From the Berlin wall to the Kremlin wall

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

For those following the event from Moscow at the time, the contrast was striking. On one side, the thrill caused by the fall of Berlin Wall in the outside world, especially in the West; on the other, the quasi indifference with which it was met in the Soviet Union. Continue reading “From the Berlin wall to the Kremlin wall”

Vladimir the African

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

On 23-24 October, President Putin opens the first Russia-Africa Economic Forum in Sochi as part of the Russia-Africa summit. More than 50 African heads of state have been invited, which is why it was described as the signal of Russia’s return to Africa. Continue reading “Vladimir the African”

Strange elections in Russia

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Analysts continue to scrutinise the message send by Russian voters during the municipal and regional elections of 8 September to identify the winners and the losers. The sad fact is, probably, that despite the defeat of many candidates campaigning under the banner of United Russia, few liberal opponents won, and that despite big demonstrations the turnover was low. Many “independent” candidates were members of United Russia who did not need instructions from the top to make the switch, beeing too well aware that the label was a kiss of the death. Continue reading “Strange elections in Russia”

International and national start for president Zelensky

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Since his election, Ukrainian president Zelensky had to live with the government and parliament inherited from his predecessor. But he was the president, a power he used to reassure Ukraine’s allies, and made himself better known by foreign partners, showing that his country had a place in the ongoing global world and was not just a punching ball between Russia and the West. Continue reading “International and national start for president Zelensky”

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”

A well-timed interview

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

On 28 June, the Financial Times published an interview of President Putin that has been much commentated upon. For the newspaper, it was a demonstration of journalistic strategy bearing in mind the time and energy it takes to organise an interview with the Russian president. For Vladimir Putin, it was an opportunity to put things straight a few hours before the G 20 summit where, since 2014’s Ukraine adventures, he has been treated by his Western partners as an isolated man presiding over a pariah nation. Continue reading “A well-timed interview”

President Zelensky’s difficult succession

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Volodymyr Zelensky is the youngest president of Ukraine, the least experienced, but also the first who had to fight with parliament to decide the date of his inauguration. Elected on 21 April, Zelensky was finally inaugurated on 20 May after a long fight with a hostile parliament where he has no party and even no deputies. The present members of parliament have been fighting for their survival as much as they wanted to teach a lesson to the new president who wished the ceremony to be held on early May, then on 19th. Continue reading “President Zelensky’s difficult succession”

The strange reaction of the Kremlin

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The ill-inspired reaction of Vladimir Putin to the election of Volodymyr Zelensky will not help the future Ukrainian president to give the impulse to better relations with Russia that he promised during his campaign. Instead of keeping the low profile adopted during the electoral campaign, mostly for lack of candidates to support, the Kremlin unwisely decided to test the newly elected president on its own terms. Continue reading “The strange reaction of the Kremlin”

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?”