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”

Victory that cannot be shared anymore

By Nina Bachkatov & Andrew Wilson

For years now, the allies of the second world war are unable to celebrate a common victory over Nazism. This is especially true in the West where the former enemy and invader (Germany) is now at the core of the Western alliance; while the former ally, the USSR, or its successors, is no longer mentionable. That was especially evident during this year’s celebrations of D-Day, with the aggravating factor that while the Western allies were rewriting history in Plymouth and Normandy, presidents Putin and Xi were preparing the future in Moscow. Continue reading “Victory that cannot be shared anymore”

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”

Oligarchs vs businessmen

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

For Russians, the word ‘oligarchs’ is out of touch with reality and adversarial. Especially since they are nominally targeted by Western sanctions. In August 2017, President Trump signed Russia sanctions’ bill into law and in April 2018 extended the so-called “Kremlin-List” to 210 of people “close to president Putin”. The criteria for selection were obscure and they often reflect a worrying lack of knowledge concerning Russian power circles and the undercurrents of the Russian society. Continue reading “Oligarchs vs businessmen”

Book review: “Poutine, l’homme que l’Occident aime haïr”

By Andrew Wilson

Poutine – L’homme que l’Occident aime haïr, Nina Bachkatov, éditions Jourdan, Bruxelles-Paris, 2018.

Under a provocative title – The man the West loves to hate – Nina Bachkatov’s book covers more than the Russian president’s personality. In 199 pages it describes in detail the complex evolution of the post-Soviet state under his leadership – a process that she has followed at close quarters for more than thirty years. Continue reading “Book review: “Poutine, l’homme que l’Occident aime haïr””

Sochi: another step towards a Syrian resolution

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The main success of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held on 30 January in Sochi is that it existed. Up to the last moment, Russian diplomats and experts doubted that the Congress would attract enough Syrian delegates to be credible. There was fears that it might be cancelled for a third time. Continue reading “Sochi: another step towards a Syrian resolution”