Navalny’s challenge

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

As hundreds of people arrested on 12 June begin to appear in tribunal courts throughout Russia, the events of that day begin to offer a picture of the opposition developing under Alexei Navalny. The demonstrations were a test to confirm whether success of previous rallies on 26 March had been an accident or the signal of a permanent climate of mobilisation. It was also a test of whether the Kremlin’s determination is the sign of a personal challenge between two men, Vladimir Putin and Alexei Navalny. Continue reading “Navalny’s challenge”

Moscow-Versailles

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The meeting between presidents Macron and Putin was a demonstration of cultural diplomacy at its best. Culture and history provided a key background to this first meeting between the presidents of two countries whose diplomatic relations had suffer of the general Western distaste towards Putin’s Russia. Continue reading “Moscow-Versailles”

Diplomatic defile in Moscow – Russia at work on a Syrian solution

By Andrew Wilson and Nina Bachkatov

For a man described as isolated on the world stage, President Putin has been shaking a lot of hands in the course of a week. The most predictable was his meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel, in the President’s Sochi summer residence on 2 May. Continue reading “Diplomatic defile in Moscow – Russia at work on a Syrian solution”

Syria and Russia trapped by Assad?

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The US missile strike on the Syrian base of Shayrat has given Moscow its first real lesson about the personality and leadership of President Trump. The strike fulfils Russians’ worst fears by showing that:

(1) Trump is versatile. One day he hints that President Assad might be used as an interlocutor in finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict; the next day he rushes to a dramatic military response to an irresponsible chemical attack on civilians. Continue reading “Syria and Russia trapped by Assad?”

1917 – A problematic celebration

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Since late 2016, questions have raised about the way Putin’s Russia can, or cannot, mark the dual centenaries of the February and October revolutions. The need for caution is all too obvious. The history of the Revolution “that shocked the world” has never been simply a matter for historians – in the West, just as in the communist world. Continue reading “1917 – A problematic celebration”

About the Ukraine crisis: everyone loses

Everyone loses: The Ukraine crisis and the ruinous contest for post-Soviet Eurasia, by Samuel Charap and Timothy J.Colton. International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Recently rewed fighting between rebel and government forces in eastern Ukraine calls attention to the costs for all parties of their struggle for control of the territory. Samuel Charap is a Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the IISS. Timothy Colton a Professor of Government and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. In their extensive and generally impartial appraisal, it helps to pick out examples. Continue reading “About the Ukraine crisis: everyone loses”

Ukraine – In the Trump era

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Once again, attention is fixed on Ukraine, for both domestic and international reasons. On 29 January, heavy fighting broke out in Eastern Ukraine, around the government-controlled industrial town of Avdiivka and separatist-controlled railway hub of Yasynuvata. The rupture of the December ceasefire, which killed more than 30 people, can reignite the whole Donetsk region. But this time, the international dimension is paramount, thanks to the election in America of president Donald Trump – as well as uncertainty about impending elections in countries of the European Union and the course of the Brexit negotiations. Continue reading “Ukraine – In the Trump era”