A full reintegration, a half success

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The return of Russia to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is not the Russian victory declared by those who opposed the measure. It was an act of pragmatism by the Assembly that means nothing in terms of rapprochement between Russia and EU, the latter being a body totally separated from the Council of Europe. Continue reading “A full reintegration, a half success”

Geopolitical election in Ukraine

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

If someone is tempted to ignore we are living in a fudgy post-Cold war atmosphere, suffices to look at Ukraine’s presidential elections. Those have been turned into a geopolitical game by outsiders, but also by the candidates. Part of that singularity is linked to the country’s war condition, but only part. Continue reading “Geopolitical election in Ukraine”

Crimea for ever?

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Celebrations in Crimea lasted 4 full days and included a visit of president Putin. In Moscow, there were a few flags, but no official celebrations. Seemingly, the Kremlin wants to show that Crimea is just another member of the Federation, no more no less. Continue reading “Crimea for ever?”

The symbolic visit of Putin in Paris

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Vladimir Putin occupied a prominent place in the great international gathering in Paris to mark the century of the 1918 armistice. His presence led to odd moments, especially when the Russian President, so often accused of threatening peace on the Continent, attended the opening ceremony of the Forum for Peace. Continue reading “The symbolic visit of Putin in Paris”

Putin strange address to the Nation

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

By any standards, the annual Address to Parliament delivered by President Putin on 1 of March was unusual, by the content and the form. The Address is one of the three public presidential high moments, with the end of the year press conference and the “meeting with the nation”. It is an opportunity for the president to present his track record and his projects. In an electoral period, everyone expected the 2018 edition to be different. But nobody was prepared for so much emphasis on military issues, in a high-tech décor including a projection full of military hardware and explosions, delivered by a president adopting a tone of voice remembering his intervention at the 2007 Munich Conference which stunned the West by its violence. Continue reading “Putin strange address to the Nation”

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”

The November EU/Ukraine summit: Grounds for caution

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

As predicted, the latest summit between EU and Ukraine (24-25 November) ended with a lot of warm words about “strengthening the partnership” and “EU support for Ukraine’s reformist efforts”.  This is almost verbatim what was heard during numerous previous meetings, notably during the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko, another leader elected on the enthusiasm of a Maidan revolution,  who has since vanished in oblivion. Continue reading “The November EU/Ukraine summit: Grounds for caution”