President Zelensky trapped in Washington intrigues

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

For the second time since the surprise election of Donald Trump, the fight between the Democrats and president Trump is being fought in Ukraine. First, the Muller inquiry put its teeth into the business of Paul Manafort, briefly member of Trump’s campaign team, who made millions in Ukraine, including by orchestrating the election campaign of “pro-Russian” Yanukovich who defeated “pro-Western” Yushchenko. Continue reading “President Zelensky trapped in Washington intrigues”

A strange summit in Helsinki

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Vladimir Putin has always wanted to appear to the world as an “equal partner” of the American president. But he never forgets that there are three partners in this tango – the two presidents, and American public opinion. Continue reading “A strange summit in Helsinki”

The Syrian imbroglio – Putin’s cautious reaction to Western bombs

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The Western intervention in Syria tested the “new” Vladimir Putin – between his reelection and inauguration. He seems much the same person, preparing for the next stage of political developments while not controlling fully the existing situation. There was not much he could have done to prevent the Western intervention. After the diatribes of president Trump, Russia raised the red flag on various fronts with declarations by a few generals, by the foreign minister and some ambassadors, by a few political figures, and by Putin himself – all making the expected statements, each in their roles. Continue reading “The Syrian imbroglio – Putin’s cautious reaction to Western bombs”

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?”

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”

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”