Saakashvili, bullient but stateless

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

On 22 November 2003, Saakashvili stormed the Georgian parliament and expelled president Shevardnadze from the session. On 10 September 2017, he stormed the Polish border, challenging not only Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko but also the West, which had supported both of them for years. Continue reading “Saakashvili, bullient but stateless”

Misha’s paradoxical end

By Andrew Wilson and Nina Bachkatov

President Putin wanted to ‘hang Mikheil Saakashvili by the balls’; president Poroshenko declared him stateless – a more classical way to get rid of a trouble maker, a charade for the West and an indirect success for Moscow. Continue reading “Misha’s paradoxical end”

Russia and China, a New Model of Great-Power Relations

By Nina Bachkatov

The continuing calm of Chinese-Russia relations is the subject of a recent study in Survival (Survival, Feb.-Mar. 2017), the bi-monthly journal of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The article’s writers* focus on the way in which the two countries have avoided any turbulence that might have resulted from their imbalanced economic and strategic relationship. Continue reading “Russia and China, a New Model of Great-Power Relations”

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?”