Putin’s new approach about Ukraine

By Nina Bachkatov

The successful Ukrainian counteroffensive, backed by Western new weapons and shared intelligence resources, obliged president Putin to come out. It took the form of a televised address to the nation, against a background of leakages and unusual stage crafting. It was first due to take place on the 20th evening, then it was postponed for the next day, at 8, then at 9 o’clock. That was enough to unleash new speculation concerning Putin’s physical and moral condition. The usual well-informed sources said that he had been so affected by fever and coughs that he was unable to face the cameras, despite the dispatch of a large medical staff; and that the program shown as a single tirade was in fact a re-mix of interrupted sessions.

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Another war in Donbass

By Nina Bachkatov

The Russian offensive in the Donbass on 19 April has been changing the face of the war in Ukraine. For the Kremlin, it was the opportunity to come back with its original narrative about a “special operation” forced upon itself as guarantor of its “brothers”’ security and freedom. Brothers, who supposedly, were threatened by Ukrainian “neo-nazis” who seized power in Kiev and Western Ukraine in 2014 and who trapped them in a pocket territory.  For president Zelensky, the Donbass offensive was the sign that the Kremlin, unable to seize Kiev, was coming back from the East, backed by separatist forces, with the intention to destroy Ukraine as a nation and a state.

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An orgy of summits around Ukraine and global competition

By Nina Bachkatov

In recent weeks, world’s leaders have been running from a summit to another one. Among Western allies, the key words were unity and solidarity; among the others, it was about multipolarity and convergence. But the background of all those diplomatic activities have been, and will be for a while, the war in Ukraine and its global consequences. There is also the growing awareness that the cost of the military operation and sanctions are indeed bleeding Russia, but much more Ukraine.

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President Zelensky’s communicator limits

Nina Bachkatov

Ukrainian president Zelensky is a master in communication, tuning his messages according to the receiver, national or international, while hammering the same existential message –  that the survival of Ukraine is threatened and that he needs foreign aid to allow his citizens to save it. He has multiplied live video addresses to different Western parliaments ahead of their sessions, whose agenda already included measures to back Ukraine and to deter president Putin. In each case, his speeches were skillfully carved to string national fibers, from salute to Churchill to that of the American president as leader of the world.

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As the Ukrainian crisis is unfolding

By Nina Bachkatov

It is impossible to compete with the flow of information, reports on the spot and inside analysis covering the multilayered dimension of Ukraine’s invasion by Russian armed forces. But some elements are worth to mention at this stage.

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Kiev, EU and Washington confronting Moscow

By Nina Bachkatov

President Macron’s initiative has not been without Franco-French electoral calculation, and a gallic sense of grandeur. Nobody expected much more than keeping the dialogue ongoing and agreeing on further steps towards a settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. But his visit to the Kremlin has managed to put key questions back to the top of the agenda: Does the West want to solve the Russo-Ukrainian crisis for the sake of Ukrainians? Does it want to do so for reasserting the Transatlantic link after the Kabul unilateral abandon? Does it want to restate the central role of American presence to guarantee the European continent security? And finally, the vital question about the best way to manage that security – with, without, or against Russia?

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Kazakhstan: the multivector diplomacy’s boomerang

By Nina Bachkatov

The intervention by the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) has been declared “mission accomplished”. Kazakhstan’s President Tokaev has reinforced his grip on power at the cost of his predecessor’s circles, thanks to a division of work between CSTO forces securizing military installations and official buildings, and national forces restoring public order. Tokaev took the lesson that even Kazakhstanis revulsed by the brutality of rioters share the frustration and anger of the demonstrators. Hence his call on businessmen and rich people to contribute a National Fund to share prosperity with the majority who did not benefit from their country’s development. 

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