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”

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”

Russia and Trump’s victory: recognising “anti-establishment” diversity

by Andrew Wilson and Nina Bachkatov

The Kremlin was not hoping for a president Trump, but simply as anyone other than Hillary Clinton. But it would certainly have preferred a more ‘traditional’ partner with whom to restore bilateral relations and settle international conflicts Continue reading “Russia and Trump’s victory: recognising “anti-establishment” diversity”

Syria provides a post-Soviet foothold

by Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The 50th edition of Strategic Survey of the International Institute for Strategic Studies includes a lively chapter on Russia’s entry into the Middle Eastern power scene, involving its relations with the United States over Syria. Continue reading “Syria provides a post-Soviet foothold”

Russian elections: Kremlin sees need of more credibility and pluralism

by Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

On 18 September, the Russians will vote to elect new parliamentary deputies, including four to represent Crimea. Foreign analysts have tended to treat the elections dismissively because of the limited role of the Duma in political life. But in fact they are the focus of an important shift in interest on the part of the Kremlin. Continue reading “Russian elections: Kremlin sees need of more credibility and pluralism”

Turkey and Russia, uncommon partners

by Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Much has been written and said about the 9th August meeting of Presidents Erdogan and Putin in St Petersburg, particularly regarding Erdogan’s need to look Eastwards when his relations with the West have been soured by his over-reaction to the attempted coup of 15 July.

But this should not obscure other elements in the situation, which are of great importance to both Russia and for Turkey. Continue reading “Turkey and Russia, uncommon partners”