline Roache Al Jazeera Kiev, Ukraine – “At first, it was just emotional abuse. Then he started to beat me, especially after he had been drinking. It was always worse then,” says 31-year-old Hanna Lilina, a Donetsk-native. In October 2012, she was told she had HIV during a pre-natal check-up. When she found out, she felt confused. “I started to clean my apartment obsessively, ... Read More »

EU and Russia Vie for Influence in Volatile Balkans Region

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European Union promotes Balkans expansion to counter Russia’s push for influence in volatile, strategically significant region. By DUSAN STOJANOVIC, Associated Press U.S.News BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — For years, Russia has worked to gain influence in Southeast Europe, using Serbia as a foothold to establish a friendly pocket on a hostile continent. The European Union finally is pushing back. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is embarking on a seven-nation Balkans tour Sunday to promote the EU’s new eastward expansion strategy. Russia ... Read More »